Playdate 05 | Eva Kolenko at Fish

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Hi friends, happy Monday! Hope you all enjoyed your weekend. Today, I’m back with another playdate! Sorry it took awhile from the last one, but in between babies’ nap times and busy schedules, playdates are not easy to arrange. But whenever we do get together, it’s always a fun time.

I’m so excited for today’s guest. She’s an amazing photographer, cool mom and a great friend, Eva Kolenko! We met when our daughters, Hadley (my baby) & Parker (Eva’s baby), were about 2 months old. They are just five weeks apart and Eva was one of the first moms I met after having Hadley. We met up for coffee and decided to do something fun together. Eva was actually the one who encouraged me to start a playdate series and she was the photog behind the lense for my first three playdates. So, I need to THANK her big time for it! She was incredible – holding a camera with one hand, while holding Parker with the other. Talk about a super mom! So this time, I decided to turn the playdate back on her.

Eva took me over to Fish at Sausalito for some fresh and sustainable seafood and pasta! I can’t believe I’ve never been and was so excited to discover another cool kid-adult-friendly spot just 20 mins outside of SF. We had such a fun afternoon hanging out with the kiddos and catching up. Eva is really inspiring as a career-driven mom and I’m so appreciative of her thoughtful insights to our Q&A. Many thanks to Ashley Batz for capturing these beautiful moments as well! Read on and hope you enjoy! xo Jeanne

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SST: Where is a favorite spot you like to go with your baby and why? EK:
We just moved to Novato, so my fav thing to do with Parker right now is go for walks exploring our new neighborhood. If Parker is craving some sandbox time there is an awesome playground near by called Miwok Park or if we are in the mood for more of a hike with the dog there are a ton of great trails within a 5 min. drive. I feel a little spoiled to live in a place with such an abundance of nature. I grew up in a very similar neighborhood and always envisioned raising kids somewhere they can easily connect with the natural world. I feel a deep connection with environment inspires creativity, self awareness, and confidence.

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SST: What’s the most challenging part to running your photography business and being a mom to Parker? EK: There are a lot of challenges, it’s really hard to name just one, but as a freelance photographer one of the most challenging aspects of my career is how unpredictable my schedule is, making the logistics of baby care complicated. Some days I have the luxury of just being mom, other days I have super early call times and am working 10-12-14hrs. As I type this I am in flight, on my way to a 9 day shoot in Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, and Detroit. I think I’m about to experience the most challenging thing of all … and extended trip away from my my kiddo. I cried last night while packing and I’m sure I’ll cry every night after our face time sessions. Like most career driven moms I want it all… mom time, me time, wife time, plus a solid career. The universal challenge is maintaining a balance. I think it’s impossible to have it all, all at once… A good hair day, a happy kiddo in clean clothes (not pajamas), a husband with a belly full of home cooking, all the emails answered, an updated blog/website, the weeds in the garden picked, new clients on the horizon, invoices paid and sent… But if all these aspects are averaged over the time frame of a month there is a possibility for balance. Maybe it’s just a matter of zooming out a bit to the bigger picture, it’s all there.

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SST: Where do you go for tips/advice for motherhood and parenting? EK: My mother! She has been an incredible resource for me. When I was pregnant I did a ton of reading. Reading was my coping mechanism for dealing with the massive changes coming my way becoming a first time mom. I read about everything from birthing to parenting, but as it turns out all the stuff that really resonated with me was exactly how I remember my mom parenting my sisters and I. Go figure. Whenever Parker is going through some tough changes we have a little trouble shooting session. So helpful. I’m also part of a really rad mom group. If you are hesitant to join a mom group, cause they sound lame or something, don’t be! There is prob a cooler mom group around than you think, and if there isn’t one… You probably aren’t the only one that is craving some support from like-minded ladies, so start one yourself!

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SST: Do you own a diaper bag? If so, which one do you use or recommend?EK: I do, and I love it, but it’s a one of a kind custom bag made by local Oakland designer Ali Golden. If it was available I’d recommend it to everyone. It looks like a normal bag, but has a couple key features . If it was available I’d recommend it to everyone. It looks like a normal bag, but has a couple key features Electronic Cigarettes that Volume Pills I think make it super functional as a diaper bag, namely extra hardware that hooks the bag to any stroller or shopping cart. Beyond convenient!

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SST: Your favorite baby gadget? EK: I love my Origami Stroller by 4moms. It’s a total crazy splurge but Parker has 2 other strollers, a B.O.B. and a Bumbleride, and this is the only stroller that she likes. The seat or the origami is shaped sort of like hammock making it really snug and comfortable for her and the way that it’s suspended on the rig gives the whole thing a nice (but slight) rocking motion. At minimum it gets Parker to a nice tranquil relaxed state, but it’s equally as likely to knock her out completely. Oh, and it also collapses and opens by itself with the touch of a button. Yes, it’s a transformer.

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SST: What is your favorite thing to do when you have some alone time? EK: Take myself out to a nice quite lunch, have a glass of wine.

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SST: Where do you find inspiration for your work and design? EK: A whole mess of blogs, magazines, movies, TV, real every day life, it’s all fair game.

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SST: How do you organize your day? EK: As I mentioned, there is little routine in my life, but when it comes to Parker I do try my best to provide her with a schedule she can rely on and that carries over from days she is with me to days she is with grandma or the nanny. Unless I have a super early call time every day starts with a morning walk down our dead end street with the origami stroller and a cup of coffee. Parker loves watching the birds and it gives me a chance get caffeinated and ready for the rest of it.

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SST: Has it been hard to keep in touch with friends who do not have kids? EK: I’ve always had a hard time balancing my social life to begin with because I am such a workaholic. Having a kid adds another layer. It’s a little sad to admit, but the only folks I really see on a super regular basis are stylists, assistants or other friends I have made in the industry that I work with often. Since the move though I do get to see my best bud Kate all the time! She lives .6 miles away. It makes me so happy I can’t even tell you.

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SST: Where do you shop for Parker’s clothes? And yourself? EK: I wish I had a cooler answer for this one. I know so many great local designers and I do my best to support them when I can, but for myself I end up shopping online at night after Parker is asleep. Partly because it’s practical and that is simply when I have time, but also because shopping kind of stresses me out. Unless I have all day to do nothing and I am not looking for anything in particular, it’s just not that fun for me. Shopping on my laptop in bed after a long day however, has the opposite effect. Bouncing from Pinterest to Need Supply and Revolve Clothing is so relaxing I usually just fall asleep. (or maybe that is the exhaustion kicking in?) For Parker I do some online shopping. I love H&M and Zara Kids, but a lot of the time I just run into Old Navy and grab a bunch of basics. She is growing so fast right now, it’s hard to keep up! I can’t wait to check out The Podoll‘s (shop own by another cool mom) new kids line though, The Podots. I’ve been following them on Instagram and the “mom and me” outfits are rad! I need!

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SST: What’s next on your agenda – work wise? kids wise? EK: Kid wise I’d love to have another one! I was originally thinking about going for it ASAP, but I’m starting to hesitate. A lot of the time I feel like I’m barely surviving. I know I’m not alone here. Work wise I have a couple really big shoots coming up, this nine day video shoot I’m heading to for PNC bank leads straight into a 7 day shoot for a new LinkedIn campaign, then there are a few book covers, and editorial food shoots sprinkled in before Christmas, and in the New year another recipe book. Love it!

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SST: What are your favorite traits of your daughter? EK: She is so much like me it’s a little scary! My mom has even confirmed this. She is strong willed, independent, decisive, and outgoing. Of course those are all awesome traits that will ultimately lead to successes in her life, but it will also mean there will be a fair amount of mother daughter head butting along the way. But right now, she has the best smile and I am head over heals in love with those little baby teeth. I had no idea I would fine teeth to be this cute but they are!

Photography by Ashely Batz.

My playdate outfit: American Apparel Cap | Gap Cable Knit Sweater | Levis Jeans | Vans Checker Sneakers | Cuyana Tote. On Hadley: Gap Bodysuit & Raincoat | H&M Knit Legging & Shoes. 

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  • Ana Kamin

    Perfect pictures! I always wanted to go to the Fish. Hope to make it sometime soon. Even if I’m not really the target group for this post, I think it’s a great idea.

  • Eva Kolenko

    Thanks so much for inviting me to participate. I had a lot of fun reflecting on all that has happened this year. Xo

  • KHZ

    this is so cute! just getting around to reading!