Alissa is a Newport Beach mom of a “fearless flyer” son who keeps her on her toes. When her son is in school she runs two local businesses, a kickboxing gym in North Tustin and our very own Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids in Costa Mesa.
Where are you from originally?
I am originally from Brooklyn, NY. I grew up in Bay Ridge, a small neighborhood on the south side of Brooklyn.
How long have you lived in Newport Beach? How many kids do you have?
We drove cross country in September of 2014 to move to Newport. Almost 4 Years! I have one spunky son, Thomas (Tommy), who recently turned 2.
What are your favorite things to do with your son in general or in town?
We spend a lot of time at Mother’s Beach and the new Marina Park on the Peninsula. We also go on bike rides to Balboa Island or The Wedge.
What’s your favorite restaurant in town for a family date? A night out with friends? Why?
For family spots we love Sessions Sandwiches for lunch, and El Ranchito or Massimo’s for dinner. For a date night or friends’ night out, it is hard to choose! There are so many great spots, but I would have to say 2145, Modo Mio, The Bungalow, Water Grill, or Fly-N-Fish (best happy hour ever!). My husband and I will also go grab a drink at Dory Deli from time to time.
What is your favorite kid-friendly recipe?
An almond butter and jelly sandwich (haha!). It is one of the only things my son wants to eat!
What is your local go-to store for children’s clothes? Yourself?
Most of my kiddo’s clothes come from Gap Kids or Nordstrom Rack. For myself, I love Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, Lululemon, and VICI. I live in workout clothes!
What are your favorite events in Costa Mesa or Newport Beach?
The OC Fair is so much fun. We also love the boat parade – they had an awesome event at Marina Park this year on the first night, I highly recommend it! Also, Movie Night at Marina Park, plus the Fall Festival and Easter Egg Hunt at Christ Lutheran School (my son is in preschool there).
What has been the most difficult age with your son to date? What helped you overcome the challenges at that time?
My son is a “fearless flyer” — literally. So, about 15 months until he turned 2 was extremely challenging. He had no problem running full force towards a flight of stairs, trying to jump off things, climb things, run into the middle of a street or parking lot, you name it. And he is FAST. We would say he was an adult trapped in a baby’s body; he would get very frustrated that he could not do everything my husband and I do. It was a very nerve wracking time, just wanting to keep him safe until he could understand, and we could communicate better. Knowing that it was temporary, staying grateful that he was happy and healthy, and that there were also many precious moments got me through.
What is one piece of advice you would pass along to other moms? What was the best advice your mom gave you?
What I would tell other moms is this: you are enough, you do enough, and be kind and take care of yourself. Try to let go of the “mom guilt,” we spend way too much time on it. The best advice I received from my mom is to never force a door open. If it doesn’t happen naturally, it isn’t meant to be. She also gave me the best advice through her actions that as a mom, I use every day now: always say I love you, show affection, be your child’s biggest supporter and cheerleader, and their nurse when they get sick.
What do you value most in your friends?
My closest friends are all like my sisters. They are strong women; loyal, supportive, non-judgmental, and love to laugh over a glass of wine.
What was your career before having Tommy? If it’s the same, how do you balance career & motherhood?
Before having my son, I opened one of my two businesses, CKO Kickboxing – North Tustin in March of 2015. I now have a second business, Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids – Costa Mesa, as of November 2017. I guess you could say my career has evolved and grown since having my son. There are benefits and drawbacks to being self-employed. There is a certain amount of flexibility, but the clock never really shuts off. I don’t get maternity leave. But I am my own boss. Pros and cons. To balance motherhood, my son is enrolled full time in an amazing preschool, and my mother-in-law is a great help. My husband and I are business partners, so we are a team between work and taking care of Tommy. I spend a lot of time with my son outside of the time he is at school, and try to be as present as I can be when I am with him. I try to stay off the phone and computer. This is not always successful, but works most of the time. I try to get him out of the house for a bike ride, or go to the park for a bit, so we can have some fun in between dinner and bath time.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you.
Bravo TV is my guilty pleasure!
IF and when you get time to yourself, what’s your favorite thing to do?
When I get time to myself I like to go for a long walk and meditate, get lost in a great book, or get a great workout in. Kickboxing is my therapy, and helped me through the most challenging times in life.