What makes you stop and stare at an Instagram image? For me it’s usually something with a touch of whimsy – the color, styling or simply a cool kid wearing fruit on her head. Babiekins Magazine delivers all that and a bag a
Babiekins creators value high-end aesthetic for fashion and all things kiddos. That doesn't mean that the content is stiff and contrived, on the contrary it radiates a Southern Californian vibe that reflects a carefree spirit and an element of playfulness.
So who is behind these pages? The lead creatives of this inspirational and refreshingly quirky kids magazine are mothers/style-seekers/travelers/trendsetters/party-goers/truth-tellers/dreamers Priscila Barros and Gina Munsey. Two ladies who look through the photographic lense with a love for life and wide eyes. Priscila acts as Editor-in-Chief and the creative director/stylist behind all those jaw-dropping images. While Gina, the publication's Senior Editor and writer weaves the words that honor the essence of those fabulous images. And the fact that they do it unabashedly with their kids right alongside for the ride is something all too familiar and truly authentic about how us momprenuers get things done. And done with brilliant results.
Currently, they roll out two issues a year and are sold in U.S. stores Barnes & Noble or Books-a-Million and select Target and Stater Bros. stores and of course on their website.
Q & A : With Priscila Barros and Gina Munsey by Lisa Janvrin
From coast-to-coast and page-to-page, these two crazy kids bring us youthful inspiration
Q: How did you two meet?
PRISCILA: We actually have never really even met before, which is totally funny. Even with that being said, I would consider Gina one of my best friends. We speak daily about work, family and life and she has encouraged me so much throughout my time at Babiekins. As far as working together…she emailed Babiekins with some examples of her writing. I asked if she could send an article about being a mom, and asked her to make it light and funny. From that day I was hooked, and Gina has been the instrumental voice behind Babiekins ever since.
GINA: We text, email, iMessage, Facebook message, collaborate in private Facebook groups, co-edit Google documents, screen-share on Skype, and send carrier pigeons, screenshots and animated GIFs to each other approximately twenty-five hours per day.
Q: Where were you and what were you doing when you decided to combine your talents? (Vibrant visuals with storytelling)
PRISCILA: I think it was a combo of things. Gina is so talented and her writing is just magic that there was no way to not have her part of the team.
GINA: I had just had my daughter, who’s five now, and had moved from the West Coast to the East Coast. I’d recently ended a career in data analysis, and wanted to return to writing, my life-long love. Priscila posted on the Babiekins Facebook page that she was looking for a short story to complete a digital issue, and I knew I could do that. I don’t even remember my first submission, but it was rejected – so I literally kept emailing her different options until she liked what I’d written. Ha ha! After that, I emailed some unsolicited suggested changes for the website, too -- not a technique I recommend to everyone – but we’re basically inseparable now.
Q: Can you walk us through your process for developing an issue of Babiekins?
PRISCILA: The process is a never-ending one, to be honest. We start out with a
mood board of colors, pictures, trends and specific themes we want to see in the next print issue. For this upcoming summer issue – which is so full of color! – our mood board was full of tropical fruits and plants, 70s vibes and graphics. All those things helped guide us in creating the crafts, stories and parties that you will see in our next issue.
GINA: Write, edit, re-write, edit, proof, shorten, proof, proof, proof, panic and pray. I don’t think anyone has idea how many hundreds and hundreds of hours go into each issue – or how much time goes into a single blog post or Instagram shout-out!
Q: What trends in kids fashion would you like to see translated into interiors for kids’ spaces?
PRISCILA: For me, I think children are colorful beings, so I am not a huge fan of black and white and minimal. It’s unpractical, and not very childlike. I love to incorporate anything that makes me happy, or that would make my children laugh, when I’m designing a room. I tend to like quirky accessories, and pops of color!
GINA: I hesitate to call it a trend because it’s unequivocally not but I’m a big believer in incorporating world culture into interior design. I designed a global explorer’s room a few issues back, and pulled in influences not just from kids’ decor shops, but from around the world. For example, a doll a friend brought back from Kenya, a colorful strand of mirrors and bells originally meant to decorate a camel, embroidery from Guatemala, a bright pillow made from Hmong textiles, Japanese and Chinese books, and row of tiny matryoshka illustrations depicting the traditional dress of several different cultures. I’d
like to see more emphasis put on items with personal meaning and significance, and less emphasis put on items which are merely design for design’s sake.
Q: You’ve created the most stylish, colorful lifestyle images for your site. Is this a design aesthetic that you have used to design your own home interiors as well?
PRISCILA: Oh yes! It’s funny because I usually don't have a rhyme or reason for anything I design. I pick things up in my day-to-day travels, and collect items I find at thrift shops, flea markets and estate sales. I like to add quirky toys and accessories to children's rooms. I recently bought a huge vintage piggy bank that I am wanting to use in a kiddo’s room. I like items that speak to me when I walk into a room, and there is nothing more fun then an item with a history of its own.
GINA: A home comes to life when the items in it have meaning. If the items are just chosen based only on what the trend forecasters said you should buy that year, there’s not much life in it. There has to be soul behind it. Many of the interior spaces featured in the print edition of Babiekins Magazine are actually real-life spaces from Priscila’s home and my home. For me, styling interiors comes more naturally than styling clothing. I’m the girl who owns more area rugs than pairs of jeans, and even when I surf the internet, I tend to gravitate more towards interiors inspiration than fashion.
Q: What tips are you willing to share about styling one’s surroundings so that it’s beautiful, functional and affordable?
PRISCILA: I like buying things like baskets which can be filled with toys, laundry, and blankets. I also love to fill a child’s room up with books. I’m not much of a reader I admit, but I am inspired so much by the vintage children stories and illustrations. A cute tip would be to organize a child’s books by color. This makes it pleasing to the eye and injects a little unexpected fun and color into any corner. Also I tend to do colorful sheets, or something with a quirky image, and then a white duvet. I then bring in color through pillows and throw blankets. I think parents shouldn’t ever pick a theme for their children’s rooms, but rather just collect things that represent their child the best and tie it together with the colors that you pick.
GINA: My mother taught me that anything can be made beautiful through a
combination of cleaning and contentment, which is really so true. And one doesn’t need to have a large budget in order to decorate a pleasant, lovely home. One practical tip is to choose a few colors, and stick to them. Not only does it keep a space from looking haphazard, it also helps you focus when bargain-hunting. In my kitchen, not many of my dishes match, but they’re all a gorgeous variation of cobalt blue, and it works so well together.
Q: As mom’s who are working and raising children - how do you find peace with the quality time you spend on each, work and life? Or are they one in the same?
PRISCILA: To be completely transparent, this is a struggle and I think it’s a struggle for all moms. I think a big thing for me, personally, is to put my phone down when I’m with my three boys. Its so easy to get distracted by emails, people asking questions on social media etc. I want my kids to know they are, and always be, more important than my work. Putting my phone down so I can give them – and only them – attention has been very important. We also are big on doing something all together on the weekend. I have had to learn
that I couldn’t check a quick email or jump on the computer without getting
completely sucked in – so we have decided to not even touch the computer on the weekends. It’s really helped me as well as far as balancing time, and also feeling like I actually have down time.
GINA: Balance is less of an art and more of an intentional battle, I think. One principle which has transformed my life is simply the concept of boundaries, and letting go of any guilt that might pop up when I insist on sticking to working hours and commit to leaving the weekend open for my family.
Q: Who is your go to home furnishing or décor brand when looking for pieces for the kids spaces?
PRISCILA: I totally love The Land Of Nod because they are affordable and work with smaller brands.
GINA: I end up at IKEA, every time. I love to think outside of the children’s department, too. It’s so fun to pull things intended for a different part of the house and use them in kids’ spaces instead!
Q: What's next for Babiekins
PRISCILA: So far this year, we have really tried to do more events and trade shows. In the future, we would love to put together a fun party event so that parents, children and everyone in between can come hang out with us all and have fun. We are thinking possibly New Year’s Eve, as it has always been a struggle for me as a parent to be able to do something that family-friendly and FUN for both me and my kiddos! How fun would a dance party, fun food, crafts, and maybe a pop-up shop be?!
Q: Share a day in the life of you...(Just one of you. Please share specific details about your morning, day and night. Format: like Harper Bazaar’s “designer’s life by numbers”
GINA: 7:30 a.m. // I married a former barista, so I usually wake up to the sound of coffee beans being ground by hand. (Hey, there’s a reason he was the barista, not I.) If I don’t want to wait for the French Press, I actually have a coffee maker on my bedside table. As long as I remember to add grounds and water the night before, just one flip of a switch I feel like I’m a hotel. I drink my coffee slowly. I’m not a morning person, so five golden stars to those of you who are reading this and saying “Seven thirty?! I’ve already been up for four hours by that time!” 8:30 a.m. // I’m constantly trying to fight against the tyranny of the urgent, and carefully guard margin in my life. This is not to say I don’t work hard – but I intentionally segment it out so that when I’m working, I’m working, and when I’m not, I’m fully in the moment. I’m fortunate – really fortunate! – to be able to work from home, but along with that comes the temptation to be “always on”. Priscila and I talk about this a lot. Anyway, at 8:30 we all eat breakfast, often listening to some audio Bible passages during this time, too. (Don’t worry. It’s not all idyllic. This morning my 5-year-old stuck her foot in her cereal bowl and made the Great Wave of Coconut Milk all over her hair, book, and seat cushion, because the mystery she was reading
was “just so good, mom!”) 9:30 a.m. // After starting laundry and cleaning the kitchen, I settle in to my workspace (which was featured in the Babiekins Issue 7!) My daughter sits down next to me at her piano keyboard and starts going through each assignment on the week’s music homework checklist, while I check my mail and read through the messages and images I’ve missed on our Babiekins Editors group chat. Our team spans several time zones, so often messages come in overnight while I’m sleeping, and non-stop throughout the day. We talk about the editorials which were submitted that day, update each other on where we are on project timelines, send screenshots from new
lookbooks which catch our eye, and plan out all the details of photo shoots, editorials and features we have in the pipeline. While I’m less of a visual stylist and more of a word nerd, our team is SO talented when it comes to visual imagery. Our group chat is like a tiny little factory of inspiration and ideas. I love it. And actually, there’s a whole section on our website where you can read more about each of these incredible women! http://babiekinsmag.com/meet-the-editors/ 10:30 a.m. // I think it’s a little bit crazy that I have a 5-year-old who sings and plays for almost an hour every morning, but she loves it so much, who am I to argue? After putting away the piano books, we’ll have a quick piece of fruit or a homemade gluten-free muffin and some kefir, and I’ll make more coffee. (Hey, we love snacks and coffee. A lot.) I work for another half-hour on Babiekins work – often emails or working on promoting brands for Babiekins Media, the PR agency we also run – while my daughter practices Chinese on the “Mango” or “Gus on the Go” apps. At this point in the day, I put aside the Babiekins work and teach math, history, science
and reading. (Oh yes, did I mention I also homeschool?) 12:30 p.m. // Food! Glorious food – often leftovers from last night’s dinner. 1:00 p.m. // Usually by this point in the day, the editors on our team (Priscila, Leslie, Kelly, Elizabeth, Liz and Brittany) will have identified any crucially urgent fires we need to put out immediately, and I’ll give those my attention while my daughter simultaneously reads and somersaults all over the LEGO bricks scattered across the rug. (I can not keep this one in books. Honestly.) A lot of what Priscila and I do on a day-to-day basis involves PR and branding. We work with brands across the children’s industry and around the world, listening to
their vision and purpose, and then help make sure the brand identity is
communicated to consumers in a fresh and competitive way. With my background in marketing and copywriting, I’ll look over the brand as a whole, often updating and refreshing product descriptions and “About Us” paragraphs so every bit of text speaks with a seamless, recognizable voice. Priscila is a profoundly talented creative director, and amazes me every day with her perspective. She helps instruct brands on exactly which steps to take with photos and lookbooks, so that every single image conveys the brand voice visually. And another big part of our day, other than outreach and obtaining press coverage for brands, is coaching. We’re available to our clients
via email, text, WhatsApp, and scheduled Skype audio calls, so they always have someone to bounce decisions off of. Speaking of bouncing, that’s a good description for my daughter, so we’re off for some sunshine or a bike ride – or the grocery store or library – before finishing up the rest of her school assignments for the day. If it’s raining (we live in the subtropics, so we’re no stranger to rain) then I’ll put on a Chinese dance DVD for her and she can
get the wiggles out that way. Each weekend we’re at the local Chinese community center for her Chinese language class, and she takes Chinese folk dance too. There’s nothing she likes more than preparing to be on stage. Well, maybe encyclopedias. If there’s a career that blends being the center of attention and talking about random facts, she’d be a perfect match.
3:00 p.m. // I hit a brick wall every day at this time -- my three-o’clock slump.
Midweek, we’ll pack books and snacks (are you sensing a theme here?) and head downtown to the local performing arts center for Yamaha music class.
6:30 p.m. // Dinner! Usually, this is prepared while texting Priscila about Babiekins. (True confessions. Multitasking at it’s best.) A current family favorite is a bowl of noodles, which doesn’t take long to make especially if I remembered to put chicken in the crockpot earlier in the day. I scoop
some of the broth into a saucepan, then add lots and lots of fresh garlic, soy sauce (I use a soy-free coconut-based one), fish sauce, toasted sesame oil, and Korean hot chili powder. After the broth is simmering, I add fresh rice noodles (Trader Joe’s has the best ones in the refrigerated section!), bok choy and green onions, and then stir in cooked shredded chicken from the crockpot at the end. 7:30 p.m. // Time for a whirlwind kitchen clean-up while getting the little girl to bed. She reads about 190,389 books every night, not counting the ones she reads during the day. The thing that cracks me up the most is that she’s always hauling encyclopedias to bed with her too. Microscopic views of cells, anyone? 8:00 p.m. // After putting her to bed, I usually relax in the living room and catch up with my friends over text for a bit. The silence is incredibly refreshing. If there’s a deadline around the corner, I’ll do a bit of editing or writing – there is always, always something to edit for Babiekins – or I’ll read a book, usually a memoir. (Someday, I keep telling myself, I’ll write my own.) This is also when my husband, who’s an artist in the video game industry, sits down to get a couple more hours’ worth of solid work on whichever personal side project he’s currently working on. We talk and share about our day during this time, and just generally begin to unwind. I make it a point not to reply to any more emails. 10:00 p.m. // My husband and I remind each other stop to working around ten. More often than not, we’ll eat snacks (I’m partial to cold cereal) while watching an episode or two of a Korean drama. I find the aesthetic incredibly inspiring and trendsetting, and am pretty much addicted to the Drama Fever website. Right now we’re in the middle of “Bubblegum”. If I don’t intentionally relax before bed with some non-intense viewing, I can’t turn my brain off and don’t get enough sleep. 11:30 p.m. / Midnight // Time to sleep, and do it all over again tomorrow!
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