Meet A Houston Mom : Meet Jenny Brown the Vlogger Mama Behind Our Fantastic Five!
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in Houston?
I was born in Frankfurt, Germany and have lived in 13 different cities across 3 different countries including South Korea. Houston has been home for the last 14 years.
Child(ren) and Age(s)?
We call them the Brownies: Aaliyah (15), Adyson (12) and Averi (9)
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
During the end my sophomore year of high school I was abnormally exhausted a majority of the time and my attendance suffered because of it. We couldn’t pin point what was going on until I had a sports physical. A doctor from Chicago was filling in for the week and noticed my heart murmur during the visit. We went to see a cardiologist where he discovered a hole in the left chamber of my heart the size of a quarter. Fast forward to the summer of my junior year and it became imperative that I have open heart surgery. The procedure was successful and everyday I feel lucky to be alive.
Favorite local activities to do in Houston?
We love art! Exploring the exhibits at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Glassell School of Art are favorites of ours. We also enjoy visiting the Japanese Garden in Hermann Park. Do you have a favorite family-friendly restaurant in the area?It’s a toss up between Rice Box and Buffalo Grille for the main course. We love Rice Box for its unique neon design and futuristic vibe, not to mention the food is super delicious! Buffalo Grille is a local classic, I mean who doesn’t want oversized pancakes for dinner? For dessert we default to Tiny’s Milk and Cookies or gelato at Amorino in the River Oaks District. You can’t go wrong either way.
What local places do you go to for pampering and/or mom’s night out?
I love getting manis and pedis with my Brownies. It’s a perfect Mommy-Daughter date because we get time to talk together and we leave feeling beautiful. For a mom’s night, it has to be a concert or stand up comedy. I like to sing along at a performance or unload my laughs at a comedy routine. Retail therapy always helps too…the Container Store or shopping at the Galleria are my go-tos.
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world?
I am a Vlogger / YouTuber for our family channel: Our Fantastic Five We produce videos that are a collection of family fun and entertainment such as skits, vlogs, travel adventures, food reviews, personal stories and more! We have all different ages and interests in our house so that’s why we create a variety of videos. For example, the Lego skit video is great for younger kids while the Snack Challenge might appeal to a foodie or a family looking for a laugh. We like to mix it up.
My creative mind is always running and the channel gives me an artistic outlet with the ability to work side by side with my family. We have chalkboard walls in one of the rooms at home and they are covered with ideas and plans. This is our creative endeavor, our family project. The passion for making videos and creating content has been in our family for 4 generations. It started in the 80s with my husband’s father making movies.
I studied photography and interior design in college which prepared me for filming our videos. It helps us when we are deciding things like angles for the cameras, shooting locations, lighting and so forth. What’s new and exciting for me is learning to be in front of a lens and conquer my fear of public speaking. It’s not my natural instinct so I am enjoying that process as well as post-production when we edit, overlay music and get to see it all come together.
We just released a short documentary called ‘Back To Our Future’ that tells the story of moviemaking in our family and strengthens the connection to our past generations. We are working hard to stand out in a sea of family channels. There are not many family YouTubers representing Houston so we are jumping in and invite people to come along for a fantastic ride! Follow us on Instagram and Facebook
How has the Houston community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
Houston is the first place I really settled into. This is a big city filled with so many flavors and opportunities. My background in photography and interior design has had a major influence on my passion for aesthetics and art. Houston is a perfect city to feed my love for those things.
Houston has such a flourishing artistic community from museums to music and street art to sculptures. The people of this city inspire me with their talents. I’ve developed many special relationships through my involvement with community in the PTO at the girl’s schools, room parent responsibilities, sports leagues, mommy meet ups, youth camp leadership and so on. All of these connections have fueled me to extend myself and master my interests, to be a doer. It’s given me the confidence to pursue things with my head held high without worrying about what people on the sidelines of life think of me.
What is the best advice for juggling mommyhood and running a business (or volunteering, working, etc)?
No fear. I hesitated when I was younger, letting self-doubt make decisions and not self-confidence. Now I have the mindset of a trailblazer, just do it. The juggle never really ends, we always find something to fill our time with. The circumstances just change.
I’ve been the working Mommy multiple times and each time come back to being at home for my girls. There are so many demands on women, whether you stay at home like me or operate in a professional environment. I have learned being in both roles that I am who I am. It’s also okay to say ‘No’ to people. Our time is our most valuable commodity. We do not have to be Wonder Woman every second of the day, we’re human and need time for ourselves and our family unit. The struggle for me has been not feeling guilty for missing a social event, church function or school fundraiser: family first.
Since we began the Our Fantastic Five YouTube channel new challenges have come to life for me. Sometimes I am up earlier or go to bed later in order to make it all work. Emotionally, it means we risk criticism and people perceiving us as narcissistic because elements of our lives are now public. We are learning to have thick skin and express to our children as they learn to share without showing off. Now I am focused on teaching our girls to embrace the juggle and use their strengths to face their fears and try new things. I don’t want them or myself to look back and say, “What if…?”. All of this requires time, energy and acceptance of self for who you are. This gets me outside of my comfort zone with the goal of inspiring my daughter’s to be strong and independent.
What would you tell the old “You” before you had kids?
Stay strong and appreciate the little things. Over the years and even recently, I’ve been to numerous professional settings and introduced myself with questions about my career only to feel the eyes of judgement once I share that I am a stay at home mom with a YouTube channel on the side. I would tell my younger self to keep my head up and stay strong when others cast doubt on your potential and significance in life.
When life gets busy it’s difficult to recognize and appreciate the greatness of dinner with your spouse, your favorite song on the radio or an 8 second hug from someone you love. I would prepare my young self for what lies ahead as a mother. Enjoy the laugh of a your infant child and the play time at the park when they are a toddler. Take note of the small moments that have a lasting impact. We keep 1 hour video yearbook compilations dating back to 2003 so that when the girls are older they can remember the details of their childhood. The kids turn from infants to teenagers overnight so these private keepsakes ground us. We watch them pretty regularly and they strip away the distortion of life and simplify it down to what matters most. Watch the videos you forget about on your phone when your child did something you recorded. Go back to the times that might seem mundane, they will be missed one day. Refocus your mindset on acknowledging these small moments before they become a fading memory.
Funniest shortcut/routine for helping you through parenthood?
AirPods + Yoga. I escape to my musical world when I clean, need to focus or hope to mute the noise of the house when I need a break. Yoga is my release. I have a better balance mentally, physically and spiritually after I attend a session. I feel better about myself and come home a better person. My AirPods are a lifesaver. They are my musical earplugs sometimes and calming device at other times. I turn on music when I think I am going to lose it with my kids. I can always dance or sing myself into a better mood and my girls always love it when I dance with them…even if I can’t follow along to all the latest moves the kids are doing these days.
Support Our Fantastic Five and click the buttons below and hit that Subscribe or Follow!