Photo Credit: Jennifer Smith of Burrow + Thistle
Marissa is a mom of two who runs an event planning company with her best friend and says she has finally learned to ask for help.
Where are you from originally?
I’m originally from a little city in LA County – La Mirada. I loved growing up there! I remember riding horses and fishing for crawdads in the creek by our house! Summers were so magical as a kid.
How long have you lived in Costa Mesa or Newport Beach? How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
I moved to Newport about 12 years ago. I met the hubs there working at the Starbucks on Lido. He was a customer and I had a mega crush on him haha. He asked me out for tea and the rest is history! 2 years later with our pup Spicolli, we moved “up the hill” to Costa Mesa where we purchased our home in the Westside. We absolutely love the amazing community of people we have around us! We have a full house: 1 dog Chica, a chicken, and 2 kiddos, Finn, 5 months of pure sweetness and smiles, and Kaia, 21 months who likes to keep us on our toes. She’s definitely our little fearless adventurer!
What are your favorite things to do with your kids in general or in town?
We are an “outdoorsy” type of family. We love the Fairview Junction Train which is especially pretty in spring with all the wild flowers growing. Also, riding bikes and walking through Canyon Park. It’s so awesome to watch how it changes with the seasons. My husband loves our little garden. It has been fun to have our daughter become interested in it. I can’t wait to see the excitement when she gets to pick the cherry tomatoes.
Name 3 things in town you can’t live without.
1- Beach – any and every season, coffee and croissant from Seaside Donuts in winter, Charlie’s Chili on warmer mornings
2- Bike rides through Canyon Park, especially for Concerts in the Park during July!
3- Outpost Kitchen – We love to walk there, grab coffee, breakfast, and head to the park for Kaia to run around!
What’s your favorite restaurant in town for a family date? A night out with friends? Why?
El Ranchito with the kiddos because it’s walking distance, Kaia loooves the soup, and the best part is the kids can play on the turf just to the side of the patio while we enjoy our margaritas! Causal dinner with friends at 2145 because their pizza is amazing, and of course it’s walkable so the party can always come back to our house!
What is your favorite kid-friendly recipe?
Current favorite is a cauliflower alfredo with zucchini noodles topped with chicken! It’s so easy and Kaia gobbles it up. I’m sure Finn will too once he is old enough!
What is your local go-to store for children’s clothes? Yourself? Furniture?
We do a lot of recycle, reduce, reuse – we are lucky to have a ton of hand-me-downs and I buy a lot of gender neutral so they can both wear it; band tees are always cool! If I buy, it is H&M, Cat and Jack at Target, or whatever is easy, but sometimes I like to splurge on holiday outfits because it’s fun to get all dressed up from time to time. Shopping for myself? Oh geez – jeans and tee. I probably have 20 different black shirts. I love vintage anything that can go with that. If I had the time to go shopping for clothes or furniture it would for sure be the Rose Bowl Flea Market, Long Beach Flea Market and Goodwill…seriously I LOVE VINTAGE and the hunt for it, luckily so does the hubs.
What are your favorite events in Costa Mesa or Newport Beach?
Concerts in the Park in July over at Fairview Park off Placentia, Fish Fry, the OC Fair! Can’t wait to ride bikes to the fair with the kiddos!
Do you have a favorite destination for family trips? Why?
We have yet to take our first trip as a family of four. Kaia has been a great little traveler and the three of us went to France last year which was so special. Recently we have been talking about our first camping trip, possibly this summer, but it’s going to be a challenge with 2 littles! Camping is so special for Scott and I. The first big trip we did together was up the California coast camping for a week. We did the same trip right after we got married and we can’t wait to do it again with Kaia and Finn as they grow up.
Name a favorite book? What’s it about/brief description?
Oh I just finished Girl Stop Apologizing and I am obsessed! (Audio of course because I definitely don’t have the time to sit down and leisurely enjoy reading haha.) I found every minute of her book relatable especially her take on motherhood and working. She addresses self doubt, ambition, having a strong sense of self, the list goes on! I would say the biggest takeaway for me was to ask for help. I have always had a problem with this. I don’t realize I need it until I’m in a deep hole. I have found recently with my son being in and out of CHOC that I need help. Saying those words are huge and this book really helped me to understand it’s ok to accept and ask for help…it TOTALLY takes a village!
What has been the most difficult age with your children to date? What helped you overcome the challenges at that time?
Most difficult for me personally was the newborn/baby stage. The hardest part about this stage is that it’s all a guessing game and trying new things to see what works best. My mom tribe has been essential for sure in addressing problems. A different POV is so essential, especially because it’s easy to get stuck in a rut.
What is one piece of advice you would pass along to other moms? What was the best advice your mom gave you?
Find your tribe, if you don’t have one create one!! There are soo many moms that are in the same boat and it always helps to know I’m not alone. I am lucky enough to have molded my mom tribe from close friends and friends of friends! There is also online communities that are great as well! There are so many struggles in every stage and they are not going to end any time soon.
Another piece of advice that has been said over and over, and even by my mom, geared mostly towards moms of 2 but I think it applies to all moms, especially working mamas: the laundry will always be there, the dishes will be there, but your little one will NEVER care if it gets folded OR IF THE HOUSE ISN’T CLEAN. They remember you coloring with them, reading their favorite book, and the love and attention they get is measured in quality not quantity!!! If I can even just carve out 10 quality interrupted minutes in the AM to play with my daughter she is soo happy. Sometimes it’s all I can give her in a day because baby brother is a little demanding at the moment. But setting this achievable goal for myself has helped us both tremendously and allowed me to let go of the major mom guilt I can feel from time to time.
What do you most value in your friends?
I take a lot of pride in the friends I have. They are THE BEST OF THE BEST EVERRRR. We are all in different stages of our life but I admire the unconditional support and love we all have for one another. I think we are all so different and compliment one another so well. They inspire me to dream big, work hard and I know I have them to lean on, no doubt. We have recently made it a point to have girls nights 1-2x a month. Nothing elaborate, just catch up, relax, leave the kids at home, and a bottle or 2 of wine. It’s like our form of therapy. I highly encourage all mamas to do this because it’s easy to get lost in the day to day.
What was your career before having children? If it’s the same, how do you balance career & motherhood?
My bestie and I have an Event Design business – Rho/220. We are heading into almost 4 years of business together. We were recently featured on Southern CA Bride for our styled shoot at Costa Mesa’s newest wedding venue The Harper OC! Allison and I are both moms, she actually just welcomed her 2nd a few weeks ago! Both of us being supportive of one another has been essential and vital to our success. I work a lot at nap time and late nights. It will definitely continue to get easier once Kaia is in preschool which will be very soon!
I want my kids to know I love them and I want childhood to be magical for them so we play and explore everyday! I want to instill in them the value of hard work. I want them to know that they have parents who do not believe in gender roles in the home or workplace. Most importantly I want to raise KIND little beings, kindness and a smile translate the same in every country.
Anything else you want to add?
I think as women, when we get older, our circles become smaller, but with that, more meaningful, especially as moms. This is great when you have found your lady gang and I really truly want every mom to have that. I know that it can be especially difficult for women who move here to find their people. If any mom reading this wants to meet up for coffee or a play date, please reach out to me and email me [firstname.lastname@example.org]. I get moms together on the regular to walk back bay or picnic at the park and the way I always see it-the more the merrier!