Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in Houston?
- Born + raised in Cape Town, South Africa
- First stint in Houston was from 2008 for 5 years. We then spent about 15 months in Copenhagen, Denmark before returning to West University Place in January 2017
Child(ren) and Age(s)?
- Isla – 10 years (daughter)
- Kai – 8 years (son)
- Ozzie – 6 months (does the dog count?!)
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
- I LOVE to sing / hum / whistle … and will do so while working, showering, running, shopping, walking the kids to school (much to their distress!), walking the dog… really anytime!
- I HATE roller coasters. I’ve bungee jumped off Victoria Falls Bridge and been charged on foot by elephant BUT roller coasters are by far my least favorite…
Favorite local things to do in Houston? We love our local parks plus the many creative spaces + experiences to be found in Houston. And Tex-Mex has to get a shout-out.
Do you have a favorite family-friendly restaurant in the area? We don’t have one ‘go to’ restaurant and often cook at home or with friends (my husband is a great cook!) That being said, each of us seems to have local favorites: Isla – Kata Robata, Kai – Hop Doddy and Little Matt’s (it’s close!) and myself + Kurt – likely Cafe Rabelais + Tiny’s No 5
What is your go-to activity for yourself for pampering or for fun? I enjoy reading and listening to PodCasts whether it’s full focus me-time or in between client calls + kid activities… I’m also happiest outside whether walking, running or on safari (that’s my best kind of fun!).
Funniest shortcut/routine for helping you through parenthood? Music is my family’s morning “mood regulator”… if we all need a dose of energy + happiness to tackle the day ahead, we crank-up the likes of Bruno Mars, Maroon 5 and other upbeat tunes. If there’s a busy day ahead and everyone could use focus + a calm spirit, we look to the likes of James Taylor and classical music. The artists’ change, but the sentiment is the same.
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world? Please share! I am the co-founder and owner of Travel Artistry Africa, a travel company that designs bespoke trips throughout Southern Africa, East Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands.
My day-to-day includes planning honeymoon trips, family vacations and adventure-laden journeys in exciting places like Rwanda, Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa. It’s a passion project, as Africa is my heart’s home and I remain wholly connected with the continent and her people through my business.
Our best family vacations have been in Africa, with our most recent safaris in Kenya and Tanzania, and this summer again in South Africa. My kids love being in the bush – and I love that they disconnect from technology and schedules – and have met incredible people through our travels. Walking with Maasai in Kenya and following a wild dog hunt in Tanzania are just 2 examples of the unique experiences we’ve had together. Travel Artistry Africa has offices in Houston, Franklin Lakes NJ and Cape Town South Africa. We are a referral-based company and work directly with our suppliers throughout Africa (lodges / hotels / guides / restaurants etc.)
How has Houston and its community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
- Incredible friendships that have seen us settle, leave and return again, only to feel as if we’ve never left
- An ease of life – services freely available for families with Rice Village, the Medical Center, Museum District and all surrounding family programs and facilities – which has made being a working Mom that much easier
- The diversity and international flair of West University Place and Houston, in general, lends itself to being a community that values travel and new experiences, and hence my travel business has benefited from our city location
What is the best advice for juggling mommyhood and running a business (or volunteering, working, etc)?
- Seek work-life satisfaction ahead of work-life balance. Very few things in life are perfectly balanced and striving for the unattainable is stressful, demoralizing and just plain “no fun”. I’ve had to hear this message over-and-over to truly understand that satisfaction shows-up when you’re not trying to be perfect but instead are seeking fulfillment and celebrating all stages of life and career.
- Say no. It’s OK to not be available to everyone and everything. You can only do so much!
- Find your ‘Mom Squad’ – other Moms who understand the adventure that is parenting + being a working Mom – and share, engage, support, ask for help!
What would you tell the old “You” before you had kids?
Be fully present in each stage of life. Live large and love hard (yourself + others). Have faith always!