As a wife, mother of two and the head of creative at Oscar de la Renta, Atlanta native Marissa Kraxberger is beyond busy. Then there’s George and Ruby. It’s her popular children’s blog that details everything from her family outings to the best stroller-friendly boîtes in Manhattan. And if you’re wondering about the name, no, those aren’t her kids; they’re the names of Eliza and Alex Bolen’s family dogs — Eliza being Oscar’s step-daughter and Alex, the company CEO. “Everyone always thinks that my kids are George and Ruby, but I am ok with that. It’s like an inside joke,” remarks Kraxberger, who previously worked at Diane von Furstenberg (in-house graphic designer and then senior art director), Kate Spade (digital art director) and, once upon time, as a ski-resort lifty in Colorado. Here, Kraxberger — who’s our new columnist and Saks Girl of the Season — dishes children’s trends, dance class and mom essentials. And, oh, as for her kids’ names, they’re Alexa and Hayden.
SaksPOV: What’s the backstory behind the blog?
Marissa Kraxberger: After launching the children’s wear collection, we talked a lot internally about what we could do to give it more exposure. We felt it needed a presence on its own in the digital space. Since Oscar already has a digital voice in Oscar PR Girl, we needed another alternative. We wanted it to be an authentic voice, one that wasn’t sales-y, etc. Since I am a mom of two and already very active in the digital space, I was the perfect fit. My direction was to keep it real — authentic. While the blog would be tied to the brand, this should be about me, work, kids, etc. I am a pretty open book to all who know me well so putting myself out there in the digital space doesn’t scare me. I already had personal blogs for the kids so now I just curate the content a little differently. We launched the blog in July of 2012 and it’s been a labor of love ever since.
SaksPOV: How would you describe your style, pre- and post-mommyhood?
M.K.: I actually think my style has improved. Maybe it’s because I feel more comfortable with myself and who I am now. I find the stereotype of how moms dress after having children to be so annoying. I still love to dress up. Even if I am in jeans and my Converse, I still may throw on a chunky necklace just to make it more of a look.
SaksPOV: Favorite children’s wear trends for spring?
M.K.: It’s all about easy, breezy and fun looks — playground chic. For boys, I can’t say enough about the Oscar de la Renta heathered and striped polo shirts. They are so soft and the color combinations are unique to any others I have seen. Soft pastels are on trend as well as more vibrant pops of color. I love to pair these with cargo shorts and some Toms shoes or maybe some skinny jeans and VANS. For girls, easy tunic dresses in gingham or floral are my first choice. I love dresses for playtime, especially when they are easy and loose. Another great alternative are knit tops with scalloped shorts — the scalloped detailing makes the look more unique.
SaksPOV: What’s a typical day like for you?
M.K.: On a good day I am at the gym at 5:30 AM for a spin (the elliptical) and getting in some early reading on my Kindle app. Then I go home to get myself and the kids ready. Our nanny arrives at 8:30 AM and I leave shortly after for the office. My day normally begins with chatting with my team about any crazy stories about my kids from the night before — I always have a silly picture or video to share. After that I typically launch straight into meetings. On any given day I work with my team on planning photo shoots for our ready-to-wear and accessories, marketing materials for our fragrances, layouts for advertising, invitations for store events, talent scouting for our next children’s ad campaign…. Since I joined the brand, I haven’t had a slow day yet. I like that though — a wise man once told me that if you want something done, ask a busy person. I normally slide through the door at home around 7 PM to my two little ones squealing mama and asking me if I want to paint. At that point, my husband typically pours me a glass of wine, I kick off my heels and grab a paint brush. I love this part of my day. The kids go to sleep around 8 PM and then we normally eat dinner and I hop back on the computer while we watch TV and enjoy the quiet.
SaksPOV: Your typical weekend?
M.K.: We are always out and about. We are fortunate to have some close friends with kids the same age as ours so we do a lot of play dates. We spend a lot of time at the playgrounds — Union Square, Washington Square Park and the Westside Highway. We also love going out to eat so we tend to take the kids out to early brunches and early dinners, before the crowds come in.
SaksPOV: If you could carve out a day to yourself…
M.K.: I would be at a dance class. Ever since the kids were born I haven’t gotten to go as much, but I love any type of cardio dance class. I just started taking one at Dance New Amsterdam and I love it.
SaksPOV: Fashion essentials every mother have?
M.K.: A great lightweight scarf — brings a look together and covers sticky finger trails on a blouse. A great tote bag — I hate having to carry a lot of bags so I like one that carries all my needs, whether my Moleskine notebook and iPad for work or diapers and coloring books. And a great wedge — I don’t see why moms have to be in flats all the time with kids. If you get a great wedge then you are comfortable and still look tall, lean and fashionable.
SaksPOV: And when it comes to non-fashion essentials?
M.K.: It is cliché but an iPad is a must. I love all of the learning apps that are available for toddlers — the PBS and Netflix apps have a great curated collection of kids shows. And we don’t go anywhere without fruit-squeeze pouches (Plum Organics, Happy Baby, Earth’s best, etc). Whoever came up with this snack idea was an absolute genius.
SaksPOV: Guilty pleasures?
M.K.: I am a closet sci-fi/magic/adventure nerd. I love Harry Potter, Twilight, The Hunger Games. My life is so crazy busy, I love to read books that whisk me away into another world.
SaksPOV: What’s your secret to keeping the work/mother/life balance…and not losing your mind?
M.K.: I really think it is just simply about staying positive. I do my best to focus on the good and not the bad. Instead of thinking of what my kids are missing out on, I think about what they are gaining. I think so much of our daily lives has dictated our point of view and sentiment towards situations. I do feel like I am losing my mind sometimes, but I felt that way before kids, too. There is no balance, there is only life and how you live it.
What are your secrets to keeping a work/life balance? Tell us in the comments or Tweet @Saks!
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