29 posts categorized "Mama-owned Businesses"

Having it all a little bit as a mom

June 23, 2012

Have you read the epic, flag-planting, fierce-debate-inspiring cover story in The Atlantic? I came across it the evening it was published and immediately -- though it was past 1 a.m. when I finished -- read the entire story, 12,000-some words and all. I wanted to stop in the middle several times to say, "this is ground breaking! This is amazing!" but I read through to the end. Of course, by this time, it had already begun to create controversy.

I read it almost like gospel. In my opinion, Anne-Marie Slaughter eloquently and persuasively make the case for why it is impossible for women today to "have it all at once" -- the high-powered career, and children who are well-cared for -- and how societal expectations, policies, and our own relationships might be changed to make "having it all" possible. For one, the "culture of face time" needs to be wiped out (something I agree with so much I'd happily write an entire 12,000-word column on that alone); for another, family values, even the sort that value older parents and siblings and partners, need to be re-valued (this one's worth a couple of books).

The biggest criticism of Slaughter's article is that she doesn't discuss the potential contribution of dads enough; she makes a point that "having it all is possible if you marry the right person" is one of the "half-truths we hold dear." Her husband, indeed, was a working dad rock star, a nurturing dad who helped his boys learn lines for the school play and made Hungarian palacsinta for foreign food night. She mentions Sheryl Sandberg, who famously pointed to her own husband and said, "There’s my work-life balance." Well, great. Not all of us make such brilliant choices; and even if we do pick fantastic husbands, it's still not ideal to put far more of the parenting load on dad. There are times we as moms want to be around; there are times we're really just needed; there are times that a culture that valued family more than work would be nice. OK: that would be nice all the time. We're also going to have to stop expecting any young parent to dedicate him or herself to a job. It's just ridiculous that any boss (or financial backer) should see a new parent or parent-to-be and think: "well, we'll give them a week or two off for family leave and then the responsibility will be done." We should change the expectation of work entirely; 40 hours should be more than enough. You should be able to go home and turn off, even if you do work in a high-powered job. Unless actual lives are actually depending on you. (And then it's probably better if you're actually happy.)

Slaughter makes a point of the Washington in-joke, that those who say they're leaving  a position to spend time with their family are using it as a euphemism for "fired," and that when one does actually leave to spend time with one's family, everyone rushes to say, "it's true! FAMILY! Really!" and hardly anyone believes it.

I left my last full-time job to spend time with my family. But, to be honest, this was also a euphemism. My family took more than the hours "after" work could fit. I didn't "marry the right person." I had kids with extraordinary (in the literal meaning of the word, "outside the ordinary," not "insanely difficult beyond all reason" as it often has come to mean) challenges that kept me running around to IEP meetings and to pick them up from school and up at night, literally. They required more from me than someone who wants to vault up in her career can handle.

So, I -- if you are to take literally the weird and logically-flawed reasoning of another Atlantic writer, Elizabeth Wurtzel -- became an unreal feminist. (Here's what she wrote, so you don't have to click, "Let's please be serious grown-ups: real feminists don't depend on men. Real feminists earn a living, have money and means of their own." Her argument was based on "1% wives," who she tarred and feathered as being "dumb" and so obsessed with yoga that they had no room in their brains for anything else, and were ruining feminism for us all by being so dumb and making their 1% husbands think that's what all women are like. I am not exaggerating her piece at all. Like I said: weird.) I started to, over time, depend on a man whose living is mostly made on the other side of the planet driving VIPs to their Very Important Appointments for the Army.

So I can't have it all. And I'm only a feminist in the eyes of the generous. Throwing off an Ivy League MBA for the thrift-shopping, bike-riding, weed-pulling, dish-washing life of an Army wife is fullscale traitorism in Wurtzel's mind, and I'll bet Anne-Marie Slaughter would never have made this call in her 30s, though maybe she would consider it in retrospect.

This is when we find something else. I'm an idea person; I make up what-I-imagine-are-paradigm-shifting ways to run the business world while I shower and while I run and while I bike and while I wash dishes. One of my many such plots was "Mom VC." A venture capital firm run by mothers, kind of micro-social venture capital. Each woman would contribute either time or money -- not a lot by VC standards, $1,000 or so -- or their skills as lawyer/marketer/graphic designer/accountant/strategy expert/content writer/editor. A board would decide where investments would go. We'd all be "job creators," creating jobs for other moms, jobs they could make as flexible as their family needed them to be.

I still love this idea. But it would take an extreme amount of time and dedication to make it happen. Could we? Would we? I think so. In the meantime we have Kickstarter. And it's, amazingly, becoming the kind of place where we can have, not "it all," but a little bit.

I think of it as a version of my Mom VC, but not just moms, and you can buy in with anything. Here are three projects you can support -- use your own venture capital in any amount -- for Portland mothers working to create jobs we can believe in.

  • Stealing Time, a literary magazine for parents. This is my project and it's already shown me just how incredible the community here in Portland, and across the U.S. social media landscape, can be. We've had donations of time and talent and love beyond what I could hope for, mostly by moms, but some of it by people who just care about great writing and reading. It's a literary magazine for parents to take the place of the closing-down Brain, Child, and to also be something more; one issue a year will be devoted to pregnancy and childbirth, creating the only regular venue for truly literary writing about pregnancy. Funding ends July 2.
  • Yankers, time- and stress-saving baby clothes. These adorable and sensible baby clothes are the brainchild of Rosalee Rester, a mom whose funny Babywit was the stuff of consumer lust when I first became a parent. She's back with "stylish, modern, all-in-one outfits designed with a unique and simple pull down panel in the back. This panel allows easy access to your baby's diaper without having to deal with any snaps or fasteners." I love innovation like this; it's exactly the sort of thing a Mom VC would back. Funding ends July 13.
  • Dark and Light, a love story for babies. This board book series was created by sweet Portland mom Shasta Kerns Moore, one of whose twin sons has cerebral palsy. The book "is an elegantly simple board book aimed at very young children. The pictures are straight-forward enough that babies can follow along while adults can consider the wider implications of the story's metaphors." Funding ends June 27.

Just Between Friends Sale is Coming Up!

April 20, 2012

175x175 50-90 off adThe organizers of Just Between Friends, two N/NE mamas, are passionate about offering Portland's community of parents an opportunity to save not only natural resources, but also financial resources.  Items at JBF are priced at 50-90% off retail, which means you can save major moolah and get everything you need for your kids for the upcoming season under one roof.  Why waste gas and time driving around to a bunch of yard sales?  "I appreciate the great savings that shopping JBF provides,” wrote Fara, a consignor and shopper. “I value knowing that everyone who participates is doing their part to save the environment...recycling gently-used baby and kid wear and decreasing the environmental impact of creating new items.”

JBF embraces many shades of living green through its semi-annual sales events. The next event is right around the corner... April 27-29 at the Portland Expo Center (free admission).  Do even more to save our planet and save gas by taking the Max! 

Just Between Friends Children's & Maternity Resale Event
Portland Expo Center (Free Admission!)
Friday, April 27-Sunday, April 29

BlogHer '11 Conference: A Report on Mommyblogging, 2011

August 18, 2011

I have been a "professional blogger" since before that was really a thing, starting out making $3 a post in 2004 at BloggingBaby.com. I wanted to go to the Very First Blogher conference, in 2005, but was a bit hampered by an infant baby (Truman) and no money. In 2006, I managed to get a spot on one of the panels and a roommate -- Asha from Parenthacks -- and brought my infant along. Jonathan and Everett drove down to San Jose in a Flexcar minivan and the boys hung by the pool with other daddybloggers while we women browsed the casual panels. Arianna Huffington was there. Dooce was there! So were all the OMB's, Original MommyBloggers. Even then, though I knew almost everyone, I felt like a bit of an outsider, not as famous as Dooce or even Melissa Summers; not as commercial, not as edgy as just about anyone. Since then, Blogher either didn't fit into my career (the finance management I was working for by then at Aol wasn't really interesting in me writing about a bunch of women bloggers) or my family.

This year, I knew it was time to reinvest. I bought my ticket back in February when I had extra cash and was planning my year. I booked a room at a hostel and, after much debate, a flight by myself, no family at all, to San Diego for Blogher '11. As both an insider and a decided outsider -- I don't really get involved in the same communities as the OMBs, even though I do enjoy reading their work and think they're brilliant and lovely women, I don't do giveaways or participate in the more commercial social networks of the new crop of MBaB (MommyBloggers as Businesses) -- I wasn't sure. Would I have a blast? Would I feel left out? Would I learn a lot? Would I roll my eyes?

As with anything, it's all about who you spend your time with. On the second day, I walked past a woman in the hall on her phone. It was in the middle of a panel session -- I'd ducked out in the middle to switch sessions -- so it was quiet. "It's like being with 3,000 babies who only want to talk about themselves," she said. I thought about some of the questioners at the sessions -- those who preambled their queries with a 60-second (or more) bio in which they list their dotcoms and economic interests. Yes, some of them just wanted to talk about themselves and their own unique concerns (I'm sure I've said things that could be construed as such). But most of the women I was encountering were just as eager to talk about us. Issues we have in common; how we can make a difference using social media (blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and the rest of it); who we are and how sharing that is making our lives better.

the wonderful Jessica and the lovely Charlene. you know, they're both lovely AND wonderful.

The first two sessions I attended had me in tears, rolling-down-my-face sniffling tears. The first one, Blogging Your Way to Self-Acceptance, talked about so many things I feel that the OMBs were all about: finding your own truth, telling a story that speaks to the universal, being true to yourself. Brené Brown started, taking us all outside the hustle and bustle of sponsors and products for a beautiful hour-and-a-half. She said, "one of the things that I have come to learn is that our worthiness, our ability to really engage with the world from a place of I am enough, that worthiness lives inside of our story. ...we have two choices and that's own our story and share our story or stay outside of your story and kind of hustle for our worthiness, which I have done a lot of in my own life, perfecting, pleasing, performing, proving, and it's just exhausting and I don't think it's sustainable." The way I heard her was this: believing that our own truth is worth sharing -- and doing so in a personal, authentic way -- is not just an exercise in self-worth but also a necessary and world-changing act.

Shauna James Ahern, the Gluten-Free Girl, was someone I already knew I loved through Twitter. I wasn't sure if I knew what she was doing on this panel, though -- until she started talking (oh!).

Continue reading "BlogHer '11 Conference: A Report on Mommyblogging, 2011" »

Out with the gig, In with the new passion

July 21, 2011

Back in February, a conference call was arranged very suddenly, at the same time rumors started flowing that a significant number of layoffs were occurring at AOL, where I worked for two-and-a-half years and freelanced for years after that. The Huffington Post acquisition was becoming more of a murderous coup d'etat. I was -- of all things -- at the Apple store with my kids, buying a new Macbook Air with my tax return. The pleasure of the brand new writing tool was immediately wiped away when I got on the phone -- it wasn't just layoffs. Every single person I worked with -- but one -- had lost their jobs in one fell swoop.

For the next month or so, the freelancers ran the sites, more or less -- and then the freelance terminations came, always sudden, in the very early morning or even the middle of the night. Hundreds of people lost their "jobs" with no notice, not even enough time to copy and paste the post they'd been working on with the notice came. I went for weeks logging in every morning as soon as I woke up, just to see if I could. The not-knowing was terrible. And then, the last termination seemed to have occurred and there were four or five of us left (a few I wasn't sure -- were they employees or freelancers?). We posted two or three or four things a day. I made way more money than usual, what I consider to be our bottom line income (enough to pay the mortgage and the utilities and buy groceries), which was good; my husband had just come home from a year in Kuwait and was, for the time, unemployed.

Tuesday morning, another last-minute conference call yanked my safety out from under me. Well, not yanked exactly -- I have a "job" until August 1, when I'll start a new career as a freelancer without a regular gig. I'd like to devote more time to urbanMamas, so if you have ideas about things we can do with my time, please share them. I'm telling myself, this time, I'm only going to follow my passion -- no jobs writing about things I only care about a little. I'm pitching every morning; essays about family and journalist-type pieces about food. I'm going to try harder this time to get the regular mealtime established (this is my chief failing as a parent -- the food's great, the schedule messy). I'm going to work on my novel. I'm going to get the food book finished, and published!

Naturally, I'm in simultaneous mourning (it sounds weird, but I'll miss the software I've logged into nearly every day for the past six years -- it was built by a group of people I now consider my dearest friends, even though I like and respect almost no one in my department any more) and excitement. New things! A new practice! If I can just figure out how to make it pay... (On the new Google+, my 'what should I do' query was answered with universal agreement, 'make jam.')

What would you do if you got to follow your passion?

Seeking INFANT-Friendly Establishments

July 12, 2007

Here in Portland, there are no shortage of things "kid-friendly".  Amy, however, is having the hardest time finding establishments that are more geared toward the younger set, "infant-friendly", if you will:

I am the mother of a 13 month old, Titus, and we have been on several outings- but I have had a very hard time finding "infant-friendly" establishments versus "kid-friendly" establishments.  My son is a very active 13 month old, and has been walking for some time now, and we are having a very hard time finding places and activities that are infant or toddler friendly.  We have been to PB & Ellies, but I live near the Portland Airport so we do not make it to that side of town very often.  He really enjoys the zoo, but with the weather so hot currently, we don't last long outdoors.  It could be activities with or without other infants, although that helps in maintaining his interest.  He is in daycare, so he gets great interaction with all the children/toddlers 4 days a week and is very social.  He doesn't last long in the stroller if we are not on the move, so I am looking for play spaces, restaurants, and businesses in general that cater to the very difficult 1 year old crowd.  Thank you for all of your suggestions.

Nice Cubes are In!

January 04, 2007

It was less than a year ago that we caught wind of Nice Cubes developing recipes and testing for its new organic frozen baby foods. Nice Cubes have been at markets now for a little while, and urbanMama Dianna wanted to share her praise of Nice Cubes:

Hi there! I am a local Mom who lives in the Pearl but wasn't sure where to send this. But, I have been using the organic Nice Cubes from Whole Foods (and I think now at New Season's, too) for my 8 month old, and they are just terrific! They are frozen organic baby food. They come in non-plastic microwaveable portions, and my boy much prefers them to the organic jar food that we were using before. I just wanted to pass on the word!!

Has your toddler tried Nice Cubes? What's his or her verdict?

Sitting with The Sidewalk Studio

September 28, 2006

It was a sunshiney Sunday when the urbanMamas gathered our broods at the idyllic urbanPark _dsc2627Tanner Springs for a photo shoot with Chuck and Jill of The Sidewalk Studio.  What the morning would entail, none of us could say.  What do you think would _dsc2504happen when you try to photograph five mamas and six kidlets (minus the nurturing Ate who has become an older sister to all of our energetic boys)?  Chuck and Jill were up to the challenge.  They were determined to grab the essence of the urbanKids, all six of them in one “sitting”.  Well, er, in our case, in one “running”.

While the mamas were busy trying to corral the urbankiddos, our fair photographers never missed a beat.  They were there for every posed millisecond and every candid opportunity. Between the two of them, there's double the chance a moment will be captured.  The moment isn't the only thing that Chuck and Jill capture.  Somehow, _dsc2575they capture not only a specific subject at a specific time in a specific place, but they grab a personality, a character.  Instead of an expression, it seems more like a mood or an attitude. They put us in a setting where we could be ourselves, and it is who we are was what came through in the photos.  Not just what we looked like at that moment in time.

Lots of us know what it can be like to get the kids to sit still.  Yeah, right.  Kids are made to be spunk-cadettes.  Happy campers.  Crazy stompers.  Speedy _dsc0958runners.  So, Chuck and Jill enouraged the kids to Jump! Cheer! Race! Skip! Laugh!  And, they caught it all.  Through their lenses.

With holidays coming up, we have the perfect gifts for family.  Who wouldn't want a photo like this?  We can even do these cute little booklets, the modern brag books, filled with this fun, spunky images.  Thanks, Sidewalk Studio.  More than just awesome photos of our urbanKidlets, you gave us six exhausted kids ready for their naps.  Yay! from the urbanMamas!

Zenana Grand Opening Party: Don't Miss It

September 27, 2006

Zenana-Spa is throwing a Grand Opening party and inviting mamas, families, and everyone to come check out what they are offering at the spa.  Who can say no to a FREE mini treatment right (mini spa facials, hand and foot massages and chair massages)? And snacks from Vindalho?   Who can resist? Their focus is on pregnant and nursing women, parenting families, new mamas and mamas in general.  It's the place to be on Saturday, September 30th from 4 to 7 pm!

Toast to Summer: A Gathering & Sale ::: Saturday, AUGUST 5th

July 25, 2006

Ah, summer. Yard sales, craft fairs, summer bazaars, oh my! Shopping outdoors is way more fun than shopping indoors (esp. with some gelato or ice cream in hand), and Kate Melo Wadnizak is hosting a fab little party and sale at her casa on Saturday, August 5th.

You'll find handmade lovelies of all kinds for babies, tots and mamas, including the best candles in the world (my opinion), mama skirts, adorable aprons and adorned baby tees, beauty and skincare products, stationery, toddler boys' clothing, shoes, accessories and gifts, and luscious jewelry that you've probably seen while reading Lucky magazine at the beach. There will be light treats and beverages and of course, fabulously happy conversations amidst the buzz of families doing what we do best, hanging out with other familia. Here are the details and the lineup of mom-owned businesses.

Add yourself to the evite and bring your friends and the whole family! I will be there, likely with an unwilling toddler in tow.

Where: Kate's Casa
            2406 SE 30th Avenue, Portland, OR
When:  Saturday, August 5
            3:00pm to 8:00pm

Bistro Candles
Hazel Blue
Sugar Roux
Event Bliss
Blue Eye Boy
Bijoux Luck

and of course...you! See you there!

Portland Mamas, Inc. kicks off

July 16, 2006

I just attended the kickoff social for Portland Mamas, Inc., and what a lovely time it was! Founder Marlynn Schotland hosted the get-together at Purple Moon Child Development in NE Portland, so the kids were entertained while the moms got a chance to nosh, mingle, and hear about each others' businesses.

In case you're not familiar with Portland Mamas Inc., it's a new networking group (for lack of a better word) for Portland "mompreneurs." Moms who are running their own businesses (or who want to), from portraiture to personal organizing to preschool to Peanut Butter & Ellie's were there. But it was much more than a chance to trade business cards and "promote." Marlynn and the rest of the PMI founding members are creating a group where women who juggle motherhood and business ownership can come together, share expertise, seek advice, and vent about the joys and challenges of both.

I could have spent hours talking to the women there about the various projects they're doing. The room was filled with smarts, but also with warmth...a wonderful place to start. I came home and immediately sent in my membership fee ($35, a paltry sum given what a great group this promises to be).

At the next meeting, Amy Radich of Bella Bellies Maternity will talk about starting a "brick-and-mortar" business, and Erin Shirey of Baby Boot Camp will share tips on keeping fit as a busy mom. Plus, there will be time to hang out and mingle, and a goody bag giveaway for one lucky attendee (and PMI certainly knows its goody bags, judging from the one at the social.)

New Local Mama Biz

June 28, 2006

If your in the market for a newborn layette, a local mama has launched a new hip and stylish for the littlest of the bunch.  The basics are cute one pieces, body suits, comfort pants, cozy hoodie, hat, mitts, blanket, sleep bag, burp cloth, bib, and socks.  Oh, let's not forget my all time essential for a newborn - the comfort sleep gown. Check out New For Baby!

Best Baby Sale Ever

June 20, 2006

An exaggeration? Maybe, but I'm so excited by the email I just got in my inbox that I'm doing a little happy dance in my office right now. I took one look at this list of businesses participating in a Sample/Seconds Sale this Friday and almost fell out of my chair - I LOVE the products created by all of these local business owners! My own little Boo looks pretty rockin' in the Knuckleheads shirts that he has, I must say, and I am digging the Cariboo bassinet featured on Baby Star's site. SO freakin' adorable! I have wish lists written for all of these companies...now if only someone would read my mind and make some purchases for me...anyway, on to the important details:

baby apparel and accessories seconds/sample sale
friday, june 23rd from 11-6
1801 NW upshur, suite 390
portland, or 97209

featured brands are…
Kung Fu Bambini = couture threads for busy babies
Knuckleheads = little threads
Baby Wit = you may not be cool, but your baby can be
baby star = baby products for the design-savvy parent and the texture-loving child
Posh Baby = essentials with style, hip baby accessories, stylish items for mum too!

Sugar Roux on Etsy.com

May 21, 2006

Thanks to the uMama's who came out to check out our tag sale "Under The Pink Umbrella."  The sale went well.  Thanks again.

So, here goes with some more self-promotion.  I have gotten almost 40 baby, child and home items listed on Etsy.com.  Etsy is a great site that sells a wide variety of things varying from eclectic, to super funky, to super hip.  It's a great venue for aspiring artists, crafters, etc. 

The web address is www.sugaroux.etsy.com. I have more items that I will slowly add as things sell.  So, if you have a mind to, check it out and let me know what you would change or what you liked, etc.   

Check it out just for the sheer fact that my husband modeled a couple aprons.  Hilarious... standing in the kitchen in one of my aprons looking confusingly at a cookbook!


Portland Mamas Inc. Launch

May 11, 2006

Pmi_logoJust a quick note to let y'all know that Portland Mamas Inc. is launching on Mother's Day! The site will be up and running and still undergoing renovations throughout the next few months, but you will be able to check it out for yourself starting Sunday! If you are a mom entrepreneur or are thinking about starting your own business, Portland Mamas Inc. is here to help you achieve success in both running a business and a household, and supporting you in your endeavors. In addition to the blog, we'll have an online forum open to members only starting in July that will be the ultimate space to share resources and get advice in an open and private forum, monthly meetings that focus on both business and family life issues, networking and marketing opportunities and more. www.portlandmamasinc.org

PB & E's on Food Network!

May 09, 2006

Our very own Peanut Butter & Ellie's is being featured on the Food Network 's Cooking with Kids show this week!

It aired last night, but you have one more chance to see it:
Friday, May 12, 2006 7:30 PM ET/PT

Here is the show synopsis:
Cooking with Kids
Join host Marc Summers as he gets cooking with kids. Meet the world's youngest chef, visit with two pint sized chocolate entrepreneurs and head to the Crisco Team Pie Bakeoff. Then, check out an artist using food as art and see how little tikes put technology to work in the kid kitchens. Plus, discover a kid-friendly restaurant called Peanut Butter & Ellie's.

Congrats to owner Heidi and her great staff for the awesome, well-deserved publicity! If you haven't been to PB & E's yet, GO. Now. It's spacious, fun, funky, and yummy. My son and I love it there, and we're there about once a week. Sometimes twice.

Under The Pink Umbrella Presents: A Parisian Flea Market

May 08, 2006

After Mother's Day brunch, I invite you all to come check out our tag sale.  A couple friends and I have been busily preparing vintage furniture as well as other great home items for your perusal this weekend.  I, uMama of Sugar Roux home & baby will have my array of goodies available.  We've got some really cool stuff and the good news is that all participating artists are donating a portion of our sales to Doernbecher - so, it's for a good cause too!

Hope to see you there and Happy uMamas day!!!

For all details: www.sugaroux.com

Support local filmmaking and mamas who rock!

May 01, 2006

Did you know we have a real-live filmmaker in our Portland mama midst? Jackie Weissman is producing and directing Rock 'n Roll Mamas, a documentary about the struggle and glory that comes with juggling rock stardom and parenthood. Her subjects include Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney and Kristin Hersh of Throwing Muses among others -- all of whom have their own approach to managing their lives as musicians while raising their families.

On Saturday, May 20, 7-10pm, Jackie's throwing a benefit party for the film at the Bettie Ford Lounge. Kick up your heels and keep the Mother's Day spirit going! Zia McCabe of the Dandy Warhols and Tara Dublin of 94/7fm Alternative Portland will be joining Jackie, and the DJ will be spinning exclusively mama-performed tunes. Appetizers compliments of (where else?) Mother's Bistro, and the no-host bar will feature a special martini called "Mother's Little Helper." This promises to be an evening to remember.

Tickets are $25, and all proceeds go toward the making of the film. Visit the website to find out more, watch the movie trailer, or make a donation.

Eco-Healthy Baby Shower

April 26, 2006

Nestled appropriately between Earth Day and Mother's Day comes an event that nicely marries the two: the Biggest Eco-Healthy Baby Shower in Portland! Mamas and papas, grandmamas and grandpapas, babies and big kids - everyone is invited to this fun, informative and interactive event! Here are the details:

Biggest Eco-Healthy Baby Shower
Peanut Butter & Ellie's (4405 SW Vermont)
Sunday, May 7th
2:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Sponsored by the Oregon Environmental Council (OEC)'s Tiny Footprints program, this fun-packed celebration will feature grab bags for the first 50 moms, door prizes, mini-workshops, tips on making eco-healthy choices for baby, and a baby carrier fashion show! There will also be a bunch of activities for kids and eco-informative workshops for moms (massage tips, info on how to be a eco-conscious parent by the OEC, Baby Bootcamp demos, natropathic health info, etc.). An “Everything Eco-Healthy for Baby” product fair will showcase adorable offerings from great local businesses including Greenloop, Babyworks, Event Bliss and Mama Rose’s Naturals. Oh hey, look at that, I'll be there with my recycled content Event Bliss birth announcements and baby shower invites. Be sure to stop by and say hi! For more info go to www.tinyfootprints.org.

cafe au play in the news and on the road

April 22, 2006

If you get the Oregonian and turn first to the Living section (like me), you may have seen a bunch of cute kids and even cuter mamas on the front page yesterday. The OregonLive link is here (sans photo); I've scanned in the paper version and posted on my own blog.

I sort of want you to go to cafe mama to see it, because I've made a little plea for Cafe au Play. You can read about what Cafe au Play is, but here's the "elevator pitch" in my own words: Cafe au Play is a child-centric coffee shop, one made with the needs of moms, dads and other caregivers in mind. It's a refuge, a place to meet friends and make them, to find support, to find a little peace. It's not thrift store toys in a corner; it's a space centered on the combination of play (for kids) and coffee (for us) and meeting the needs of parents in a thoughtful, inclusive, non-judgmental way. We plan to redefine "child friendly" or "family friendly" and be child centered, parent centered.

If we all work together, contributing whatever we can, in our own way, we'll set a new standard for businesses and organizations that truly support the vibrant and stimulating community that we've started to tap into, virtually, here at urbanMamas. It's really pretty amazing, when you think about it. And just wait until you see it.

Crafty Wonderland is here!

April 06, 2006

Yep, it's true.. Crafty Wonderland (www.craftywonderland.com) is finally here!  My little project will have it's first go of it as Sugar Roux home & baby (www.sugaroux.com) is one of the 40 featured local crafters and artists.  Check out the link for details.  Hope you can make it, if you do stop by, come by and say hi.. I will be amid wildly colored/patterned bibs, mini-quilts, aprons and a few other things (all packed into a 4x4 cube!).

Have a great weekend!

Picks - Portland and Otherwise

March 18, 2006

I'm certain that many local mamas subscribe to the wildly popular Portland Picks for the latest reviews and word on what's cool and neat in the greater Metro area.  Thought I'd pass the word regarding another pick-esque site that perhaps may pique your interest.  Cool Mom Picks, check it out! And while you're perusing the site, you may even come across a post about our very own, Marlynn's Mama Calling Card. Isn't it time you get some for yourself?  Have you seen ours?


Calling All Crafty Mamas

February 28, 2006

You sew. You knit. You make beautiful handpainted ceramics. You make jewelry. Whatever your craft, have some fun, get to know other local artisans and maybe make some cash by getting a booth at Crafty Wonderland. Starting April 9th, Crafty Wonderland will be held the second Sunday of every month from 11am - 4pm at the Doug Fir. Click here to learn more about the application process. I know that I get bombarded with "invitations" to show at various trade shows and I turn them all down (or I create my own) because I hate the sales vibe at most of the big cheesy trade shows, and I know I will get little or nothing in return. The ladies behind Crafty Wonderland seem to be creating something above a trade show: a close-knit group of local crafters who love what they do and they're creating an environment that will attract buyers who truly appreciate the work and craftsmanship of handmade items. Plus, at only $25 a table, it's super ultra cheap. I hope to participate later on in the year, and I hope to see all of you crafty mamas (of which I know there are PLENTY!) there too!

Portland Mamas Inc.

February 26, 2006

Life as a mama entrepreneur is a little hectic, super insane, and absolutely 110% the best thing I have ever chosen to do (oh, besides the getting married and having a child part of my life :).

When I quit my FT++ office job at the end of last July, I had four goals: launch Event Bliss (check), launch SchotlandPR (check), start the Moms for Hillary 2008 campaign with help from friends at the DNC in DC (scratched this - I've now decided to vote for my dog in '08 because there are no viable candidates in any party. But I digress...), and start a networking/resource organization for mom entrepreneurs. Enter Portland Mamas Inc.

Portland Mamas Inc. is a place where mom entrepreneurs can share resources, ideas, and ask questions that will be answered by other mom entrepreneurs with expertise in various fields. We'll touch on topics from funding (I didn't forget our conversation Karen!) to marketing/pr/advertising, from the elusive work/life balance to legal issues, from product packaging to logo design. Portland Mamas Inc. will roll out first as a blogging community later this spring/summer. Monthly meetings with targeted topics will hopefully follow shortly thereafter, followed by a bi-monthly newsletter. Non-profit status will hopefully be attained sometime next year. 

I know there are a ton of mom entrepreneurs out there, and many of you thinking about making the big leap. My own businesses are thriving in large part because of the knowledge, the support and the assistance so graciously given to me by other mama entrepreneurs. This is one small way I want to give back: to bring this community with our unique needs closer together, so we can help each other succeed in every aspect of our lives.

Please feel free to visit www.portlandmamasinc.org and send me an email if you are interested in contributing, being on the mailing list, etc. So far we've snagged Robyn from Portland at Play/Folklore Media and Kathi O'Neil from Portland Picks and Westover Media as contributing bloggers. I just designed the logo and did the temp home page this afternoon so the site is sparse now. Please send me your ideas for topics & speakers, your thoughts on how to make it work, what you would like to get out of this organization, and anything else you have on your mind.


Mama has a project! (besides trying to convince Ella that Elmo is night-night as well)

February 24, 2006

My mountainMama (lives near Lake Tahoe) and I recently began to entertain the idea of starting a small business, an itty-bitty business really.  A proposition that would be a creative outlet for both of us while bringing in a little dough.  I have had a blast imagining, planning and collaborating with Mom.  Anywho, my work experience has always been in LARGE companies which has been fine, but not excellent preparation for a project of this type.  One of the many aspects that we are researching is establishing a presence on the web.  Being that this group seems to be pretty tech-savvy, I wondered of anyone has any recommendations for a web hosting company geared toward serving a small business?  We will be selling soft goods - some baby accessories, T's, some home things - stuff like that (We just got an order today for 20 aprons!!) Thanks in advance for any and all advise - Looking forward to Zaytoons!


February 15, 2006

Friday's are made to be good days. Join us on Friday at 10 AM at Sydney's, a new urbanMama haunt for sure. We're also going to screen Portland At Play DVD on the big flat panel.  Here's what Robyn, creator of Portland at Play, has to say about her project:

Before I moved here with hubby, two kids and Australian terrier in tow, I searched everywhere for as much info as I could find about kid stuff in Portland and found the info scattered and sometimes difficult to find. My hubby and I were looking for a visual guide (when I read there were 240 parks in the Portland area alone... where to begin?? I wanted to SEE some of them, SEE the play-structures, SEE the splashing fountains (Keller Fountain and Jamison Square are both terrific but SO different)...

Anyway, long story a bit less long, we decided to produce our own visual guide - on DVD. We began researching, distributing questionnaires to long-time portlanders and new residents, taking our girls to every place that was recommended... and 18 months later... "Portland at Play" was officially born last month.

The DVD offers a visual tour of many of the kid-friendly activities and attractions available in and around Portland and is loaded with ideas for fun things to do any day of the year, rain or shine. We cover outdoor spots like parks and playgrounds, U-pick farms and splashing fountains as well as activities like hiking, biking, skateboarding, boating and snow play. We cover indoor activities like museums, theater, climbing gyms, indoor pools, etc. We also cover the basics -- the lowdown on finding your way around the city as well as info on downtown -- and day trips. With seasonal info and age-specific recommendations, we're hoping the guide will be a really useful resource for Portland families -- especially newbies who haven't figured out their way around yet.  We give web addresses of the places we mention and when we introduce an activity, we always try to let people know its just to get them started and then we point them where to go to learn more... The whole thing is completely unsponsored -- no one paid to be in the DVD -- so hopefully parents will trust it as being info presented to parents from parents.

Hope to see y'all there, mamas!  Just talked to Tim, the owner, who promises to have plenty of special pastries and other goodies just for us!

One smooth and sassy mama

January 20, 2006

When I caught her name on a recent comment, I did a triple-take.  Sattie Clark was the commenter, but - hey, waitaminute, that's also the name of the artist on the CD I perpetually listen to at work.  I was a little star-struck.  And excited.

I was quick to email her, "Thanks for your comment on UrbanMamas".... blah blah blah.  But, what I really wanted to tell her was that I love love love her CD "fathom".  And, then, a beautiful relationship was born.

We shared thoughts on the juggle of mamahood, choosing preschools, diversity in Portland.  We talked about one day getting together.  Don't we all?  We always say, "We should get together."  For my life to feel complete, I needed to make that happen.  I ran out of the office one rainy morning, and I dropped in on Sattie at her office. (Oh, I'm so infatuated with the music that I forgot to mention, Sattie and her husband Eric started and run their own business.  um.  that's super-cool.)  We chatted for a good 73 minutes or so.  You know, when you first meet someone in person, after all this intimate online exchange, it's weird for a little.  But, if you're meant to click, then you click, in maybe 5 minutes, somtimes 10.

Sattie runs, too.  Hope to pull her into our run-mama-run group.  Oh, and she's published too!  She wrote a letter to the editor of Health magazine, in response to an article that seemed to promote liposuction and drive healthy & fit women to hate their bodies.  Here's what she had to say:

Dear Ali,
I think you missed the boat in your response to "I hate these saddlebags!"  Her friends may not be supportive of her intent to get liposuction for an important reason that you did not address.  They may feel that her body is lovely and lovable just as it is and that what she really needs to change is her unhealthy obsession with being model thin.  I think that Health magazine has a responsibility to challenge our culture's insane messages to healthy, fit women that their bodies still aren't good enough.  I recently met someone whose job it is to digitally alter photographs of celebrities.  She assured me that all photos you see of stars are altered to make them look perfect (unless they are altered to make them look bad in the tabloids).  Unfortunately, those altered images are what American women use to guage their own bodies and the result is always dissatisfaction.  That dissatisfaction has created a multi-billion dollar industry for plastic surgeons, hair removal services, cosmetic dentistry, etc.  And in my opinion, it's no coincidence that the image enhancement industry buys a lot of advertising space in the magazines that are perpetuating the fiction of the perfect body in the first place.  It's a vicious spiral that can only be reversed by caring education on all fronts and by boycotting cosmetic surgery and other image enhancement services that "fix" women who are perfectly fine the way they are.  Maybe "Saddlebag's" friends were trying to say, "friends don't let friends get cosmetic surgery."  And maybe Health magazine and the director of the Mind/Body Center for Women's Health should be talking more about how to love and take care of the bodies we've got.

Yet another cool urbanMama among us....  looking forward to meeting more of you!

Did she say OPRAH?

January 19, 2006

One of us urbanMamas has been super-busy lately.  With the holidays, a death in the family, a feverish toddler, running two businesses, writing blogs, .... and apologizes on one blogs for her recent inattentivenes in part because she gets an order from THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW?

Marlynn, I'm floored.  How can you do it all?  On top of that, you're fun, sweet, and easy to hang out with.  You're awesome!

Literary Mama

December 15, 2005

It never ceases to amaze me the vast talent pool of mamas here in Portland. We are so lucky. Portland mamas are savvy, literary, wired, and always busy.  If you haven’t had the chance to check out the various PDX mama bloggers, I would suggest you do so! These mamas are full of insight, wit, humor, and provide a great on-line community base of knowledge about all things good and bad about parenting.

Recently, I happened upon Asha’s blog, a gifted writer and mama. Here’s a great example of her work.  It’s an article (Mama Bought the Cafe)she wrote for Hip Mama – an on-line zine.  It just happens that it was about Audra Carmine, a young mama that bought the Junior’s – a café in my wonderful neighborhood! You must read this article.  It’s beautifully written, and Asha has a wonderful way of connecting with the reader.

If you’re a mama blogger, let us know!  We’d love to link to your interesting post, or send us the content and we will post it for you.

Milagros Boutique

January 18, 2005

i wrote about milagros in a recent entry on my NoPo blog. it goes a little something like this.... ... some time ago, i mentioned this spunky looking consignment store on NE 30th off Killingsworth - right across the street from NE's Cup & Saucer and around the corner from Grolla. well, i finally got the chance to step into Milgros and meet Jennifer, the owner. last tuesday night, the night of our cross-country red-eye trip back to new york, i was on a mission to find a maya wrap. lots of stores in town carry various slings. after months of carrying the baby in a makeshift sling (made with a bedsheet or blanket just tied in a knot), i decided that i needed a professionally engineered sling, especially for our red-eye when carrying and rocking the baby may be crucial. with very little time between work, picking up the kids, getting luggage, going to a holiday party, then getting to the airport, i was determined to not be disappointed in my quest for Maya. so, I called Milagros Boutique. jennifer was with a customer right then, but she soon after called me back and we talked at length about the Maya, it's fit, and how it'll suit me perfectly. she told me she had plenty in stock, and so i was on my way to visit Jennifer at Milagros. how thrilled was i to visit the store! they have got some quality new and consigned baby and maternity items - from the Mayas to Robeez and from bumkins to the oh-so important flushable diaper liners that are so hard to find! i left the place feeling productive and happy. the details: open tuesday to saturday until 5pm. they consign on saturdays and do 50-50.