Hey Smarties. I am happy to introduce you to Caroline Chase. She was mominated by her friend Kati. Kati contacted CSP with the following request:
I would like to “mominate” Caroline Chase as a smarty mom of the week. She is one of the owners of the Beaux Belly maternity boutique as well as a fabulous person, a mother to two adorable children and an all around great Mom! I met Caroline when we were in prenatal yoga class with our first born together. We developped a strong bond with each other and a few of our other yoga girlfriends. These “yoga girls” were all a source of support, strength and laughter throughout the early days of motherhood and still are to this day. Caroline is a strong and creative person with a great sense of fun, fashion and humor–she has been a wonderful addition to my circle of friends.
Let’s get to know Caroline.
Tell us about being an owner of Beaux Belly, a mother of two and a yoga enthusiast. How do you do it all?
I try to keep my eye on the prize – to focus on the things that matter most. To make it through the day I try to keep lists but then have to make lists of all my lists. I’m usually late for… everything and I’m horrible at answering the phone and returning calls. I have more piles of things “to do” that sometimes never “get done”. But I always make time when my four year old asks for “some snuggle” or my two year old asks for one more book. I drink in the small moments like the way my daughter smells after a bath or the sound of my son’s giggle when I kiss the back of his neck. And let the record show, I couldn’t make it through the day without my guy. Michael and I met in college and thus have done a lot of growing up together. He is my biggest support system both in encouraging me and helping me. He is always there when I need him and can anticipate and save me when I’m at my breaking point. I think having a strong support system be it a spouse, friends, parents, neighbors that really knows you and can be there at the drop of a hat creates a sense of security that lets you do it all. Or at least try to.
Can you give our smarty pregnant moms out there some fun fashion tips for staying sassy during pregnancy?
The single most important fashion tip I can give is… BUY MATERNITY (and that isn’t a shameless plug). It seems a lot of moms wait and wait until they are way into their pregnancy to buy maternity clothes. They either keep wearing their own stuff that is too tight or buy a larger size in regular clothes – bad mistake. Maternity designers are right in line with current trends and styles. And they know how to make a garment look fabulous on a not-so pregnant belly and a very pregnant belly. Maternity clothes are much more comfortable and will make you feel better about your expanding mid-section. And don’t wait – most all maternity clothes can be worn with practically no belly at all. Plan to spend some time trying things on and fill up a dressing room, take anything and everything you’re slightly interested in. Maternity clothes look drastically different on a real body than they do on a hanger – and most of the time, much, much better. Plan on making several shopping trips to create your maternity wardrobe. Sometimes, the first visits can be frustrating but each week we get new shipments and each week you get more accustomed to your bigger belly. Buy what you feel beautiful in – it’s the one time when you don’t have to “suck it in” and you still look fabulous.
What is your favorite part about owning a boutique that caters to moms-to-be?
It is so rewarding to be included in such a special time in their lives. Because we are a small boutique, our moms usually come in about once a week so we really get to know each other. Usually during those long nine months all the emphasis is placed on the baby. All the purchases are baby-related but not at Beaux Belly – it’s all about the mom. We are the one place where pregnant women can focus on themselves and how they feel. We hope it’s a great place to come and get a little pick me up in either clothes or solid advice. Between Erin (my business partner) and I, we have six kids so we can answer almost any question and love to give advice. We have definitely been there – done that!
When your friend Kati “mominated” you, she mentioned that you are creative and fun, with a sense of fashion and humor” so which of these attributes do you see as your greatest strength?
I think each is important depending on what hat I’m wearing. The fashion part obviously helps in that I own a boutique but the problem is I use all my “fashion energy” there which leaves my own closet usually in a need of a makeover. As a wife, I think love, respect and being able to laugh with your husband are the most important things in a marriage. Being on the same page to enjoy the same funny moments is huge in a partnership. That fun and humor will then naturally trickle into every part of your day. And, I think it’s crucial to be creative in both my full time jobs (mom and retail). I am extremely flattered when someone describes me as creative. To me creativity means you’re not following the norm, you’re looking at the world through your own eyes, which can be challenging at times. I think it takes a lot to let go of trying to “keep up with the Joneses” and make a new path. It also means I usually lay awake at night sorting through the “next big thing”. But being able to be creative with solutions is way worth it.
Tell us about your children.
How much time do you have?? In a few short words, I have a four-year-old daughter Logan and a two-year-old son Will. They are the light of my life! I’m the epitome of that saying “when you have a child your heart forever walks outside your body.”
What is your favorite activity to do with them?
Although we stay pretty busy and I could list tons of things we do together my favorite is… bedtime. It’s so nice to crawl into bed at the end of the day with one of them. We read books and then cut off the light and talk. It’s not that rambling chatter that happens during daylight hours it’s quiet conversations about the day or how they are feeling. With Logan I ask her questions and she asks me questions. With my son, who’s not talking as much, it’s more just one on one time. He points out things in his room as we rock and we snuggle and then usually both drift off to sleep. Someone asked me one time what’s the best thing about being a mom and I said its that I have two special angels that I get to kiss goodnight at every bedtime. It sounds so mundane but knowing they are mine and safe and healthy and happy tucked in their beds is beyond words!
What is your favorite activity without them?
Friends and wine. Not necessarily in that order. We have a great circle of friends in Charlotte that all have kids the same age. When we get together sometimes it’s just girls, sometimes just adults, sometimes the whole shebang. I also have a circle of girls that I grew up who know me like the back of their hand. We try to have several “girls weekends” a year, even though we wish it was several times a month. I think it’s extremely important to spend some quality time having adult conversations and surround yourself with people that are on your same wave length – be it having kids and parenting in common or just those years and years of friendship. It’s what makes this crazy world seem a little less crazy. That and the wine.
What is your favorite store for kids clothing?
I am lucky that I get to go to New York three times a year on buying trips for the store so although it’s not in Charlotte (but should be) I guess my official favorite is H&M. They have prices like Target but way better styles and prints (not that I don’t spend a pretty penny at the Tar-gét). I also love the thrill of the hunt so their wardrobe consists of a mixture from consignments stores, the mall, online and my mom (she’s an amazing seamstress among other things).
What is the funniest thing that either of your children has ever said to you?
My four year old is in the fascination stage with babies – how long do they stay in mommy’s belly, where does the milk come from, etc, etc. The other day she decided to recite her knowledge of breast feeding and told me that when a “mommy has a baby her boobies make milk to feed the baby and then when the baby is older the milk goes away and so do the boobies… just like yours did mommy”. Nice – nothing like brutal honesty from your four year old.
What is your favorite park in Charlotte?
We are extremely lucky that we live near the greenway and Freedom Park. I’m a big water person so having water (albeit a creek and small pond) near by is wonderful. The great thing about Freedom Park is there are so many different areas. There’s the little playground at the top of Princeton, the “bike path” around the pond, the train playground, the nature museum, etc. Although it can be crowded at times (perfect for people watching) we love spending time there.
What is your favorite restaurant that you go to as a family?
We don’t have one particular restaurant that’s our favorite as a family. We have been taking our kids to restaurants since day one. Which I think is really beneficial for everyone. They know what to expect and what’s expecting of them. Because they have always been familiar with eating out it makes the whole experience much more pleasant and we don’t hesitate including them in a night out. With that said, we frequently visit our neighborhood hang out, Charlotte Café. It has reasonable prices, great food and not a french fry in sight.
What is your favorite restaurant that you go to with just your husband?
We love Coco Osteria. There is just something about a tiny Italian bistro and drinking a great bottle of wine under the big city lights with the one you love. Great date night!
The best birthday party you ever attended or gave for a child? A drop-off party.
Minivan or SUV?
SUV. I know, I know the minivan is the single most useful, convenient vehicle ever created. But I’m still SUV all the way. I also have two big dogs who don’t think much of a minivan either.
What is the best thing about raising your family in Charlotte?
Charlotte is the best little big city. There is always so much to do. We love to do big city things like take the train to ballet on Sat mornings or spend an evening uptown for dinner and a hockey game. But Charlotte also has that hometown feel. It’s nice when you recognize people at the grocery store and always know someone playing at the neighborhood park. It’s the best of both worlds.
You could not live without?
The happiness, health and safety of my loved ones.
I wish someone told me sooner about… My business partner gave me a subscription to a fabulous website last year for my birthday. It’s called Relish and it rocked my world (culinary speaking of course). It has a weekly menu and shopping list which I print out and then use to grocery shop online. The menus are nutritious, only take about 20 minutes to prepare and the best part – it’s all thought out for the whole week. No more what should we have, what’s not frozen and it’s never the same old same old. Love it.
Thank you Caroline and thanks to Kati for “mominating” such a smarty mom!
If you know a mom that you think is “oh so smarty”, mominate her! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.