Kristiana Tarnuzzer is a mom of two to her almost 5 year old son, Luka, and 2 year old daughter, Kosette (Kosi). Earlier this year, her family relocated to LA from NYC. During this major transition, Kristiana launched her passion project, The Cause Bar, a lifestyle destination and resource that brings awareness to brands, experiences and change makers with a mission to better our world. Her goal is to connect these amazing brands – and the causes they support – with moms who want to do more, but are often times limited due to challenges such as time constraints and lack of awareness. In this interview Kristiana shares her journey through transitioning from the east coast to the west plus the causes she’s super passionate about right now.
What makes you a Beyond Mom?
Thank you for considering me one! I guess I would say my desire to make a positive impact on both the community I’m building through The Cause Bar, as well as on my children through teaching them empathy and understanding of the causes I support.
What are the parts of you that have grown and expanded since becoming a mom?
Mentally, spiritually, personally…everything. I never knew I could care about anything the way I do for these tiny humans that entered my life. Pre children, I doubted if I could even take on that critical role of being a mom – would I know what to do? Would I know all the answers? Since becoming a mom, I’ve discovered layers in me I didn’t know existed, and this spans across my intuition, my patience and my stamina. Wait, did you mean physically? Also everything! I’ll probably never get that “pre-baby bod” back, but it’s all worth it 😉
Do you have a Beyond dream that you are pursing?
Yes! Building upon the current iteration of The Cause Bar by continuing to focus on growing and supporting a community of those wanting to live a more social good lifestyle, and layering in a solid, holistic business platform for nonprofit organizations and positive impact brands.
What relationships and activities help you stay connected to yourself?
Spending time with the kids, who are so brutally honest it hurts, and yet so hilarious they get me belly laughing. Spending time with family and friends who know me inside and out, and encourage me to be the person that I am. Surfing has taught me to be extremely humble (I once was a pretty good athlete, surfing does a great job at challenging that sometimes!), and the time alone in the water, well, there’s really nowhere better to do some true self reflection. Traveling always leaves me inspired, so I have a trip lined up at all times.
Do you have a favorite quote or mantra that you live by?
If not now, when? It’s easy to say “I’ll get to that eventually” or “I’ll do it later”…but if you think about it, isn’t now already later? So what are we waiting for? When I launched The Cause Bar, it probably couldn’t have been at what many would call a worse time – our family was about to embark on a cross country move from the east coast to LA at the beginning of 2018. Gone was everything I was familiar with – my roots, my family, my lifelong friends, my full time career. I’ve become a stranger in a strange land, with a whole new agenda in front of me. I was about to turn 40 on April 22 (Earth Day), and so launching on this day and milestone just felt right to me. Though I probably could have checked 10 more boxes, dotted 20 more i’s and crossed 30 more t’s, I did it…and it wound up being the best decision. The Cause Bar remained my constant during this life transition, my “go to” for when I wanted to feel like myself again. What appeared to be the most uncomfortable and wrong time in my life to take this step, turned out to be the perfect time for me to follow my dream.
What causes and topics are you most passionate about right now?
Wow, so many – too many to even list, but I can give a sampling. I’ve always been a huge animal advocate, having rescued my pup back in 2004. Having a sister who is gay, and seeing her struggle with coming out back in 2000, LGBTQ rights and advocacy has always been a high priority for me. Ending homelessness, childhood hunger, women’s rights, plastic pollution…like I said, I’m passionate about so many. The beauty of The Cause Bar is my ability to share and spread awareness around so many different topics and causes in one place. While there are probably many like me out there who support multiple causes, there are also many who are passionate about a select few. I want to be able to be relevant and useful to everyone, because I truly believe that reaching even just one person who will take one small action can make a huge impact.
How do you think we can change our culture from one in which a woman is expected to be a “perfect mother” to one in which she is encouraged to discover and explore her evolving self?
I heard this on a panel the other week and it resonated. As women, we need to create an environment of support, not judgement. We need to feel comfortable in sharing our real life challenges and what we perceive to be our “failures” – I think we’d all be really surprised to see how many others have the same challenges and have “failed” in the exact same way to see just how common, normal and OK it all is. And get rid of the guilt! We are better moms when we don’t feel guilty about taking care of ourselves and time for ourselves.
Beyond Food (what do you cook & where do you go locally?)
I’m much more of a baker (I prefer recipe directions with exact measurements!), but I do like to experiment with different summer salads and appetizers that incorporate fresh, seasonal and local ingredients. Locally, as a family, we frequent Reel Inn in Malibu for their fresh fish, and for a quick lunch, I love Kreation Kafe in Santa Monica – you start your meal off provided with rose water towelettes and chlorophyll drops in your water…you kind of feel like your body is a temple and have to order something super healthy after that, right?
Beyond Content (Books & Podcasts)
At this point I’d have to say Jamberry, Good Night Moon and The Hungry Caterpillar since those are the nightly requests from the kids, I can recite every word, and I find some ridiculous element of pride in that. As for when I can squeeze in some QT for myself, I like to catch up on the week’s happenings by reading The Week (think CliffsNotes for current events). Currently listening to You are a Badass by Jen Sincero. She’s real, and I like that.
I love the site fashionkind.com – they source such beautiful, unique pieces from around the world that support positive missions and brands making a positive impact. I also always love finding the perfect handmade item while traveling – without fail, I always get asked about whatever I bring home from my travels, and I love sharing the stories behind the pieces!
I try to be well rounded when it comes to exercise, and also try do something everyday. Being active outside really helps make it not feel entirely like working out, so hiking, biking, a run on the beach, and surfing are always fit into the week. During the winter, we try to go skiing as much as possible. Indoors, I love yoga, pilates, spinning, and any type of barre class – those classes are TOUGH but you can actually feel the results immediately! Oh, and chasing the kids…does that count? It’s a terrific calorie burner.