The master of self-care on time saving apps, daily rituals plus the importance of being a working mom
by Colleen Crivello
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Refreshingly real, Simone and her business are nothing short of aspirational. Built on the idea of slowness, self-care and taking the time to appreciate the small moments in our lives, she’s built her brand and lifestyle with an inherently artful and meditative approach – a testament to the woman herself in a time when so much relies on trends and hurried concepts.
Therefore, seeing as we’re big on self-care here at MM, it seemed only fitting when thinking about such that we’d turn to Simone to let us in on the little things we can do each day as mamas to feel great.
Brimming with intent, Simone talks to us about the growth of her brand, managing her business while being a mom, integrating mindful moments into our days full of distractions, devices, & demands plus why she swears by time saving apps like Instacart and Evernote @simoneleblanc
On what you do:Founder and CEO of specialty gifting company, Simone LeBlanc. We offer a tight edit of pre-curated, specialty gift boxes and custom gifts built around moments, storytelling, and meaningful ways to connect. We get to make people feel loved, thought of, inspired. What’s better than that?
Important for your daughter to grow-up with her mom working?For me, yes. My business is an important part of our family lives and my self-fulfillment, so, as Lillian gets older, her understanding the intentional balance that we create as a family to support our family and careers is important. This is a multifaceted topic and one my husband and I talk about often – where are we today and where are we headed with our ‘roles’ in the family. Most importantly, I want Lillian to see both of her parents as fulfilled.
Key to maintaining your business & being equally present at work and with your child?People often talk about how productive you become after having a child – how you delegate better and are more decisive because you have less time. In some ways, I agree as your ego and priorities shift dramatically, and you tend to define goals in a new way. However, I think it’s a bit unfair to women, in general, to talk about ‘efficiency and decisiveness’ after becoming a Mom – as there are so many emotional and physical adjustments that can take time for the fog to clear. I’m interested in shifting the conversation more towards preparation for the challenges that may come, and how women can prepare for them. To answer your question specifically; time management is the most important thing. Learn new tools to schedule your life – use apps to automate as much as you can – because there is no extra time. Try and create consistency with your schedule and availability for your team, so you don’t have to manage additional emails, texts, inquiries. And – be very okay with saying no to opportunities for a certain period!
Key to maintaining your marriage between running your business and raising your daughter?Balance, which involves practice. I have to be consistent with the practice, or the boundaries will blur. Practically for me, this means decisiveness at work, knowing when to engage whom, and knowing when to say no. It means shutting down the day when I’m home and making time for the small, little moments of life that build the big picture of us as a family. Being present with family is essential. A practice of self-care and replenishment and time together with my husband away from home are so important as well.
Find inspiring in other women and mothers? Vulnerability, strength, sisterhood, authenticity.
A typical day:During the week it’s an early morning wake up, a little time in the garden with delicious coffee, and prep for Lillian’s pre-school. My husband and I alternate dropping her off at school, and then I head to work for team meetings followed by whatever the day may bring. The week typically brings a multitude of things, either working from the studio, taking meetings, meeting with our fabricators or in a photo shoot. I head home around 5 to meet Lillian for dinner, an evening walk or play date. After Lillian is in bed, my husband and I will then either eat together, catch up on our day or watch our current favorite show – whatever feels right depending on the type of day we’ve had. Throughout the week, I mix in yoga, a night out, etc.. And the weekends are filled with mini family excursions, friend gatherings and the like.
Daily rituals?A quiet step outdoors into our garden when I wake up. My husband has created a vegetable and flower garden for us and staying connected to nature is so important for me in the little ways that I can. I step outdoors to stretch, take a breath and just have a moment. Then, it’s game on. At night, I stay up later than everyone else and make sure I get a few minutes to myself when the house is quiet in order to clear my mind.
Vital for women to nourish themselves in order to be better leaders and mothers?Absolutely. I am a much better Mom, wife, leader, friend – everything. I now take this very seriously as I have seen how ‘running on empty’ can lead to bad decision making, negative thinking, indecisiveness. Nourishment is essential. 7 hrs of sleep or more, yoga a few times a week, healthy eating – that’s the core of my strong foundation.5 simple tips in order to carve out valuable “me-time”:You’re so kind – thank you. I make time for self-care – it’s essential to cultivating vision and a fulfilling life and as we know, not always easy to manage.
Technology shutdown.I put my phone in a drawer when I’m home and need focus time. Inevitably, a text will come through or something will pop up so I put it out of sight to avoid going on autopilot and reaching for it, which is a time suck. This helps me stay present and be more efficient with what’s in front of me. I use my time better this way and can have more ‘me – time’ as a result.
Sunday night check in.Sunday night, once Lillian is down, my husband and I check in on what the week ahead looks like. We make sure calendars are aligned in regards to events, birthdays, work engagements – whatever is required in the week ahead.Connecting like this helps minimize the management of the week ahead, allowing more bandwidth for me time.
Distil the communication.I’m all about less is more in this regard. Keeping workflow and emails concise and to the point is so important – find ways to turn an email into 1-2, rather than 3-4.
Limit social engagements. I try to minimize my social engagements during the work week. Right now in my life, I’m best when I’m rested and rejuvenated, and that means being very realistic about how little free time I have right now. I love a good dinner, event and night out – but keeping them limited helps with the big picture.
Time-saving Apps. I use a stable of apps to help with time management. Instacart, Evernote, Tripit, Lastpass. There are some great ones out there that can contribute to cut out the little things that eat up your time.
Best gift you’ve ever been given?My daughter Lillian of course! As far as an object, a porcelain miniature ceramic boot with grosgrain ribbon from 1890’s France. It’s the first gift my husband gave to me right when we met. He was compelled to bring it to me against the advice of the shopkeeper and everyone around him. It was not your typical gift. When I opened the box, I couldn’t believe it. Unbeknownst to him, I collected miniature shoes – from France. I knew then that my life was about to take an entirely different direction with this person, and quickly.
Significance of a gift?Gifts are an exchange – an emotional connection between two people that convey what words cannot. They are messages that can bring people together and build relationships. I love every layer of the experience as it’s a cyclical evolution of relationships.
Best no-brainer “go-to” gift?OurJoyful Morning Giftbox is the essential crowd pleaser. It works every time, for so many occasions.
5 discoveries you’re obsessing over right now:For my bath, I love Palermo Body. They have a gorgeous, simple, natural collection that is perfectly edited. We carry their products in some of our gift boxes, and I’m always so happy when they’re en route to someone as a gift. I also love May Lindstrom’s products for face and body, as well as Tata Harper for face products. True Botanicals has an incredible body lotion, and Clary has a fantastic multi use balm that I use for my hands and lips.
What’s your skincare routine in the morning and night?It’s so incredibly simple. Cleanse and moisturize at night, sunblock in the morning. I use Tata Harper, May Lindstrom, and John Masters.
Number one beauty secret?Water, rest, yoga.
What’s a typical day of eating?I make sure to have sustenance throughout the day. I have a small, simple breakfast that has protein, a healthy lunch and honestly, a pretty simple dinner. I want my food to work for my body and count, so I tend to go for snacks like apples, cashews, yogurts – pick me ups that are easy, healthy, and don’t take up too much time.
Do you workout?I love a hot Ashtanga flow class or a hike in the early morning – preferably in the fog.
What makes you feel sexy?Self-care. When I feel rested and replenished, I feel the self-love and that’s where it all starts.
One tip:Cultivate your inner world and build a beautiful friendship with your intuition. Learn the tools to observe your mind so you can use your wisdom to guide you. These are innate tools that we have as women, and now more than ever, strengthening these practices to integrate with our modern world of distractions, devices, and demands are so important.