Where are you from originally?
I’m from a very small town in New Hampshire!
What made you choose New Canaan or Darien over other towns in the area?
How long have you lived in your town? I live in West Norwalk, wedged between Darien and New Canaan, so I feel like I have the best of both worlds, as we are part of both of those great communities! My older son went to New Canaan Nature Center for preschool and my younger son is currently at the Darien Nature Center. We have close friends in both towns. We’ve lived here for nearly eight years!
How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
We have two boys, Boden (5) and Cody (2.5)
What are your favorite things to do with your kids in general or in town?
We spend a lot of time at Cherry Lawn year round, catching frogs and turtles, walking on the trails, and playing at the playground. We love Weed Beach and Bayley beach (Rowayton) year round as well.
What are your favorite events or favorite season in New Canaan or Darien and why?
Spring is hands down our favorite season because we are a big nature family, and we take nets and buckets to Cherry Lawn and catch frogs and tadpoles all season, and we also love May Fair in New Canaan each Spring. We also love looking for crabs at the beaches during low tide!
Three things in New Canaan or Darien that you can’t live without & What can’t your kids live without?
Post Corner Pizza on Friday nights! The Nature Center preschool programs in both towns have been essential for my boys and I! I can’t recommend them enough for moms considering preschools. They let kids be kids and really nurture a love and admiration for nature, which I think is so important!
Which are your favorite spots for beauty and pampering in New Canaan or Darien? OR What’s the best way to relax and unwind in New Canaan or Darien?
Lanphier Spa is my favorite place for a great massage.
What’s your favorite restaurant in town for a family date? Night out with friends? Romantic evening? Why?Family date is either Post Corner Pizza, Shake Shack, Hibachi Sushi Ya or Tequila Mockingbird. All fun for the kids, and family friendly. The rare date night without the kids- ELM or South End in New Canaan. Drinks with girlfriends…Uncorked. Coffee with a friend…Espresso NEAT.
What is your favorite kid-friendly recipe?
Homemade pizza! We cheat and buy the dough though….great dough is important! You can get some from a pizzeria or Whole Foods. Then add whatever toppings you love! So fun and easy, and most importantly- a crowd pleaser.
What are a few of the most recent things you’ve pinned on Pinterest and/or who do you follow on Instagram? Please provide links or tags
We’re thinking of renovating our home this Spring so I’ve been fantasizing about and pinning beautiful, bright kitchens. I love Amber Lewis of @amberinteriors…she has a very cool, clean but comfortable and approachable aesthetic. http://amberinteriordesign.com I also love Elizabeth Roberts’ amazing eye….https://www.elizabethroberts.com
I follow lots of designers, from both the fashion and interior design worlds, as well as artists on instagram. It’s a place I go for visual inspiration! I also follow many animal and nature conservationists…they post some of the most incredible animal photographs and videos, along with stories. @bbcearth is fantastic!
What has been the most difficult age with your children to date? What helped you overcome the challenges at that time?
The hardest thing so far for me has been the transition from a nature-focused preschool program to public school kindergarten, and the adjustment my older son has gone through this year. I have the luxury of being an artist who gets to be home and raise my kids…So he and I were both used to spending our days together exploring and going on adventures. We both went through a painful “mourning period” so to speak, when that time came to an end at the start of the “big kid” school year. He missed our days together, and so did I….I still do. Those first five years are so precious and I try to focus on being grateful that I was able to be present with him each day during that time rather than sad that he’s in school now. We make sure to get outside as much as we can when he’s not in school!
Best Mom Advice?
Ask for help. We tend to think we can/need to do it all. And it’s much harder to find a village these days. But create one. Grow a network of people you trust to turn to when you need a break. We can’t be our best selves if we’re burnt out. And I want my boys to get the best version of me. I learned to ask for help.
Favorite way to meet and connect with other local moms?
The playground! Local nature centers! Pick up and drop off at your child’s preschool program! Don’t bet afraid to say hello to neighbors on walks! Because I’m not originally from around here, I really had to put in effort to meet other moms and develop a circle of friends. Most of the moms I’m lucky to now call my friends I met because I made an effort! Start by planning playdates! You won’t always find a perfect “match” but you won’t ever meet other moms if you aren’t willing to put yourself out there.
What was your career before having children?
I was in publishing for a short time in NYC at Cosmopolitan Magazine, but I quickly learned I was not a city girl and started a dog walking business instead, which was a big success and satisfied my longing to be outside, moving. I did that for about seven years until I had my first son, after which I returned to my calling as an artist.
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world? Please share!
I am a tissue paper artist! I cut designs into bold, bright tissue paper in all colors and then seal it onto heavy watercolor paper. My works mostly feature scenes in nature, animals in motion, and motifs with animals and flowers as a focus. Four of my works have been made into murals for a salon in Mexico, and I’ve been featured on international art blogs such as the Jealous Curator. I’ve created almost all of my works during my younger son’s daily nap time over the last two years. And I just had my second solo opening at the Darien Nature Center!
Follow my Instagram below! @staceyelaine.art
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
The women at the Darien Nature Center have been amazingly supportive and I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to put on two shows of my works there. Its truly been a dream come true for me as an artist. My second exhibit will run at The Darien Nature Center through 2/22. There are twenty-five of my works on display and for sale there! 30% of the sale goes back to the Nature Center and all the amazing work they do!
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
I started riding horses when I was 6, and I can ride both English and Western.
The Dylan’s Candy Bar buffet at Whole Foods