Stella Leo is one to watch with her chic and effortless style. Her social media channels (@fabgabblog and @fab_kids) will leave you gasping with “awwws” over the adorable moments with her little girl. Maintaining her natural sense of style has encouraged Stella to stay true to herself. Read more about how motherhood has brought more motivation, joy and (as you can see from these photos) cuteness to her life!
1. What makes you a Beyond Mom?
Firstly, I’m flattered that I’ve been identified as a Beyond Mom and have been included in an amazing group of inspirational women. I’m truly honored and also at the same time not quite sure how deserving I am of this recognition.
I’m a mom of a 21 month-old baby girl and like others am trying to figure my way around this new motherhood role. Before having my baby, I was a workaholic, passionate about my event marketing and PR career in the beauty and fashion industries. I chose to stay at home with my baby post maternity leave because my priorities simply changed. Through my blog, FabGabBlog.com I still search out opportunities to stay connected to the fashion and beauty worlds. And I’ve started to plan themed playdates and parties for my little one and her new friends as a creative outlet for my event planning passion. My last NYC event sold out with 7 event sponsors and I’m looking forward to planning out the 2015 calendar.
What makes me a Beyond Mom is the fact that while navigating this new role as a mom and all the new responsibilities and learnings that come with it, I’m still finding ways to be true to my own passions and actively creating new pathways to do so. For instance, my new Instagram accounts which I created while a new mom, have become both my source of inspiration and outlet for creative expression. @fabgabblog allows me to share daily bits and pieces of lifestyle and inspiration while keeping me connected to fellow fashion bloggers. @fab_kids has become my outlet for my recent kids’ fashion obsession. You just HAVE to see these kids that I feature! They’re the most incredible mini-fashionistas from around the world (and I have fun imagining and writing in their style captions). Both social media accounts have become such fun daily connections to the outside world while being a perfect on-the-go stress reliever.
2. What are the parts of you that have grown and expanded since becoming a Mom?
Out of necessity, every mom learns to become a selfless giver. I spent 38 years enjoying my single life. That’s a lot of time to selfishly spend your days however you leisurely like. You’re forced to quickly snap out of it once you find yourself caring for a crying newborn. Suddenly, there’s no time for naps, a good read, brunch with girlfriends or heck, even a shower. I’d say that I’ve grown the most through this experience by stretching my ability to give. When I think I have no more energy to go on, I find myself pushing through. I endlessly give my time, my energy, my love and all of myself to this tiny human being who needs me. Oh yes, and sometimes to my husband too! I’ve become more sacrificial through the process of growing into motherhood and I’m sure I’ve become a better, more mature person because of it.
3. Can you share a collaboration/success story with another woman; what helped the collaboration become successful?
I’m relatively a new mom and am just now finding the time and energy to dream big and start planning for the future. I’d like to continue networking to meet like-minded moms so we can inspire and learn from one another. My hope is to have more sponsored kids’ events on a larger scale with new partners on board. In the meantime, I have also started a new FB page as an extension of @fab_kids on IG where our event details and photos, plus relevant kids fashion sales and news are shared. Facebook.com/fabkidsandtheirstylishmoms Perhaps new collaborations can come out of that too.
4. What relationships help you stay connected to yourself?
Keeping in touch with old friends and family keeps me grounded. I have friends all the way back from when I was 5 and make an effort to keep in touch with my best girlfriends from all the different periods in my life.
My husband is my daily equalizer. I sometimes bounce ideas off of him and he’s so sweet and supportive; plus he keeps me humble and compliments me in so many ways.
Mostly though I think it’s important to take time out of your busy day to just be by yourself. Do whatever you need to relax and take a minute to refresh. I think having time to yourself to reflect and breathe is probably the most valuable in being able to stay true to yourself and connected to who you want to be.
5. Do you have a ‘Beyond’ dream that you are pursuing? If so, please share…
For the first year as a new mom, I think it’s safe to say that my Beyond dreams consisted of being able to take regular showers, think clearly and sleep through the night. Getting a good night’s rest is still actually wishful thinking….when I will get regular, uninterrupted sleep is ‘beyond’ me!
I feel almost silly sharing such wild dreams but I do now think that what I’ve started with the kids events has potential to become something larger. And I’m just now starting to work out plans to expand both the event planning side of this business as well as the kids fashion side of things..
If you’re reading this and know of someone who may be interested in similar things and/or may want to collaborate in the future, please let me know!
6. What wellness activity can you not live without? What is one thing you do daily that balances you?
I want to say that I work out 3-4x a week because that is what my ideal self would like to say sometime in the near future. But right now, I’m just not that kind of person. I am more the kind of person who chases after an energetic toddler as my only form of exercise and always ends a busy day with something chocolat-y. Treating myself to chocolate at the end of a long day is what keeps me balanced haha. But somehow I don’t think that is the type of answer you are looking for.
I do try and stretch every day. Sometimes I do it while watching my baby play on the ground, or sometimes I do it lying in bed –right before I treat myself with that sinful chocolate I mentioned. But my mom always reminded me the importance of stretching and for some reason that is just one of those things that stuck with me.
7. How does style influence the way you stay feeling ‘Beyond’? Who is currently your favorite designer?
One way that I’ve stayed true to myself as a mom is to keep my sense of style. Fashion has always been important to me so despite having given up my full-time career I knew I wasn’t going to turn into the mom always in sweats or workout gear (mainly because I don’t really work out but also because I enjoy dressing up). I enjoy putting outfits together for myself and for my baby girl and have always enjoyed styling outfits for those around me. I used to play in my parents’ walk-in closet and lay out new never-before-thought-of outfits for each of them. And still to this day, I rejoice in the fact that my husband lets me choose his outfits whenever I like and I enjoy dressing up my daughter as if she were about to walk the runway on any given day. I may not have as many places to go or be seen these days but dressing in a way that pleases me, energizes me and helps me feel like perhaps I haven’t really changed all that much (what a lie!).
This is such a hard question for me. I love fashion and can really appreciate so many looks. But if I had to boil down my style, I’d say I’m girly glam (think: Nanette Lepore, Rebecca Taylor, Kate Spade). These days though, I’ve been attracted to edgier, modern details found at: BCBGMAXAZRIA, Karen Millen and Maje. For fall, my staples typically include some: leather, fur and/or sparkly costume jewelry.
Favorite NYC Spots that Embody The Beyond Mom:
Beyond Cocktails and/or Food:
I don’t really drink so I’ll list my favorite restaurants.
Room Service They have fab décor and delicious Thai food at affordable prices.
Norma’s (at Le Parker Meridian hotel) for brunch
Central Park Boathouse. It’s so beautiful when the weather is nice and it’s where I met my husband.
Miss Korea This is one of the only Korean restaurants that has great food, is open all hours and is easy to pronounce and remember for my non-Korean friends.
Lauduree for afternoon tea. It’s simply the prettiest place to enjoy a fancy tea with your girlfriends (or little princess). One day, I’d like to have her birthday party there!
The Philippe-Starck-designed gym in my building is probably the nicest spa-like gym I’ve ever had access to that it is really a shame I’m not more of a regular. It has everything you need plus a sauna, pool, squash court, basketball court and even a ballet /yoga room which is unheard of here, in NYC.
As a mom of a toddler, I’m finding it so much easier to shop online. I love Etsy for unique finds and am a fan of sample sale sites such as: Gilt, Zulily and One Kings Lane. I get far too many packages in the mail. As far as actual stores go, since I live near TJ Maxx and Century 21 and love a good deal, I frequent those stores the most.
Other moms who seemingly succeed at balancing a pursuit of their passion while raising a happy, healthy family inspire me. I think it’s important to feel that sense of inspiration on a daily basis. It’s what excites you and gets you motivated. These days with a mobile phone always at hand, it’s easy to find inspiration on –the-go, wherever you are. My social media and Pinterest apps are a convenient and constant source of inspiration. Some might argue that I’m getting obsession and inspiration confused here.