Talk about one multi-tasking mama! Justina Blakeney is a designer, design blogger, wife, mom and author. Raised in Berkeley, California, she was recently named by Harper's Bazaar as a designer of note to follow on Instagram and has worked with some of our favorite brands like Anthropolgie, CB2, eBay and Air BnB. After living and working in Italy for seven years, Blakeney returned to the U.S. and started her own design blog which has since taken off—and that would be a major understatement. Fast-forward to today and she's launching her new book "The New Bohemians" which covers all things interiors (including some awesome DIY projects!) with Blakeney's signature eclectic style. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three-year-old daughter Ida, and lucky for us, we had a chance to chat with the designer about all the things that make her tick.
As a lifestyle/decorating guru, what advice do you have for parents who still desire a stylish home but have to balance it with the realities of having a child?
When they are really little, I recommend having lots of baskets everywhere so that you can have "stations" where toys and things can be stashed without having to put everything back into their room. Once the kids get a bit older, include them in the decorating process. Ask them where to hang art or have them help choose paint colors. I find when kids are involved in the process, they are excited about it and tend to respect the space.
Have you found that the inspiration for your work has changed since becoming a mom?
Absolutely. My inspiration has changed because my life is completely different now. My priorities are totally different, and how I spend my time... but probably the biggest change on this front is that every day I get to watch someone who is learning about the world for the first time—that freshness, her sense of wonder, keeps me inspired.
How do you balance your work/home life? Is it even really possible?
It's really tough. But I am extra lucky because my husband is a stay-at-home-dad. Of course that comes with its own set of challenges, but for the most part, this arrangement works really well for our family.
What's the hardest part about working for yourself and working at home?
The hardest part is the financial instability. It's really nerve-wracking not knowing when the next pay check is coming—but still, I wouldn't trade in my creative freedom for financial stability!
As a professional blogger, how careful are you about what you choose to share and not share about your daughter?
I'm pretty careful about this. My husband and I have an agreement that Ida doesn't appear in sponsored content. I share photos of her every so often because I just can't resist, but I've been intentional about keeping my channels design-based and not Ida-based.
If you could tell a new mom one thing, what would it be?
Hang in there, you're doing great. More sleep will come soon.
Where do you want to be five years from now?
Professionally, I hope to have a thriving business with a design branch and a services branch (we're launching Justina Blakeney Home in 2015). On the personal side, we'd love for Ida to have a sibling one day!
It takes a village for any mom, so who are your go-to people/services?
I take Ida every couple of weeks with me to the spa! There is a spa in L.A. that allows kids and it's a great ritual. We soak, I shampoo and comb her hair, then we go upstairs and have noodles.
Finally, take us though a day in the life of…
These days I get up early (6-ish) and if it's Monday, Wednesday or Friday I go to the gym. Next up: coffee in my neighborhood for a moment of "me" time, then back home to shower, publish my blog post and help to get Ida ready for the day. By 9am I'm heading to my studio where I meet my assistant and we work on any number of things—from designing wallpaper or throw pillows, to concepting for social-media campaigns or styling product for a client. Throw in some emails and phone meetings and then lunch. We normally go out and have tacos from a local spot or salads from a health-food store, then back to work. We finish up at around 6PM then I head home.
My husband usually makes dinner and we all eat together as a family. I ask them what they did during the day and it's usually parks, classes (like gymnastics) and play groups. After dinner I do bath time and stories with Ida and tuck her in before bedtime. Then Jason and I usually watch TV or something ("Game of Thrones" anyone?) and I work on the blog post for the next day, or edit images and stuff while we watch TV. We're normally in bed by 11pm and then we do it all over again! Whew!