"that mom" is a series of inspirational women who
share their thoughts on motherhood, style and grace.
by lee kriel
Best part of being a mom?
That’s a loaded question, Lee!!! I love those moments when you glance over at your child and realize that you’ve created this being. This tiny human who is part you, part your husband. Who looks to you for all things “LIFE.” That smiles back at you when you smile at them. That laughs the deepest belly laugh at the most ridiculous joke and that will wrap their arms around you so tight that you don’t ever want to let go.
Knowing that someday they will be adults and not need me in the same way that they need me now. The transition of life is hard for me. Some days I feel like they just wake up older, wiser, and less needy of my guidance. Although I wish for that on the hardest days - the days where I’m in a hurry and need to rush out the door, but all the sudden they can’t put on their socks or brush their teeth - I realize that these days, the days they need me most, are fleeting and I will want them back again. So, I try to stay present in the hard times and be grateful for them. Oh, and when my 7-year-old daughter rolls her eyes at me…Yea, that’s fun too....
What is your personal style? Your go-to-staple pieces?
I’m a jeans and t-shirt girl, on the daily. I have my favorite Lucky brand boots that go with just about everything I own, thank God. I’ve never been a trend-setter or “on-trend” type of girl. I’m classic with an athletic edge. Maybe J.Crew meets Athleta with a dash of Lucky Brand?? Hahaha.
Your beauty routine?
I was told at a very young age that SPF and a good moisturizer are my best friends. That stuck with me. I even recall going to the Clinique counter as a pre-teen with my mom and grandmother and them buying me my first “beauty routine.” But sadly, I haven’t had much of a routine in my adult years. I do, however, still use a daily moisturizer with a 30SPF and sometimes make it to mascara and bronzer…on a good day!!
Wellness and exercise routine?
I’ve always been athletic. Growing up, our parents forced us into every club sport until we were old enough to express the sport we were most interested in. For me, it was soccer. I’ve tried to keep that athleticism as an adult, whether it’s running or simply doing a daily toning routine. If I’m moving my body, I’m a better mom, wife, friend, and designer.
What is your philosophy when it comes to decorating?
I always stay true to what feels right. For me, that’s classic and timeless, but with a slight edge. I love to enter someone’s home and get a sense of who they are and what brings them joy. I work to implement that into their space. It’s a bit of a dance between designer and client. As a designer, when I walk into a space I can tell what it should look or “feel” like. But then, I have to convey that to the client who may not be able to see that same vision. I say, “Trust yourself and your gut. It doesn’t lie!”
What is your favorite room in the house?
Probably my kitchen. It’s not the biggest or the most functional, but it comes to life on a daily basis. It’s one of the rooms in my home that gets afternoon light. One of my favorite pieces of furniture resides there, my table. It’s rustic and neutral, with a bit a wear and tear…just my style. The raw wood element is extremely important to me. It feels authentic and can be paired with just about anything. I also do most of my designing at that table; the one that serves my family daily and provides us with stability and beauty!
Designers that inspire you?
Joanna Gaines, (of course) is on top of the list. Her show, Fixer Upper, allowed me to believe that what I was doing wasn’t just a hobby, but a true calling. I admire her in every sense; her family values, her relationship with Chip and how they work so seamlessly together, and her constant push to grow as a designer. I love how she challenges herself to push past the boundaries of what traditional designing or designers look like. I also admire Shea McGee, of Studio McGee. Her esthetic is the perfect blend. I’ve watched her company grow exponentially over the last year and it’s inspiring to say the least!
What are your favorite pieces of art/decor?
I love to decorate with photography, especially lifestyle photography and portraits of children. A face can tell such a beautiful story. I also love to decorate with objects that have meaning. Maybe it’s a rock that was collected on a family vacation or a painting that someone’s grandmother painted. Utilizing special pieces like these allows a space to come to life.
How do you curate all your children’s toys?
BASKETS ARE MY BEST FRIEND!!! I need order in my house and, for me to function, everything needs to have a home or a place it belongs. Our playroom is full of toys, books, and games, but they all have a place to be tucked away when the day is done. It’s the only way mama stays happy and sane!!!
What room gets the most use?
It’s a tie between the kitchen and the family room. The kitchen is the hub of our home. It’s where everyone congregates no matter if it’s a birthday party, holiday, or family gathering. It’s small and gets crazy hot when the oven’s on, but everyone would rather be in there laughing and sharing stories than be spread throughout our home. It makes me smile.
Our family room is my favorite in the winter months. We have a huge fireplace with a hearth that my kids like to lay across like lizards to get warm. It’s where they can veg out, watch TV, and eat popcorn. I grew up with a wood burning fireplace in my home, so it’s a wonderful addition that brings back great memories of my childhood.
Tell us about the outside of your home...
Most of our time spent outside is in the back of our home. We have a brick patio with lots of seating and a dining table which lends itself well to entertaining during the warmer months.
Our backyard is a nice size, but most of the area is wooded and up on a hill. Last year, we built the kids that treehouse and I’m so grateful we did. We’ve also added a fire pit and seating area. Now we can relax and enjoy a nice fire (and most likely a home-brewed beer or two) while we watch the kids play.
Tell us about your new company and what a client can expect?
Marissa Jayne Design is a full-service design company. We can do anything from a simple living room makeover to an entire house remodel, and all things in between. We work with our clients to establish the style or look they are going for, and then, supply them with the vision on design boards to better convey the direction and details we will use for the space. From there, we get to work and make all the magic happen. The project is managed from start to finish by our team and you are left with a space that feels authentically you, but with a buttoned-up designer’s touch. I love what I do and I love to see my client’s reactions once they step back into their space.
How do you balance work and family life?
It’s tricky!!! For a while, I didn’t take on as many jobs because I thought I wouldn’t be able to bring my A-game. I realized that if I wanted to pursue what I now know to be the most enjoyable “job” I’ve ever had (next to being a mother), there’d have to be sacrifices. So, what that looks like is bringing my 4-year-old son with me on sourcing days or to pick up furniture for a client. It’s having to work smarter during his nap hours or pre-school hours and the hours when my 7-year-old is in school. It’s working a lot at night or when my husband can watch the kids. My time is managed well these days and I know what I can handle and what I can’t. It’s all based on my family and how our groove is. I love routine and crave it in all aspects of my life and I’ve learned to create what works for us right now. It shifts and I manage it as it changes. That’s life, right??
Favorite travel destination?
ANYWHERE!!! Hahaha. We, as a family, spend lots of time at the beach in Ocean City, MD. My family has a condo there that we use a ton and have been spoiled with since I was a kid. My husband grew up close by in Berlin, MD, so we head “home” quite a bit. We also enjoy camping and it’s been fun to find new spots to check out.
This year, we will have our first “kid-free” vacation...Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands…to say I’m EXCITED would be an understatement!
And as our kids are begin to get older, we’ve been talking more and more about destinations that are important to visit before they are “too cool” to vacation with their parents. Heading out West to hike or going someplace to see the Northern Lights are topping the list. Also, Greece! We shall see…
Favorite local places to go/eat/play?
On the occasional date night, you will find us at Fox’s Den in Annapolis or Mama Angela’s in Crofton. Of course, we can’t forget The Point Crab House in Arnold once the weather turns! But, my favorite place is in our back yard with our closest friends and family. We will grill, drink home-brewed beer, setup an outdoor movie theater for the kids, and roast s’mores up at the pit. It’s those simple, summer nights that I love the most.
If you are a small business, preferably woman owned or family owned, out there with a side hustle,
juggling all the parts...home, family + business, I would love to support you and feature you in this way.
Send me a note if you are interested in a complimentary session for my "That Mom" series. (limited time offer)