We have been thrilled to welcome Embody Wellness Company as our newest content contributor. Their latest piece offered amazing tips on how to supercharge your system for the new year. Now we are pulling back the curtains and shining the light on the founders. Stephanie Rapp is the Co-Founder and CEO of Embody Wellness Company and a certified Holistic Health and Lifestyle Coach. She is a new mom to Olivia Hudson, a certified Kettlebell Kickboxing instructor and avid traveler. This Beyond Mom believes in the ability to balance a career with outside interests, family, wellness and the pursuit of passions! Find out more about Stephanie and stay tuned for our interview with her business partner Christine next week!
1. What makes you a Beyond Mom?
Especially since having my baby (Olivia Hudson Rapp, almost one year old), I’ve realized that pretty much every mom I’ve met is a Beyond Mom! Always putting family first yet making time to care for themselves, pursuing a passion, working hard at a career and in their home, supportive friends, advice givers, volunteers, active community members, schedule coordinators and more, Moms are truly inspiring and heroic. As for me, I’ve always been someone who performs best amidst chaos. I do well when there is a lot on my plate and too much going on. Yet, I’ve also always followed a pretty straight and narrow path, from boarding school at Exeter to college at UPenn to a career in finance at Goldman Sachs. One step leading to another. Motherhood, in the best possible way, threw me for a spin off of my path. I suddenly felt ambitious, creative and impassioned in new ways and valued my time differently. Just one month prior to Olivia’s birth, I started EMBODY Wellness Company with Christine Dunst. It was a we-have-nothing-to-lose pet project. Something I thought I would do in my “free time.” Now, I strive to be a Beyond Mom by constructing a life where you can find me in the swimming pool or at music class with Olivia in the morning and traveling around the city meeting with clients to help them accomplish their wellness goals in the afternoon. We are hosting events, leading workshops and more. I’m working hard to build a business that changes people’s lives and cultivates lasting, healthy lifestyles. Something I am passionate about and proud of! Something that Olivia might want to do alongside me one day!
2. What are the parts of you that have grown and expanded since becoming a Mom?
My heart, my paranoia and my open mindedness. I went into motherhood with as few expectations as possible. I tried to take each step as it came, learning from Olivia and my instincts. Still, each day is new. One day Olivia loves to eat everything, the next day only sweet potatoes and bananas with her hands will do. Every parent has their own way of raising their child or children. The important thing is that it works for your own family. I admire parents who like to learn from each other, ask questions and share experiences. We can all learn from each other, taking what works for us and leaving behind what doesn’t. Separately, I thought I was going to be that really chill mom, not caring when my daughter shared a slobbery toy with another baby or when strangers touched her face and hands and went in for kisses. Then coxsackie virus spread like wildflowers throughout the city. I found myself skipping music class and walking around with hand wipes. Even the swings got a swipe before Olivia went in for her turn. And my heart. I remember my grandmother saying that when she was pregnant she was so scared she wouldn’t love her second baby with the same fervor as her first. How could she? The love was so strong and so all-encompassing, would it be possible to create more? And then her second was born and her heart just grew – it really grew. It expanded and there was more love and more heart to give. And the same happened with her third and her fourth. I understand this now. My heart literally grew. My capacity to love expanded exponentially.
3. Can you share a collaboration/success story with another woman; what helped the collaboration become successful?
EMBODY Wellness Company with my business partner and friend Christine Dunst! We met in nutrition school. We both attended as a passion project. Something we wanted to do to learn more formally about what we were so interested in. Neither of us had a business goal in mind at the outset. But, after months of weekly study sessions that turned into brainstorming and business planning sessions, we decided to go for it. Our collaboration became successful because we are similar people with similar backgrounds but very different styles and tendencies. We both have the same expectations of each other and ourselves and the business, the same goals and work ethic. Yet we balance each other out in so many ways. Where I am careless, Christine is meticulous. Where I am inexperienced, Christine has deep knowledge. We work really well together and genuinely like and respect each other. And above all, we both want to be working towards the success and growth of EMBODY Wellness. This is where our passions lie.
4. What relationships help you stay connected to yourself?
My husband. Even when he is frustrating he always makes me laugh. My closest friends who have been like family for so many years. We’ve grown up together! From teenage antics to weddings and babies! My family. I’m lucky to have a very close and supportive family who I see often and enjoy incredibly. My newest group of amazing friends who I’ve met through Olivia – we all have 9 month old babies! It is wonderful having a crew all going through the same things at the same time!
5. Do you have a ‘Beyond’ dream that you are pursuing? If so, please share…
I dream of making EMBODY Wellness Company a well known brand. Creating something lasting and scalable. A product line or a cookbook or both! Online programs, corporate offerings, franchise opportunities, who knows! We are just getting started!
6. What wellness activity can you not live without? What is one thing you do daily that balances you?
Home cooking. I love to make homemade meals or creations. It is my outlet for creativity and a place of calm and purpose. I look for what is fresh and local and then I build my menu from there. It is fulfilling to provide healthy, delicious food for my family and friends. I don’t like following recipes, so baking is usually not my forte, but I do make a great homemade granola, power bites and breakfast bread (check out our blog for recipes!). And I’m currently obsessed with creating healthy yet decadent desserts. Some work out and others are epic fails! After home cooked meals, working out is a second wellness activity I can’t live without. Although I used to be much more regimented about this pre-Olivia. I still aim for 3-5 days a week of workouts, but if i miss a week or hit 3 days instead of 5, that is OK with me. It is also fun to work out with Olivia! On especially busy weeks, a friend and I meet in the park and do lunges and squats with our babies in their strollers. That is multitasking: catching up with friends, spending time with our kids, getting fresh air and sneaking in a workout!
My daily balancing ritual is smothering Olivia in kisses. It is an immediate surge of joy and I do it as much as she lets me!
7. How does style influence the way you stay feeling ‘Beyond’? Who is currently your favorite designer?
I like wearing clothes that fit well, feel good and can take me through the day. I live in my good jeans, a t-shirt or a soft sweater and vans. On a Saturday night I’m most likely in my leather pants or a dress with a little edge. I like to find unique pieces on my travels- a cool necklace in from a street vendor in Mexico, evil eye bracelets in Greece, a fun dress for an unexpected night out in Brazil. Motherhood has actually made me more fashion forward, interestingly enough.
Favorite NYC Spots that Embody The Beyond Mom:
Whole Foods. Seriously. We go there almost every day. Le Pain Quotidien, Mulberry & Vine and Gee Whiz. Healthy and Olivia friendly breakfast and lunch spots within one block of where I live. The swings. There is always a line, like a nightclub for babies, but Olivia can’t get enough and I end up chatting with the person pushing their baby next to us!
Beyond Cocktails and/or Food:
My friends used to call me their personal Zagat – I always knew about the newest openings, always trying new places and finding the hidden gems. Now I go out a lot less frequently! Santina and Bar Cyrk were my two most recent nights out.
I like to mix it up: barre classes, spinning, circuit training, long walks, yoga.