Playdate 08 | Helen Yu Kuo at B. Patisserie


playdate b.patisserie sf | shop sweet things

Hi everyone, I’m so excited to introduce you to Helen Yu Kuo and her adorable 13 month-old girl, Marni Kuo, on my playdate today! I first connected with Helen on Instagram when she was pregnant with Marni. I was pregnant with Hadley at the same time and found out later our daughters’ due dates were only 2 days apart. I thought Helen had the most incredible style. She was a total inspiration for me because she embraced that bump like nobody else’s business! Here are my few favorite looks from her pregnancy, just to name a few… all eyes, camel leopard, wearing blue, smooch brooch. Good right?

She’s currently a Senior Director of Product Marketing at SmartRecruiters, a personal style blogger at What Helen Wore Today, and a devoted Yelper since 2005. Aside from her eclectic mix of chic high-style, you can probably discover the latest baby fashion (through Marni’s closet) as well as the latest food scene in SF. When Helen picked B. Patisserie for our playdate, dare I say SF best bakery, I knew I picked the right mama! Helen and Marni even showed up wearing matching camo, how cute! We ended the playdate with a little tour at their crib. Let’s check it out!

playdate b.patisserie sf | shop sweet things

SST: Why is B. Patisserie your favorite place to go with Marni? Marni’s still young enough that I can take advantage of bringing her to some of my favorite places ;) B. Patisserie opened in my neighborhood last February 2013 and I remember getting Marni’s first month’s birthday cake from here (it was a raspberry cake from their special Valentine’s menu). Since then, many kouign amanns, almond cakes, chocolate chip cookies, sables, 10-hour apple tarts and even a buche de noel have been consumed :) . It’s safe to say this is our go-to pastry shop. And the store’s opening will always remind me of Marni’s birth date. As for some of Marni’s favorite places to go…she loves any park with a swing. “Marni’s her name and swingin’ is her game!”

playdate b.patisserie sf | shop sweet things

SST: The most challenging part to having a career and being a mom? I think it’s a common challenge but I’ll say it anyways – finding balance. It’s definitely a personal choice about how you want to balance your career and your personal life, and what’s worth it to you both short and long term. For me, I knew I wanted to do the best/hardest work of my life now so I can enjoy the later years leisurely with Marni when she’s older.  Of course this is what I say now – what I find reassuring though is that no one has quite figured it out 100%. Everyone seems to be constantly adjusting their schedules to make it all work. So maybe it’s less about balance and more about compromise.

playdate b.patisserie sf | shop sweet things

SST: Do you have a style uniform? I do love a good beanie. Especially with a pom on it. The bigger, the better ;)

playdate b.patisserie sf | shop sweet things

SST: Where do you go for tips/advices for motherhood and parenting? Definitely word of mouth from my mommy friends, Oh Joy’s blog, and a local Facebook group for cool moms. ;)

playdate b.patisserie sf | shop sweet things

SST: Do you own a diaper bag? If so, which one do you use? I’ve never owned a diaper bag. I just use any large tote bag that’s in my closet. Lately it’s been my new black on black Goyard St Louis PM tote that my hubby got me for Christmas. It’s a fancy “diaper bag”, I know but it’s so easy to just throw everything in there because it’s roomy enough to hold a lot of stuff. I also just got a new kanken backpack in putty color. This is a good option as it’s unisex so the dads can carry it with style.

playdate b.patisserie sf | shop sweet things

(SST: ADORE this picture of Marni and her daddy!) 

SST: Your favorite baby gadget? Hmm, right now it’s a toss up between the Fisher Price Rainforest Jumperoo and the Radio Flyer push wagon because both gadgets are Marni’s favorite go-to “toys” these days. The Jumperoo is great for her to get her daily cardio (if you know what I mean) and great for me for some hands-free time. The push wagon is great for her to practice walking and great for me to watch her take those big baby steps. We also LOVE our Uppa Baby G-Luxe umbrella stroller because it’s so lightweight and easy to use. For a baby carrier, I like the Ergo baby.

stella mccartney kids ash bunny jumper

hunters kids first rain boots red

SST: Your favorite thing to do when you have time alone? Take a long, hot bath surrounded by Diptyque candles (baies and feu de bois are my favorite scents).

b. patisserie sf | shop sweet things

SST: Where do you shop for Marni’s clothes? Marni’s “designer” wardrobe includes Mini RodiniBobo ChosesStella McCartney KidsSeed HeritageLittle Marc Jacobs, and Mini Boden. For more affordable trendy items, I shop at Zara mini/baby/kids, Gap baby/kids, and H&M kids. Love all the Gap baby/kids collaborations too (e.g. DVF, Peter Rabbit and most recently Paddington Bear – on sale!). I’m also a big Instagram fan and have found some awesome baby items from mama shops posting pics on IG like A Tiny Arrow for unique feather headbands, Duchess and Lion for unique rompers, head wraps, and dresses made from awesome vintage prints, and Freshly Picked Moccasins for the coolest moccasins in the prettiest colors. Yes, I’m sharing my baby fashion secrets with your mama readers. :) (SST: Thanks Helen!!! I’m a big fan of Marni’s baby style!)

freshly picked moccasins

SST: Where do you find inspiration for your personal style? I find inspiration from just about anywhere — from street style images to my ultimate girl crush and fashion icon Natasha Goldenberg. In fact, my camo coat is by her label “Tzipporah by Natasha Goldenberg.”

playdate | b.patisserie sf | shop sweet things

SST: Where do you shop for yourself? Online!!! My favs are Zara, J.CrewThe OutnetLa GarconneNet-a-PorterFarfetchModa Operandi and Shopbop…just to name a few. But I also enjoy shopping at special boutiques. My favorite ones in SF are actually both in my neighborhood (dangerous!): Elizabeth Charles (for Isabel Marant and Carven) and Curve SF (for unique designer pieces and accessories)MAC Modern Appealing Clothing in Hayes Valley is great too! My favorite Union Square shops with the best sales staff include Barneys New YorkMulberryPradaChanel and Madewell in the Westfield mall.

playdate helen yu kuo | shop sweet things

(SST: House rules every home should follow!)

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playdate | shop sweet things

playdate | shop sweet things

(SST: Hayden loved the Pixie Dust Camera by Oh Joy + Twig Creative! And the little ones found the staircase to be the best entertainment!) 

playdate | shop sweet things

SST: What’s next on your agenda? Work wise? I just finished a 6+ months marketing consulting gig at a tech startup. I’m now starting my next adventure heading up product marketing at SmartRecruiters, the leading cloud hiring platform to source, engage and hire top talent. The company vision is to eradicate unemployment which is pretty awesome. SmartRecruiters is the only hiring platform that candidates and managers love.  Kids wise? You know the saying “one and done” :). Of course never say never but I think right now we are overjoyed and grateful for Marni in our lives. We plan to take her to Paris in the fall. The last time we were there was for our baby moon when she was still in my belly!

playdate | shop sweet things

Such a fun playdate! I hope you all enjoyed it. Thank you so much to Helen for sharing all her fashion and mommy wisdom, and Marni for sharing all her toys with Hadley and Hayden! See you all next time. xo Jeanne 

Photography by the wonderful Ashley Batz.

{Outfit details} On Helen: Pom beanie, Stepcat | Top, Zara | Jeans, Acne | Camo parka with fur collar, Tzipporah by Natasha Goldenberg | Shoes, Stella McCartney | Box bag, CelineOn Marni:  Sweater, Stella McCartney kids | Leggings, Hansel from Basel  | Moccasins, Freshly Picked | Beanie & camp vest, Zara Kids.

On Jeanne: Blazer, Steven Alan | Booties & Tee, Madewell | Skirt, H&M | Necklace, Rachel Gant | Leather tote, Cuyana. On Hayden: Sweater & Dress, H&M kids | Stockings, Baby Gap | Rainboots, Hunters. On Hadley: Cardigan, Sweatshirt, Bloomers and Stockings, Baby Gap.