Gretchen is a Newport Beach native who wisely states that having two children with two different personalities at two different stages means two different styles of parenting.
Where are you from originally?
I was born and raised right here in Orange County. I grew up in the flower streets of Corona Del Mar.
How long have you lived in Newport Beach? How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
I’ve been blessed to live in this beautiful city most of my life. I headed South to San Diego for a few years during college, followed by a couple of fun years in Los Angeles, only to come back to Newport where I’ve resided ever since. I have two little girls. Lauren, my 4 year old, is my thinker. She is resourceful, analytical, gentle, sensitive, and loyal. Chloe, my 2 year old, is my wild one. She is funny, gregarious, curious, and busy.
What are your favorite things to do with your kids in general or in town?
When we stay home, we love to have dance parties and play dress up. Play doh and coloring are big things in our house. When we aren’t home being silly, you can usually find us at the beach/pool splashing around, or at Fashion Island. At the mall the girls love chasing fishies at the koi pond, throwing coins and making wishes in the fountains, and eating ice cream. We also enjoy a ferryboat ride to the Fun Zone, cruising the harbor in a Duffy, collecting bugs and sticks at the ENC, or watermelon picking at Tanaka Farms.
What’s your favorite restaurant in town for a family date? A night out with friends? Why?
When it comes to food, we definitely have our favorite family spots. Pitfire is a crowd pleaser. Their pizza and salads are delicious, they give the kids clay, and they don’t judge you when your 2 year old is jumping and running everywhere. Some other favorites are Mi Casa, Sol, and Baja Fish Taco. Can you tell we love Mexican food?! For much deserved adult time you will find us at A’s Restaurant or Javier’s. Both have great cocktails, food, and a fun scene.
What is your favorite kid-friendly recipe?
My favorite kid-friendly recipe is probably no secret to most moms: Mac n’ cheese! I wish I could tell you, it’s this uh-mazing secret recipe from my great grandma but in truth it’s the one only and only blue box Kraft. The girls love to help me in the kitchen, so at this stage in our lives, meals are quite simple. Sandwiches, pinwheel pizzas, noodles, etc.
What is your local go-to store for children’s clothes? Yourself?
My go-store for just about everything is Target. They have the best on trend kids clothes at reasonable prices. I can’t visit without popping in the home furnishing department for a new candle or towels. Even their women’s shoe department gets me every time. I also love the Baby Gap, and I have a major weakness for matching the babes! When it comes to shopping for myself, I’m a big online shopper. I love Revolve and Shopbop.
What are your favorite events in Costa Mesa or Newport Beach?
Costa Mesa and Newport always have so many fun things to do for families and adults. In the summer we love the concerts in the park and movies in the park, the Lido boat show and farmers market to name a few.
What has been the most difficult age with your children to date? What helped you overcome the challenges at that time?
Every age has its challenges for sure. Right when I think I’m on top of my game, they change again. Two different personalities at two different stages involve different styles of parenting. I’m constantly switching gears. To overcome the challenges I try to remain calm and consistent with gentle consequences.
What is one piece of advice you would pass along to other moms?
The one piece of advice I would pass on to any mom is that there is no perfect way of doing things. There is no perfect parent. Just give your children lots of love and many things will fall into place.
What was your career before having children? If it’s the same, how do you balance career & motherhood?
I’ve been in the casino marketing industry for 13 years. Before children I worked fifty-hour weeks and traveled every month. When I became a mother, everything changed. I enjoyed my career but also missed my children. I needed to find balance. I’m an independent contractor and was able to pull back and work part-time which has been a blessing. The juggle of work life and mom life will always be a work in progress. The flexibility to have my own identity and still be there for school drop off, swim lessons, dance, etc. feels like a good balance to me.
Is there a local organization that you enjoy working with?
I’ve been involved with Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County for the past few years. They focus on ending hunger in our community. This foundation brings nourishment and hope to over 300,000 hungry people throughout Orange County. Every $1 donated provides food for 3 meals. As a mom, knowing that there are children who go to school without breakfast is heartbreaking, and this organization has definitely hit home for me. As my children grow older, I hope that we can get more involved as a family.
How do you relax and unwind?
I’m really good at staying busy. I know how to put too much on my plate and over commit. I’m not so great at relaxing and winding down. However, when I’m able to unplug and relax my night consists of wine, a bubble bath, and some girly shows.
Thank you Gretchen!