That Mom | Molly Garrett | Container Garden Designer | 2019


"that mom" is a series of inspirational women who

share their thoughts on motherhood, career, style and grace.

by lee kriel


I met Molly over Instagram. She was a hockey coach of my friend’s daughter and I loved her feed as she incorporated little bits of her life whether it was on the ice or in the garden. With a background in fine arts and landscape architecture, she launched her business, Field and Canvas, which specializes in container garden design. She kept her pregnancy private until one day there was this beautiful baby boy that began appearing in her feed. (We were “best friends”…how could I have not known. ;) The fallacy of Instagram friendships…who was I kidding, we were complete strangers!) I did however get to meet her in real life late last summer at her beautiful home in Maryland, along with her darling son Tyde. Her easy going personality made me want to stay all day. I loved listening to her stories of her love of nature from the days when she was a little girl and her father would pull over to forage the roadside beauty. From here she gained a sense of light and color as she looked at all of nature…and just in my short visit, she showed me how to look at nature’s canvas differently too, seeing the different shades of green, every bloom, or the very soil it grows from. Enjoy getting to know Molly…I sure did! p.s. I can’t wait to try her mom’s chicken casserole!

Tell me a little about your background.

Born and raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, both my parents came from dairy farming families so I like to think my love for hard worked hands runs in my blood. While in 4-H and learning how to judge cows I also started playing ice hockey at age 6. Hockey pretty much took over our lives and all over the world from Alaska to Sweden, ultimately leading me to play Division I NCAA women's ice hockey at Union College in New York. It was there as a fine arts and biology major that I took an art history course on garden design igniting my interest in the living landscape. I would go on to work as a gardner for Ladew Topiary Gardens as well as for a few small design build companies before pursuing a masters degree in landscape architecture. Sitting behind a computer working on technical drawings with plants represented as circles I found myself just wanting to be outside hands in the dirt ‘drawing’ with the real thing. Thus, I began doing containers on the side until that side hustle became what it is now, offering year round container garden design, installation, and maintenance.

Last December I became a new mom to a little baby boy named Tyde. We split our time between South Dakota and Maryland as Tyde’s father coaches ice hockey during the fall and winter months in Sioux Falls, SD. Given the fall and winter seasons are minimal maintenance for the plants, this allows me to spend those months out west, flying back just for fall and winter installations. Come early spring we head back east for my busiest seasons in Maryland full time.

What inspired you to do what you do?

I am constantly in awe of Mother Nature’s resiliency and dynamic layers of growth at all stages and seasons. With the overflow of technology and overwhelming pressure to live in the excess we are missing out on what is truly natural. Container gardening allows me to be creative with nature every season and bring it closer to the home front, hopefully encouraging more people to slow their step and find common ground. We all need daily reminders to stay grounded and I believe plants can do that. There is nothing more basic and leveling than allowing an element of nature to grow and exist.

What is something most don’t know about you?

Despite living and working in one of the busiest metropolitan regions in the country, I’m not a city person at all. One day I hope to have a small farmstead far off the beaten path with my 1984 farm truck. Also I wish more than anything I knew how to play the mandolin.

Tell us about your company and what a client can expect?

The name of my company is Field + Canvas for I consider what I do as painting a blank ‘canvas’ (the empty planter) with materials from the soil or ‘field.’ I do not consider my company a landscaping service, but rather an ever changing form of art just like our ecosystem. I prefer to integrate more foliage and texture over lots of color and blooms. I strive to push my designs closer to nature, organic and wild taking inspiration from the woods, the prairie or just a roadside ditch. Each container is planted as full, lush, and large as possible from the beginning of each season, I do not believe you should wait for them to grow ‘in’ given how short the contained growing season is compared to that of the surrounding landscape. Instead we let them grow as they want and then trim selectively. For the most part, I avoid buying wholesale. I prefer to hand select each individual plant for its unique shape and size within each custom designed container. No two designs are ever the same nor do I like to use the same palette client to client. As mentioned above I treat each planting as its own painting therefor symmetry and duplicity are rare. My design process occurs on several levels; sketches on paper, then in the nursery as I am selecting plants, again in the layout phase arranging plants next to one another, and lastly upon the physical planting on site.

I offer all four seasons as well as a 5th season which occurs in the dormant days between the winter holiday and last spring frost. During the summer season I provide regular maintenance to keep the planters thriving all season long. In addition I also offer indoor planted designs as well as small living tabletop arrangements, similar to cut floral arrangements but pieces that continue to live and grow. These are great for event centerpieces and gifts whether its Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, a house warming, birthday or hostess gift, Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas meal or just because.

Best part of being a mom?

Knowing nothing else in the world matters more.

Hardest part?

Time… I am still adjusting to the sensitivity and significance of every second in every day and night. I am still working on how to be truly present in all moments even the messy ones because nothing makes time slip by quicker than being a mom.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Wake up to the sound of three hungry energetic dogs pacing the foot of the bed and one hungry chatty baby boy, however lately I’ve been lucky that Tyde and his Daddy have been spending the early mornings together giving me a few extra minutes. Once he goes down for his morning nap and up until his Mom-Mom arrives to watch him for the day I’ll head outside to tend to plants by watering or deadheading, packing up the car, and playing a round a fetch with the dogs. Installation days run very late usually till dark and then maintenance days typically end before rush hour giving me more family time at home. Many of my clients are in NW Washington DC so the commute can be wearing, but once there all are located within a 5 mile driving radius so I can hit several in one day and have time for pumping breaks or else its pumping while driving. I definitely prefer my days working in or around Annapolis, where I can stop home to feed my little guy!

What is your personal style? Your go-to staple pieces?

Simple and comfortable, jeans and a tee or athletic wear. I’ve never been big on the latest trends or stylized outfits. I do love unique earrings and a good vintage silver + turquoise piece. Staple items, a striped tee and worn jeans, my leather bangle from Terrain and an oven baked clay bracelet I made myself. Also a hat, I wear a hat just about every day of the year.

Your beauty routine? Favorite products? Shortcuts?

Even before baby, it was simple and quick. I love my freckles so I try to wear minimal coverage, but high SPF moisturizer is a must in my line of work. Favorite products lately- the elevated hydration mist by Honest Beauty and tinted moisturizer. Now as a mom, I am in the process of switching all my cosmetics to natural, cleaner options that won’t break the bank.

Wellness and exercise routine?

I firmly believe getting outside in nature no matter what time of year is necessary for mental health just as much as physical, even if it’s just a walk to look up at the trees. As a new mom in my busiest season of work I am still struggling to find the time beyond our evening stroller walks. Once things slow down this coming fall and winter I hope to get back to my routine of running everyday with my one dog as well as home workouts during nap times and Barre or spin classes.

What is the best parenting advice you have ever received?

You have no idea what you’re doing, but know you’re doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing.

Your children’s favorite toys/books? (Your favorite toys/books for them that keep you sane :)

Funny enough he has been preferring kitchen utensils and pots/pans over his toy basket so he now has his own bottom drawer among the cabinets. Tyde loves his books, it’s a morning routine to go and pull them all off the shelf. One book I love to read is “If You Give a Pig a Pancake” by Laura Numeroff. However, he loves his peek-a-boo flap books which I’ve already had to repair a few times.

What is your philosophy when it comes to decorating?

Minimal and earthy. I love to ‘decorate’ with foraged flora year round, wildflowers or grasses from a roadside ditch, branches with interesting architecture or fungus growing along the bark. I’m always collecting interesting rocks from places we travel or natures seasonal offerings, at the end of the season it can be given back to the earth rather than take up storage in an attic or room in a landfill.

What is your favorite room in the house?

Definitely always the room with the most windows, here in our Maryland house that’s the living room which has a corner of 5 windows that face east out into the woods. I love to watch the sun rise through the trees, the birds gathering berries out of the Holly, and the lightning bugs glow through the night. In South Dakota it’s also the living room with a large bay window that looks southwest out onto farm fields and the Big Sioux River. Sometimes it’s planted tall with corn, other times its dotted with bales of hay or cattle, regardless the wide open view, the sunsets, and the geese that migrate overhead are grounding and calming.

Designers that inspire you?

I turn to a lot of floral designers for inspiration with my work, Sarah Ryhanen of Saipua, Jill Rizzo of Studio Choo, Kristen Caissie of Moon Canyon Designs, Kate Chirgotis of Eothen and Holly Carlise. I’ve become a big fan of the guys from Hort and Pott as well as the design team at Terrain. In the home I admire the personal style of local decorator Lauren Liess. Another individual I look up to immensely is Jillian Lukiwiski, writer, photographer, and silversmith based out of Idaho. Her words, her images, and her life are continuously awe inspiring. To me all these individuals reflect a sincere appreciation and connection with the natural form throughout the seasons, one I too aspire to carry into my work.

What are your favorite pieces of art/decor?

Whatever the forest/field and even roadside ditch offers in the season. ‘Ditch picking’ is probably one of my most favorite things to do for personal inspiration, what do my eyes see and then what can my hands do with it back home. Also an antique print drawer hung on the wall that displays my ever growing rock, shell, and feather collection. And then there are all my potted ferns that travel back and forth to South Dakota and Maryland with me!

How do you curate all your children’s toys?

Already I feel like we have accumulated too many, but most have been given as gifts and its amazing watching his little fingers discover new features or new textures on each individual one. My favorites are the simple wooden toys, the play gym my Dad made out of my old hockey sticks and pucks, and then the woodland themed quilt that we laid below it for him to play on which his Mom-Mom hand made right before he was born.

Tell us about your children’s rooms and the inspiration behind them?

Tyde has two rooms, one here and one at our house in South Dakota. I chose elements of each room to reflect our lives spent outdoors in that geographical location. Here in Maryland during the warmer spring and summer months we spend a lot of our time out on the water fishing and crabbing. A fish print I created in college as well as an old nautical chart of his Dad’s favorite waters on the Chesapeake Bay were the starting inspiration. Then when we are living in South Dakota during the fall and winter months we spend a lot of time out in the field hunting ducks and pheasants. While I was still pregnant I made a mobile out of driftwood collected from a flooded timber his father and I duck hunted a month before he was born and from it feathers hang from the different birds we have harvested- ducks, geese, pheasants and wild turkey. This along with two portraits of our labs out hunting influenced his South Dakota room.

What advice would you give other mothers who are hoping to start their own business?

Work will always be there, but family time will not. Set your hours and days and stick to them. Also don’t be afraid to find help early, this is something I regret not doing.

How do you balance work and family life?

That is still a work in progress, but this spring I quickly learned I needed to stop working on weekends regardless of how behind I felt and I had to set an end time each day. There were just too many days that turned into nights, I’d pull into the driveway in tears because I was running ragged and still only getting home thirty minutes before my son’s bedtime.

Do you have a productivity tricks you could share?

Not really, I’ve tried apps and digital programs, but I still prefer handwritten notes and a paper calendar. I keep a spiral notebook with me at all times, its my list keeper and my sketchbook.

What are your thoughts on competition?

Recently I was listening to Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday podcast with Gloria Steinem and she said “Do more of what you can uniquely do and less of what other people can do.” I believe if you are your own true unique self no one can compete with that, ‘true’ being the key word there. If you try to replicate someone else's work or style, you are only failing your own God given talents.

Favorite family recipe you would like to share?

My mom’s Chicken Casserole, pretty much the only kind of casserole I make.

In a 9x11 dish: Bottom layer- Chopped cooked chicken breast 2nd layer- Slightly cooked frozen broccoli florets 3rd layer- 1 to 2 packages of boil-in-bag rice (slightly pre-cooked) 4th layer- Make a mixture of 1 can cream of mushroom soup, sour cream, cheddar cheese, and splash of milk in a separate bowl then spread over top 5th layer- Cover top with crushed ritz crackers (usually one sleeve) Finally put pats of butter all over the top and bake uncovered for about an hour at 350. *Tastes even better re-heated the next day and with ketchup!

Favorite travel destination?

That’s a tie between the wide open public land of North Dakota or the wooded mountains of central Pennsylvania.

Favorite local places to go/eat/play?

Trails of Tuckahoe State Park + Adkins Arboretum (near my home town on the Eastern Shore) Lures Bar and Grille (Crownsville)

That Mom | Lauri Orders | Interior Designer


"that mom" is a series of inspirational women who

share their thoughts on motherhood, style and grace.

by lee kriel


Meet Lauri Orders. This mama of three opens up about her motherhood journey, gives us a glimpse of her beautiful home and swears by her design style to “Live with what you Love”. All of this while running her own design firm, By the Bay Design . Here I spent an afternoon last summer, soaking in her lifestyle and discussing her most treasured gifts, her children. I was immediately inspired as she appreciates that time is fleeting and these moments are cherished.

Tell me a little about your background.

I was born in England, moved back to U.S.A at 3 years old and have lived in 21012 since (minus my 10th grade year where I lived in Newport, R.I.). I am a product of AACPS and taught high school in the system at North County High School for 10 years before becoming a stay at home mom for 12 years and launching my own business By the Bay Designs.

What inspired you to do what you do?

I LOVE home design and décor and really wanted a profession that I could do from home and have flexible hours. Our kids live under our roof for such a short time in the large picture and I don’t want to miss anything when it comes to them.

What is something most don’t know about you?

Ummmm….I wish I would have had one more baby. Age caught me, BUT I am beyond blessed with 3 very healthy and happy children!

Tell us about your company and what a client can expect?

By the Bay Designs was inspired by waterfront living and the tranquility and beauty of the Chesapeake Bay. Clients can expect a professional and personal approach to making their home into something they love. My motto is “Live with what you Love”

Best part of being a mom?

The unconditional love you feel for your child is indescribable at times. Being a mom makes me a better person every day. Seeing the world again through the eyes of a child. I just wish it would slow down.

Hardest part?

Having them grow up at warp speed and seeing them hurt.

What does a typical day look like for you?

5:30 am alarm goes off, work out 6-7, 7-9 get kids ready for school, lunches/bus stop, once kids are gone straighten up around house, shower and work until 3:30/4, greet kids off of bus and start the afternoon shuttle to all the activities/sports, eat dinner 7-8ish with family, bed by 10ish, repeat!

What is your personal style? Your go-to staple pieces?

Casual!!! Jeans and boots in the winter, sundress and flip flops in the summer.

Your beauty routine? Favorite products? Shortcuts?

No real routine…I wash my face morning and night, put on eye cream and moisturizer with SPF always. My skin is in bad shape from all the sun damage growing up and being a product of the 80’s baby oil craze. My biggest vain regret ever. I really like EVER foundation and the product line.

Wellness and exercise routine?

I take an hour every single day to exercise. I lift weights and do cardio. It is a MUST for me daily!

What is the best parenting advice you have ever received?

Never say never! At the holidays do your own thing from the get go! You now have your own family and can start your own traditions.

Your children’s favorite toys/books? (Your favorite toys/books for them that keep you sane :)

Carter-Classic Book “Where the wild things are”, wooden construction truck set

Lizzie loved puzzles

Brookie loved Patty Cake

What is your philosophy when it comes to decorating?

Just as my mottos says, “Live with what you love!” Your home should be a reflection of you and what you love.

What is your favorite room in the house?

Not sure I can pick just one. I love Kitchens, Master Bedrooms and Bathrooms, Powder Rooms because they are a smaller space and my go to is always wallpaper in them for some FUN and Great Rooms. They are all fun and gorgeous spaces!!

Designers that inspire you?

Thibaut wallpaper and fabric is my go to!! LOVE it.

What are your favorite pieces of art/decor?

Anything coastal! I love artwork by Kim Hovell and most anything with a coastal flair!

How do you curate all your children’s toys?

Each child has a bin or two where I save favorite books, toys, outfits, baby spoons, etc.

Tell us about your children’s rooms and the inspiration behind them?

My son’s (Carter) passion is fishing so his room is painted Hale Navy Blue and decorated with fish, nautical accessories and nautical maps as well as his bathroom.

My middle daughter (Lizzie) is happy go lucky and fun so we decorated her room in bright vibrant colors. Her walls are a shade of turquoise (happens to also be one of my favorite colors you see throughout my home), yellow, pink and white. She has a really fun loft bed and several custom canvas paintings of a surfboard and a seahorse. She also has a super fun chair swing made out of rope hanging from the ceiling. Her room is run and alive!

My youngest Brooke is by far the happiest and funniest kid I have ever known. She is a tomboy and, in her words, “I am a Thomasboy”. Her room is super soft and sweet with a light shade of blue on the walls, pink seahorses and a white headboard monogramed and piped in pink. Not at all her personality because she likes everything boys like, but she is ok with it. ☺

What advice would you give other mothers who are hoping to start their own business?

Go for it! There will never be the perfect time. Set goals that are attainable and take small steps that you can handle. Never over promise and under deliver. Find a group of supportive women who also have started their own business. Don’t be afraid to ask other women who have done it for tips!

How do you balance work and family life? Do you have a productivity tricks you could share?

Balancing work and family life is THE HARDEST part of it all. I am not going to lie or sugar coat it, but it is HARD, and I struggle. If anyone out there has any tips, PLEASE let me know. lol

What are your thoughts on competition?

Community vs competition! When I went with my best designer friend to High Point, NC, the focus there was community vs. competition and we both fell in love with the slogan. We should support, help, empower and encourage others always!

Favorite travel destination?

Abaco Bahamas and Swan Lake Maine

Favorite local places to go/eat/play?

I live on the Magothy River so locally we love The Point and Deep Creek and usually take the boat when we can. We play mostly on the lacrosse field with my 3 kids!

Favorite family recipe you would like to share?

I have 2 and both are from my Grandmothers.

Georgia Biscuits made by Gram (Belfast, Maine)

Soften 1 package of yeast in 2 cups of water
Sift into bowl 5 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons for sugar
Cut in 1 stick of butter
Add 2/3 cup of dry milk add yeast mixture
Roll out after a brief kneading and cut with biscuit cutter. Brush top with melted butter and place biscuits one on top of another on greased baking sheet. Let rise for one hour in warm place.
Bake 12-15 minutes at 450.

Pistachio Salad made by Susie Grammie (Oil City, Pennsylvania)

1 3oz package of instant pistachio pudding
1 16oz can fruit cocktail do not drain
1 cup marshmallows small ones
1 container of cool whip
1 can of Mandarin oranges drained
Mix pistachio pudding and fruit cocktail, then add marshmallows, cool whip and mandarin oranges
Top with walnuts if desired
Cover and put in the refrigerator for a least a couple of hours.

That Mom | Julie Antinucci | Master Quilter


"that mom" is a series of inspirational women who

share their thoughts on motherhood, style and grace.

by lee kriel


I was born in Glen Burnie and lived there until I was 9.  Then we moved to Arnold.  Woah! This was a traumatic experience for me!  Until that time, I truly thought there was one main road in life: Route 2.  It took us from Glen Burnie to Ocean City.  That was all there was in my world.  How funny is that!?  But the move made a huge difference in my life.  All of my siblings and I went to Severna Park High School, and I met my husband there.  I went to Shepherd College in West Virginia and earned two degrees: English and Sociology.  I also earned a Master’s degree from George Washington University

I’ve always been a very creative and artistic person. When I was little, crayons were the best thing anyone could get me.  I was always painting or drawing or sewing or making something. In seventh grade, art class was so easy for me that I also did all of my best friends assignments in class for her. The teacher thought we were both very talented. Lol!! We still laugh at that!

I do wish that one of my degrees was in design or art.  But I was never sure that it would be able to support myself with an art degree and I didn’t get much support from the art teacher in high school and my parents had no experience with what I could do with an art degree.  That is such a bummer!  Fortunately, creativity always followed me. As an English major I got to do a lot of creative writing.  I was always the editor of yearbooks or newspapers at school or at my job.  I did a lot of graphic design and still do.  Once I had my first child, I wanted to get back into that creative mode, so I asked my best friend’s mom to teach me how to quilt.  I took off from there!  I also did a lot of graphic design side work and worked on two books with my father-in-law.

I’ve always been a creative person, and quilting was just a creative outlet for a long time.  Being a stay-at-home mom was scary because I didn’t want to lose my identity.   I wanted to do something that meant something while taking care of the kids. Eventually I started making and selling baby quilts on Etsy.  As word got out, I started getting custom quilt orders and I realized, “Hey, these quilts really mean something to people, and the more thought I put into them, the more I became a part of something greater.”  

The first memorial quilts I made were for three kids who lost their father to cancer.  I used his clothing for the quilts, and I felt like this was so important to make them something that would help them grieve and recover from this loss.  Several years later, I lost my father-in-law to cancer and made a quilt for my mother-in-law using his clothing.  She uses that quilt every day, and when I see it, I feel he is near.  

Since then, several people have been approaching me about making quilts for them and then Judy Tacyn’s article in the Severna Park Voice came out about a quilt I made for a Severna Park resident who recently lost her husband. So, I made a conscious decision to open myself up to becoming this person for people. To make these quilts and to be this positive force in their lives when things seem very low.  It inspires me to keep sewing when I’m tired and to keep thinking of creative things to do with all of this clothing.  

So, a client can expect everything I have on each project.  I think about quilts all of the time.  I put thought into every one.  I know how important they are, and I take it very seriously.  

I have always been inspired by a challenge, in general. Whether that’s making a quilt, running everyday, or just trying to get the laundry done. A challenge I make to myself is what gets me going everyday. I make lists (and so does my husband). We get a lot of things done everyday and do many different things each day. We work well off of each other’s energy. I have a saying: “the more you do, the more you do.  The less you do, the less you do.”  It sounds simple, but basically means stay active. In all aspects of life. Mental and physical. 

Something people don’t know about me:
I published two books about Bristol, Rhode Island with my father-in-law.  One was about 15 years ago, just as I was having my first child.  The second was about 5 years ago, as he was battling cancer.  They are photography books with some history of the town.  I am very proud to have worked with him.  He was a real genius.  He had so much faith in me.  It really gave me a lot of confidence to do other things.   I designed the layouts and he took the photography. He did most of the research and I edited his writing. I still look at those books today and think, “Hey, those are pretty good!”  This is a perfect example of how challenging yourself to go a little outside of your comfort zone can really take you far. I had done a lot of similar stuff before this, but never a book. I was nervous about seeming like a rookie. But I learned so much and was so lucky to work with him. It is one of my proudest accomplishments. 

Another thing: I worked at a prison when I was in college as an intern. Hagerstown Maximum Security Prison. This was part of my Sociology degree. I loved that job. It was so interesting to be inside a world most people never get a glance at. I learned so much and gained a lot of perspective about the criminal justice system. If I were to go back into the workforce, I think it would be in some sort of capacity like I filled at the prison. 

Best Part of Being a Mom:
The best part of being a mom is the quiet moments when you look around at your kids and they are just all doing their own thing, but we are all together.  When I see them smiling and having a good time at whatever they’re doing, that makes me happy.  Or when we are eating around the dinner table. Everyone is getting along. We’re talking about our days. We aren’t rushing to the next thing. That’s the best kind of reward. 

Hardest Part
The hardest part of being a mom is the sheer energy it takes to get everything done and to try to carve a little bit of time out for yourself.  As a SAHM mom, I don’t get a paycheck or a quarterly review or a pat on the back from the boss.  That kind of life is not for everyone.  I work hard from the moment I get up to the moment I drop in bed.  It’s a job that comes without verbal “Thank you's.”  But you have to look deeper and believe in what you’re doing.

Typical day:
I spend two and a half hours getting the kids out the door for school.  That’s not just sitting there watching them eat their cereal.  That’s cleaning the kitchen, straightening up whatever I can so that when they leave I’m not stuck with a mess.  I usually clean after they leave for about an hour and a half.  I try to sew for at least two hours a day during the day, since I have deadlines for people all the time.   Lots of errands.  Lots of Coke Zero.  Depending on the schedule for the day, I cook dinner.  Help with homework.  Clean up some more mess.  Get them all to bed by 9:00 and then do whatever I didn’t get done during the day at night…pay bills, sew some more, get organized for an Annapolis Quilt Guild board meeting, laundry, laundry, more laundry, and maybe a bath, if I’m lucky. Sleep is important. I try to get at least six hours of sleep a night. 

I almost always wear jeans and a solid colored shirt or some sort of running-related t-shirt. Usually running shoes from fall to spring and flip flops from spring to summer.  I’m not fancy.  I don’t spend much time or money on clothes.  If I have a dress on, you know I’m way out of my comfort zone.  I haven’t worn a pair of high heels in about 16 years.  I used to dress up somewhat for work and then 9-11 happened. I was working full time and going to GW for my masters degree full time in dc. I stopped wearing dress shoes when I was riding the metro and wanted to be able to run from danger if I needed to.  Never took up the girly habit again!  

Beauty routine:
This is a funny concept to me.  I’ve always kept it simple.  I don’t wash my face at night or use some fancy cleanser.  I don’t dye my hair.  I rarely get it cut even.  I buy make up from the grocery store.  I do always wear mascara! My eyelashes are non-existent! I wear blush and powder to even out my red-head skin, but thats about it.  I hate lipstick.  I’ll wear chapstick if I remember. I do always, always, always wear a lotion with spf 15 everyday on my face. I hate nail polish.  Every once in a while my girls will polish my toenails.  But I find nail polish very distracting.  I can’t function with it on.  Truly. 

I started running on the cross country team in college when I was urged by my roommate to go out for the team.  I had never run before, but I still run because of that decision.  I’ve never been fast.  I like to compete with myself mostly.  I’m usually the middle of the pack, which makes me pretty happy.  Last year, I ran every day of the year.  It was a challenge I made with myself about a week before the new year.  I stuck with it. EVERY DAY. I really showed me that we can all make a half an hour for ourselves to get some exercise.  There is no excuse.  I ran through sickness, traveling, crazy busy days with the kids.  I ran outside every day.  Snow. Sleet. Heat. Hurricane.  Never missed a day.  This year I’m taking it a little easier, but running is my thing.  I also am not a huge snacker.  I love chocolate chip cookies, doughnuts and chocolate.  But if those aren’t around, I’m not going to eat chips or pretzels.  Just not worth it, usually.  I’ve also cut a lot of carbs this year.  When you do that, you realize how much sugar you are eating every day in the form of things you think are healthy — whole wheat bread, pasta, granola bars, etc.  It’s helped me lose 13 pounds since January.  And I’m not farting any young so I’ll take it!

Best advice:

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff, and everything is small stuff.

  • Let your kids explore. Without you sometimes, even when they’re young.

  • Everything is just a phase.

  • It will all work out the way it is supposed to.

  • Let them fail. You learn the most when you fail.

  • Don’t worry. He will talk when he’s ready. (Both Joey and Domenic were late talkers. Sara was too)

  • You can do anything. (My father-in law told me that one day about a month before he died).

Favorite toys/books:
I have always been a library geek.  There are a few books that i’ve read to all the kids, like, “My Big Shiny Sparkly First Words Book,” but we go to the library.  So, there aren’t specific ones we read over and over.  

They all have played really well, alone and together.  And I was never one to sit and play with them.  I liked to let them figure it out.  Joey and Domenic always have “guys” — like batman and superman figures— that they played with.  Molly and Sara had their dolls when they were younger and a lot of arts and craft stuff.  

Decorating philosophy:
I love color.  So the house has a lot of colors on the walls.  I also decorate with things that have meaning.  I don’t buy a lot of “chotzkies.”  If it’s in our house, it usually was made by someone, painted by someone, given to us by someone, etc.  And I hate clutter in the kitchen.  Sometimes it happens, but for the most part my counters are clean, other than when I’m cooking.  My husband has a huge say in the house design too. He is very good at that kind of thing, so we work off of each other in this area. 

Favorite room:
There is definitely a tie here.  My craft room and our family room are my favorite rooms.  I love the family room because that’s where we are all the time.  My kids don’t go to their rooms unless they are going to bed, for the most part—or if they’re in trouble. We hang out in the family room.  But the craft room is the only room in the house that is all mine!  My fabric and my sewing machines are there.  My big huge Mac! It’s where my creative chaos happens!

Designers that inspire:
Amy Butler was one of the first fabric designers I fell in love with 15 years ago.  She had a bright, cheery, modern style.  Since then there are so many quilt and fabric designers who have inspired me.  I am also inspired by the women in the Annapolis Quilt Guild and the 12 or so women who are in my bee.  We meet once a month at a different house, and have show and tell and sew and talk about ideas.  It’s one of the highlights of my month each month.  They are so inspirational.  They are all mostly older than me, since most quilters are not young and they are so incredibly supportive.  It’s really awesome to have that support system in an area that you love so much.

Favorite pieces of art/decor:
I love all of the elephants that I’ve collected throughout the years.  I love decorating with quilts and homemade things.  All of the stuff my husband makes is amazing.  He’s a wood worker, so he’s made a lot of the tables and frames in the house.  He’s also made most of the crown molding from scratch in the house.  He and I really collaborate on what our house looks like because he’s definitely into design too.  

Curate Toys:
So, we don’t keep too many toys in the family room.  We seem to rotate them down to the basement/dungeon, and when they get bored with the toys upstairs we rotate some of the ones from downstairs back upstairs.  They are all in bins.  In a perfect world, those bins and baskets and large Tupperware would be organized.  Most of the time they are all a mix of “guys,” legos, stuffed animals, train tracks, lost batteries, mc Donald’s happy meal toys and other junk.  I just paid the girls $5 each to organize it all!

My kids rooms are not fancy.  They are allowed to decorate themselves with things that have meaning to them.  I don’t like the idea of having a room that looks like it’s out of a Pottery Barn magazine.  They should be able to walk into their rooms and see things that make them happy. 

If you want to start your own business, don’t get caught up in what other people want it to be.  It can be as big or as small as you want it to be. If it’s something on the side and you don’t have much time, that’s ok.  

Never look at any relationship as “quid pro quo” or expect people to know what you want out of a relationship if you haven’t said it. No one but you is going to make you happy and never expect a favor to be returned. Just do things because you want to. This way you’ll never be disappointed by people. It’s not always easy to lol at things like that and I don’t claim to do it perfectly. 

I also work hard to let things go. Don’t hold a grudge. Holding grudges is like giving yourself poison and expecting the other person to die. Just forget about it and move on!

I try to quilt almost every day.  And if I’m done, I’m done. 

Productivity Tricks:
Everyone asks me how I get so much done with four kids.  Here’s my trick: 15 minutes.  If I can look at 15 minutes as an opportunity to get something done, I take it.  Sometimes I'm even able to string lots of 15 minutes together, and that is super nice!  But as a mom who has had at least one toddler at home for 15 years straight, 15 minutes is all I can hope for.  And I constantly think about where I am in different projects so when I do get a chance to sit down, I know just where I left off.  I don’t waste time backtracking.  Always move forward.  

And also you don’t have to play with your kids all the time.  It’s ok to leave them alone. That gives them a chance to grow their minds on their own.

I like to be the best I can be, but I’m not really competitive because I don’t know too many people who do what I do.  If I am friends with people who do what I do, I try to be supportive and tell them any tricks I have.  The favor is usually returned.  My best friend is a quilter.  Her mom taught me to quilt.  We are constantly sharing projects and bouncing ideas off of each other.  I would never compete with her.  She’d probably beat me up.  LOL!

Favorite Recipe

Oriental Salad

1 head Napa cabbage, finely shredded
2 bunches green onions (optional)

Saute in 3 tbsp of butter until golden brown:
1 package of broken up ramen noodles (the flavor packet is used in the dressing)
2 oz. sesame seeds
1/2 cup slivered almonds

Drain and cool on papertowel

Bring to a boil:
1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup vege oil
2 TBSP soy sauce
season pack from oriental flaver pack from ramen noodle package

I like to keep that boiling for a while, until it starts to look a little like it is bubbling up and forming a caramel consistency. That way it won't completely separate after it is cooled. Cool this completely -- in the fridge for at least an hour before serving is best.

Ready to EAT! Don't mix the crunchies and the dressing with the cabbage until you are ready to eat or it will get soggy. 

This serves about 8 people depending on the size of the cabbage and how much everyone loves this salad!

Favorite Travel Destination
Anywhere. I love to go to new places and see new things. But definitely the redwood forest is my favorite place I’ve ever been too. I’ve wanted to travel to Africa for as long as I can remember. I will get there some day and see the elephants!

Local places to play/eat/go
We love Mi Pueblo. I get Churri Pollo. Delicious!  And Pei Wei. My favorite meal anywhere is King Pao Shrimp from Pei Wei. I’ve had that for Mother’s Day two years in a row!










That Mom | Marissa Jayne Designs | March 2018


"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. 


Hardest part?
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!!! 

Boys bedding.  Girls window treatment (handmade, but here is a similar source)

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.

Glass sphere chandelier.

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. 

To learn more about Marissa and her work, you can visit her here.
Instagram:  @marissajaynedesigns
Pinterest:  MarissaJayne Design

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)

a family session | the miles 2014


Meet Kristine Miles.  One of the first times I ever remember meeting Kristine was when she was pregnant with her youngest.  Radiant and carrying so beautifully, she was always smiling and made pregnancy seem effortless.  After a few more times of seeing her, I noticed how she made others around her walk a little taller.  She always had something encouraging to say.  She is genuine.  And kind.  And she surfs.  In crazy places around the globe.  Enjoy getting to know her.  I know I have.

Q.  List a few of your boys favorite things to do….

A.  My boys enjoy time with their friends, playing sports and participating in the fun activities on the Severn River. They also love hanging out at home relaxing and playing many different types of games. We come up with the funniest games and laugh a lot.

Q.  What is your most humbling moment as a mother…

A.  When my children were born.

Q.  Who influences you as a mother?

A.  My mother influences me. She was the most amazing mother and person I have ever met.  I can't even begin to put into words how beautiful she was in ever way.

Q.  If you had more time, you would...  

A.  Spend more time talking with my family.

Q.  Best advice you have been given as a mom...

A.  You gave me the best advice Lee.  You told me to take as many photos of my children as I can, especially of their hands and feet because they grow so quickly. I love that advice. 

Q.  How did you create balance between motherhood and career? 

A.  I try to go with the flow each day and not worry too much. No matter how organized I am something unexpected comes up each day that changes my best laid plan. 

Q.  What is your beauty routine…

A.  Rest, good food, exercise, Obagi.

Q.  What is your exercise routine…

A.  I love many different types of exercise and decide each day what I'm in the mood for, whether it's running, paddle boarding, hiking, or lifting weights, etc. I do not like regular exercise routines.  I like to change things up because I get bored easily. I like my mind to exercise just as much as my body.

Q.  Something you wish you could do better as a mom….

A.  Teach my children many languages and show them more of the world.

Q.  What is your proudest moment as a mom…

A.  My proudest moment was being on the set of Fox 45 Morning New and watching my sons do the weather forecast live with Jonathan Meyers.  It was so much fun and I will never forget it. I loved every minute of it.

Q.  What is your favorite part of the day…

A.  Early morning before the world around me wakes.

Q.  What do you like to do on date nights?

A.  Our very favorite thing to do is to hang out at our house after the kids go to bed. We also enjoy going to dinner or playing sports with each other and with friends.

Q.  Raising boys is....

A.  Fun. They continually make me laugh and they are so gentle and lovable.

Q.  Favorite designers, artists, etc….

A.  I do not lock myself into favorites. My tastes continually change.

Q.  Your style…

A.  I buy what I love. I don't stick with one design or fashion theme. 

Q.  One of the hardest parts of being a mom? 

A.  Knowing my kids will be leaving the nest in a blink of an eye.

Q.  List a few things that keep you sane….

A.  Exercise, healthy eating, and reflection keep me sane, and my husband too. Also, I make it a practice to not over-commit myself or my family with too many activities.

Q.  What do you hope your children will learn about life….