11/10/2012 10:58 pm
Lisa Ackerman worked in real estate site selection for almost 20 years, before retiring from her full-time career to volunteer her time with Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) and the families served by the mission. In July 2008 Lisa accepted a staff position as Executive Director of TACA. She has two children; Lauren (age 29) and Jeff (age 15).
How do you do it all?
You don’t. You make sacrifices at work and as being a mom to make it all work. With work, I travel less than before kids. With kids, they have learned more about independence and sharing time with mom. When we spend time together, it truly is spending quality time together. Both my children know me as a working mom.
What is one of your greatest challenges as a mom?
Time. Having the time to be there for my kids when they need me but also when they don’t. I want them to know they are the most important thing in my life. Spending quality time with my husband and with my family as a whole is also extremely important to me.
How do you measure your success as a mom?
Success is defined by (at some point in time) they don’t need me (or their dad) anymore. They live their dreams to the fullest. But another success would be even after their independence that they then choose to spend time with me because they want to.
11/03/2012 10:46 pm
My ”twins” had their birthday on October 7th, and each year it is a challenge planning a party for their unique interests. India is artistic and crafty, whereas Kembe is athletic and outgoing. As a result, I began searching for a place to have the kids’ party that could cater to their unique personalities. I also went back and forth over how many children to include. They are at a new kindergarten and they are in separate classes so I new that inviting all of the kids in each class could end up being a very large group. Still, they were only a month into school and hadn’t really solidified friendships to the point where we could pick and choose a few key friends. I was also a bit interested in meeting all of the other parents, so I decided to go for it, knowing that we had the potential to have 50+ kids coming. My next hurdle was to figure out a place that could accommodate that many kids that would be a) gender neutral, b) age-appropriate, and c) not a lot of work for me.
Enter Pretend City, a children’s museum in Orange County that caters to pretend fun for kids in this age group. We’ve been to Pretend City and my kids LOVE IT.
01/06/2012 1:05 am
Katie Nguyen is a local entrepreneur, having started a fashion line for kids called Kangacoo that was one of three children’s lines presented at OC Fashion Week. Billed as “where the runway meets the playground”, Kangacoo features fun and whimsical pieces that are also wearable and washable. Kangacoo is a national brand with show rooms in LA and Chicago. Nguyen also maintains a handmade/custom collection on Etsy.com. This week, Nguyen gives us her perspective as a busy mom and businesswoman in the OC fashion industry.
How long have you lived in Orange County?
I have lived in Orange County for 12 years. I moved from the SF Bay Area. My family still lives there so i go back often but Orange County feels like home to me now. It’s nice to live by a beach you can actually swim at. Nor Cal beaches are way too chilly!
What do you like best about living here.
I love the diversity. There are so many great restaurants and so many entreprenuers. There is always something exciting happening in Orange County.
Tell us about your family.
I met my husband the second day I moved here. I transferred with my company and he was my mentor in my new branch. It took us 8 years to marry and we had Marlise my daughter 3 years ago. We call her our little halfer because she is half vietnamese (father) and half caucasion (me). Our first baby was really Cleo, our hairless cat.
How did you get interested in fashion? Did you study it in school or was it a passion that ignited later?
My grandparents taught me to sew when I was about 7 or 8. But I stoped sewing in my early teens. When I was 3 months pregnant I was laid of from a high paying corporate job. I had climbed the corporate ladder and was done with it. I wanted to do something I loved so I took my sewing machine out of the closet dusted it off and started making baby blankets and outerwear. I had no schooling so i learned thorugh trial and error and studying garments i liked and reading online.
How did you start your business?
Really it started itself. I wasn’t sure how it would develop. I started selling on Etsy and a company in Japan found me and placed and order for 80 of my faux fur reversible ponchos. They are still my top client 3 years later. I started designing more clothes and grew more popular on Etsy and in Spring 2011 i signed with 2 showrooms in LA and Chicago. I now have my line in almost 50 retailers in addition to my Etsy Shop.
What are some of the unique aspects of running a fashion line from Orange County?
The huge plus is to be so close to LA. It’s awesome having all my fabric and notion resources 45 minutes away. Orange County also has quite a few unique boutiques that value and support small or new labels.
How do you balance work/family/play?
Um, not very well. But I am working on it in the new year. At the end of 2011 I ended the year burnt out and frustrated that I didn’t spend enough time with my family because I was working so many long hours. But you have to do that in your first years. I keep my eye on the prize. If I put in the hours to grow my business now I can hire more employees down the line to relieve some of my load.
What advice would you give to aspiring designers?
Read my blog The Fashion Business Mentor. I started it to help budding designers. This industry is very tight lipped and many people will take advantage of you if you don’t know what you are doing. My blog tells some of my experiences and I teach on topics that I know will help small businesses in this industry succeed. Also, unless you have a huge bank account of expendable funds then expect that you will spend 10% of your time designing and 90% of your time running the business in your first years. You have to be dedicated.
If you are interested in checking out Kangacoo’s adorable line, you can visit the sites below.
12/23/2011 1:51 pm
If you have school-aged kids, they probably aren’t quite ready to make it until midnight to ring in the New Year. However, if you are looking for a way to celebrate the New Year with your family, there are two great local events catering to families with young children.
First, the Discovery Science Center will be hosting a New Year’s Event for the whole family. Families can celebrate early (and without staying up past bedtime) with a count down and ginger ale toast at 12pm, and 2pm on December 31st. Guests can dress up with hats, beaded necklaces, and noisemakers to the ring in the New Year! Show up early for special fun like building a seltzer rocket and creating your own personalized party popper. Kids can learn the science of time zones as they count down New Years around the world.
Later in the day, Orange County’s Great Park will host an evening filled with live music and dance, food and fun for all ages in a safe, alcohol-free environment from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. A Great Park Family New Year’s Eve will count down to 2012 on East Coast time, culminating at 9:00 p.m. with the Great Park Balloon descending simultaneously with the Times Square ball drop in New York. The event will reflect music and images of each decade from the 1940s to the present. Local dance groups will perform dances from each era, and everyone can get down as a DJ plays tunes from the disco era in the Hangar 244 Lounge. Admission is free, and parking is $10.