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Stoop Story: Stephanie Unwin

Veronica Beard’s COO is a modern NYC mom reinventing the modern NYC story, one brownstone stair at a time.

Stoop Story: Stephanie Unwin

Before moving to Brooklyn, we had fairytale visions of what it would look like to live in this great borough of our beautiful city. Images of historic brownstones from The Cosby Show and Sesame Street--yes, we were allowed endless television as children--filled our brains. As it turns out those beautiful brownstones are even more magical in person. Each has its own history, filled to the brim with NY stories. Stoop stories.

Each generation, that story is different. We can’t begin to imagine how mothers even lived in brownstones, having to haul those giant prams up and down those flights of stairs. A mother’s job is hard enough without the unnecessary heavy lifting. Which is why it’s no shocker that once the Maclaren buggy came into the picture, it became the stroller of choice for NYC moms. Maclaren’s are just about as ingrained in NYC life as our storied stoops.

Launched in 1965 with its iconic B-01 design, Maclaren was then--and is now--the lightest buggy on the market. It’s newly released Mark II weighs in at just 7.3 lbs. Using the B-01’s original design brief as inspiration, Maclaren has applied its half-century of experience, engineering and modern materials--which include light, high-strength, water-resistant, rip-stop fabric, a unique aluminum hex chassis and anti-microbial handles--to create the Mark II.

Much like Maclaren’s latest stoller, the brownstones have also evolved, each telling a new story. Like the story of a modern mom trying to live the dream and balance it all the best she can. With style.

Meet Stephanie Unwin, COO of the award-winning fashion brand Veronica Beard, who has nestled into her home in Boerum Hill with her husband and two kids. Here’s her stoop story.

How does Veronica Beard speak to the modern woman?

It’s two women--founders Veronica Miele Beard and Veronica Swanson Beard--designing for other women. So when we’re sitting in meetings we’re always talking about how this woman is wearing her clothes. “Can she drive a car? Can she push a stroller?” We literally say those things because we know that women today have very multi-faceted lives, and at the end of the day we are New York City moms. We know what it’s like being busy moms, and we want to wear clothes that are classic and cool. We are our customer.

How do you think your life and career evolved since becoming a mom?

I think that life is just a million times busier for a working mom. I think the challenge for every mom is just finding the balance, and some of us are better at it than others. The founder of Tibi once said to me, “Working moms are very efficient at work because they have to be.” So efficiency is one of the things I’ve learned, but I’m not perfect at it. I still work long hours often and if I work late one night I try and stay in an hour longer the next morning so I can get that extra time with the kids.

What does your typical weekday look like?

I typically wake up with my son around 7:30 then wake up my daughter. We then make breakfast, I get my daughter’s lunch ready for camp, and then once I put her on the bus at 8:30 and my nanny arrives, I get myself organized for work and head to the office. I get home from work around 6:30 and get to spend two hours with the kids before bedtime. It’s fun hanging out with them at the end of the day.

How did you and your family land in your neighborhood?

We were living in Chelsea for about two years and we knew we wanted a second child. I knew I wanted green space, I knew I wanted to BBQ in my yard. We got very lucky in finding our home before prices sky-rocketed in this neighborhood. We fell in love with our home.

Do you have neighborhood treasures?

We love Boerum Hill. It’s a really nice mix between family and up-and-coming restaurants. There’s still a nice edge to it. We absolutely love the restaurant Rucola and are always there. I love the children’s store Acorn for gifts and my favorite furniture haunt is GreenHouse.

What are some of your favorite things to do with your kids around town?

We spend the most time in Carroll Gardens. Also Brooklyn Bridge Park.

How do you get out of your house with the kids -- literally? Up and down those stairs!

A lot of hand holding and close watching.

How much do you travel with your family?

We travel a lot. My husband and I are both Canadian, so if we want to see family we have to travel to see them. My parents are in the Bahamas half the year so we make it there 3-4 times a year as well.

How important is it to have a lightweight stroller as a NYC mom?

Incredibly important. We couldn’t live without our Maclaren. It goes everywhere with us. It goes to the Bahamas, it goes to Toronto, it goes to Nova Scotia. It’s a very well-traveled stroller. We’re also well-versed in the park tour of Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill and Carroll Gardens, so our stroller has seen a lot of miles.

What are some of your best tips for staying mobile with kids?

We just take our kids everywhere. I think the most important thing is having the stroller.

This post was brought to you by Maclaren. Enter to win this awesome NYC stroller here!

Do you have a stoop? What are some of you favorite things to do in your hometown?

Photography by Evan Gubernick of 485 Creative.

As much as I love fall, it always feels like the season when my family's routine gets kicked into overdrive. With our oldest in (homeschool) kindergarten, my youngest on the brink of entering her twos, work, housework and *all the things* filling my day, it's hard not to feel a little overwhelmed sometimes. Did I mention we're still in a pandemic? (Yeah, it's a lot.) And while I try to take a positive view as much as I can, now more than ever I definitely jump at the chance to take anything off my busy plate.

One thing first in line at the chopping block? Cooking. To be fair, I like cooking. I cooked most of our meals long before I had ever even heard of social distancing. But there's something about the pandemic that suddenly made cooking every single meal feel exponentially more draining.

Enter Daily Harvest. They deliver nourishing, delicious food right to your door. Daily Harvest's mix of smoothies, bowls, flatbreads, snacks and more provide a balanced, whole food options that are as satisfying as they are nutritious. But my favorite part? When we're ready to eat, I simply pull the food from the freezer and it's ready in minutes—without any chopping, measuring or searching for a recipe. Even better, they're incredibly tasty, meaning I'm not struggling to get my girls to dig in. Not cooking has never felt so good.

Here are my 8 favorite products that are helping to lighten my load right now:

Mulberry + Dragonfruit Oat Bowl

Mulberry + Dragonfruit Oat Bowl

One thing that actually helps break up the monotony of quarantine? Trying and introducing new ingredients to my family. I love this overnight oat bowl (add milk the night before and let it set in your fridge overnight—easy-peasy!) because not only does it not compromise on nutrition, but it also helps me bring new whole fruits, vegetables and superfoods to the table with ease.

Mint + Cacao Smoothie

Mint + Cacao Smoothie

I kid you not, these taste exactly like a mint chocolate chip milkshake. (Just ask my 4-year-old, who is constantly stealing sips from my glass.) What she doesn't know? She's actually getting organic banana, spinach and chlorella with every sip. #momwin

Kabocha + Sage Flatbread

Kabocha + Sage Flatbread

Our family's eating habits have been leaning more plant-forward this year, which often means a lot of veggie washing, peeling and chopping every time I cook. That's why these flatbreads are my new best friend come lunchtime. This Kabocha + Sage Flatbread is made with a gluten-free cauliflower crust topped with kabocha squash, fennel and sage for a taste of fall in every bite. (Missing the cheese? You can add it before baking for more of a pizza feel.)

Kale + Sweet Potato Flatbread

Kale + Sweet Potato Flatbread

There's something about the combination of sweet potato crust topped with red cabbage, organic greens and an herby-cilantro sauce that is so delicious… like surprisingly delicious. I polished off this bad boy in seconds! And unlike other "veggie" crusts I've tried, these are actually clean (AKA no fillers, preservations, partially-hydrogenated oil or artificial anything). Plus, it couldn't be easier to throw in the oven between conference calls and homeschool lessons.

Cacao + Avocado Smoothie

Cacao + Avocado Smoothie

Any time I get to serve a breakfast that tastes like chocolate, it's a good day. (That goes double when it's *my* breakfast.) This rich, chocolatey smoothie is packed with organic zucchini, avocado, pumpkin seeds and pea protein for a nourishing mix of healthy fats and muscle-building protein so I can carry that baby all day long. And did I mention the chocolate?

Vanilla Bean + Apple Chia Bowl

Vanilla Bean + Apple Chia Bowl

Maybe it's just me, but after a long week of cooking, the last thing I want to do on Saturday morning is...wake up and cook. That's why these one-step breakfasts are saving my weekend. I simply add our favorite milk the night before and store the bowl in the fridge overnight. Come morning, I have a nutritious chia bowl that powers me through even the busiest day of errands. It's also Instagram-ready, which makes me feel like I'm out brunching (even if I can't remember the last time I was in a restaurant).

Cacao Nib + Vanilla Bites

Cacao Nib + Vanilla Bites

My kids have turned into snack monsters during quarantine, and I'm often struggling to find a wholesome option (that doesn't require a lot of extra cooking or else I resort to something ultra-refined and shelf-stable). These bites are the hero I never knew I needed. For one, they taste like cookie dough, but they're actually packed with chickpeas, pumpkin, dates and flax seed (among other whole ingredients). But unlike actual cookie dough, I don't have to go anywhere near my mixer to whip them up—all I have to do is pull the container out of the freezer, let them defrost a bit and we can all enjoy a treat.

Cauliflower Rice + Pesto Harvest Bowl

Cauliflower Rice + Pesto Harvest Bowl

Sometimes I have a little more time to cook, but I still want a quick, stress-free solution. (Especially because it always feels like I just cleaned up from the last meal.) I love these Harvest Bowls because they warm up in under five minutes on the stove top (or microwave!) but pack tons of flavor. The Cauliflower Rice + Pesto bowl is one of my favorites, with basil, olive oil and nutritional yeast for a hearty dish reminiscent of a mouth-watering Italian meal. When I'm feeling extra fancy, I add leftover grilled chicken or a fried egg.

Strawberry + Rich, Rippled Berry Compote Scoops

Strawberry + Rich, Rippled Berry Compote Scoops

Who doesn't want to end the day with a little something sweet? This creamy and decadent frozen treat from Daily Harvest is swirled with sweet berries and tropical dragonfruit for an antioxidant burst you'll feel good about—but that your kiddos will just think is ice cream. Go ahead, take credit for being the best mom ever.

Want to try it yourself? You can get $25 off your first box of Daily Harvest with code MOTHERLY.

This article was sponsored by Daily Harvest. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

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Life

A few years ago, while my wife's baby bump got bigger and my daddy reading list grew longer, I felt cautiously optimistic that this parenthood thing would, somehow, suddenly click one day. The baby would come, instincts would kick in, and the transition from established couple to a new family would be tiring but not baffling.

Boy was I wrong.

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