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We are huge fans of your blog, The BakerMama! What inspired you to cook for a living?
My love for food and how it brings people to together and makes people happy. My parents are great cooks so I grew up in a home where we prepared and ate most of our meals together as a family and still do to this day.

Did you always know that this is what you wanted to do?
No…I never dreamed! After we had Baker, I thought I would be a stay-at-home mom, but the opportunity presented itself to start sharing my passion for baking and cookies with others through the blog and I love it!

How did you get started?
A friend suggested that I apply to be the Gold Medal Flour baking blogger. I had never had a blog before nor taken pictures of food, but loved the thought of sharing my recipes with others so I applied. And to my surprise, they choose me! I was honored and thrilled! We also found out the same week that we were expecting twins! OMG!

I started blogging exclusively for Gold Medal Flour where my blog, The BakerMama, was built into their website. A year ago, I took The BakerMama off on my own and now work with several brands/clients to create recipes and content for them as well as share my own recipes and crazy life with my followers.

Best part about your job?
Doing what I love from home and sharing my passion for baking and cooking with others. There’s nothing more rewarding than having someone tell me that they made my recipe and enjoyed it with their family and friends and that everyone loved it! I love all of the people I’ve met through the blogging world, both followers and other bloggers. So much encouragement and inspiration! Oh and I get to eat brownies and cookies for a living! That’s pretty sweet! ;)

Most difficult part about your job?
It’s a hard job to check out from with emails, social media, questions about recipes, meetings and requests from clients, etc. There’s always something, but I’m getting much better at unplugging and letting things wait until tomorrow. It’s also hard working from home because things that need to get done around the house will compete with my to-do list for the blog.

Any fun or inspiring stories to share from work?
It’s always so exciting when my recipes get featured in magazines, on popular websites or shared by fellow food bloggers. I’ve had a few opportunities to do baking demos on TV and have filmed several how-to videos that are on YouTube. I just love sharing my love for baking with others!

I’ve had several followers email me to tell me that I’ve inspired them or encouraged them when it comes to balancing my family life with my passion for baking and blogging. That makes me so happy because I have several people that inspire and encourage me and I know how much I admire them. I’m honored!

Does your husband share your love of cooking? Does he ever help you perfect a recipe you are working on?
Yes, Brandon loves to cook! He’s awesome and ambitious in the kitchen. He’s a much better cook than I am. He loves the challenge of preparing new dishes of all cuisines. We love cooking together on the weekends! We have what we call date night in. We’ll take the boys with us to the grocery store to get all the ingredients for what we’re planning to cook and then we’ll sit down and eat a snack with the boys while they eat their dinner. Once we get the boys to bed, we’ll open a bottle of wine or make some cocktails and start cooking. We’ll prepare several courses and just enjoy each other and the amazing food we prepare. It’s very special time for us!

Brandon is definitely my toughest critic when it comes to my recipes and so I appreciate that! He tells it like it is which in turn helps me to perfect my recipes. He’s my #1 taste tester and he has great taste! 

How do you manage being a mom and writing your own blog?  Any advice for other moms out there wanting to pursue something they are passionate about?
My boys are my first priority and always will be. When I feel stressed or overwhelmed, I just take a deep breath and remember how blessed I am to have three healthy boys and a job that I love so much. Nothing about the blog is life or death so if something has to wait, it has to wait. When the twins were babies, I had someone come to the house a few days a week so I could develop and photograph recipes and then I would do all of the editing, writing, emails, and social media late at night. Once the boys were a little older, I put them in school 5 days a week so I could focus on the blog during the day and be 100% theirs in the mornings before school and after school until they’re in bed. It’s hard work and I run on little sleep, but when you’re so passionate about something, it’s worth it and it’s so rewarding.

Do any of your boys like to cook?  Are you hoping to pass along your love of cooking? 
They seem to love being in the kitchen with us now. The kitchen is never off limits and they know they’re always welcome to pull up a chair and help. We let them help us decide what to make each meal and they join us at the grocery store almost every day. We’re always introducing new foods to them and encouraging them to try new foods. We just hope they know how blessed we are to always have food on our plates.

Please share your favorite lunches for kids! What do you typically put in their lunchboxes?
I get a lot of their lunch box foods in bulk at Costco. Lunch box favorites are: hummus, guacamole, pretzels, crackers, yogurt pouches, string cheese, strawberries, grapes, oranges, peanut butter sandwiches, granola bars, apple sauce pouches, steamed carrots, mini bagels, leftover pancakes, quesadillas, grilled cheese sandwiches, muffins

For example, their lunch boxes today included: mini hummus pack, mini bagel, orange slices, strawberries, apple sauce pouch, pretzels and half a chocolate chip granola bar.

MAEGAN'S FAVORITE SPOTS IN DALLAS FOR BRUNCH AND BEYOND

Breakfast/Brunch:
Top Pot Doughnuts, Village Baking Co., Remedy, Breadwinners, La Duni, Cindy’s Delicatessen

Lunch Spots:
Zoe’s, East Hampton Sandwich Co., Urban Taco, Jimmy’s Deli, Mia’s TexMex

Date Night:
CBD Provisions, Neighborhood Services, Lucia, Nova, Gemma,

Take Out:
Royal China, Mangiamo pizza, Monkey King Noodle Company

Family Night:
Meso Maya, Afrah, Canne Rosso, Hopdoddy

Dessert:
Steel City Pops, Paciugo, Braum’s, Sweet Firefly, I Heart Yogurt, Emporium Pies, Cake Bar

 

Read more about Maegan Brown, The BakerMama on the Towne & Market blog.

 


 

Towne & Market is a locally curated online shopping destination for new and pre-owned designer fashion and home décor in Dallas/Fort Worth. Members reserve online and pick up in town.

Shop what's new on Towne & Market.

Towne & Market

Aimee Urista and Megan Jackson introduced their premium denim brand, Hip Chixs to the world on Season 4 of ABC's Shark Tank. Now, they are working to expand their brand with a Kickstarter campagin! We sat down with these Dallas-based entrepreneurs to hear about their path to create HC, their favorite "shark" and what they would like to accomplish with funds raised from Kickstarter.

 

What inspired you both to start Hip Chixs?
To create a better jean because we both love denim and couldn't find a pair to meet all our needs. Plus, we are entrepreneurs and wanted to work for ourselves and use our passions and talents to create a fun company with a personal purpose that suits other womens' needs as well.

How did you begin from Day 1?
From Day 1...well, Aimee had a dream while we were in college that we designed jeans together and she mentioned it to me at a party and we laughed and then came to me about 7 years later and was like—well, let's do this!

How many prototypes did you try on before getting “the one”?
About 5. Since we both buy premium denim, we had an idea of what each brand lacked and then took things we loved about certain favorites and used that inspiration to design our jean from scratch.

What do you think most consumers would find surprising regarding the production of a pair of jeans?
Oh my goodness...SO much! It is a tedious process... the designing and fabric, thread/stitch, pocket bag and hardware selection and design to the fitting process (seriously involved!)... to the wash process and label package considerations. So many washes to select from and colors... plus the branding package and not to forget naming the brand and getting it actually trademarked. It is similar to thinking about a blue print to build something... its a lot of steps, finding the right people to get involved, the designing, planning and actual execution involved!

Where did you get the name Hip Chixs?
It was a bottle of wine that inspired us. Naturally, we used one in our recent photo shoot campaign... and we drank it while designing our first line and here we are! We call it our creative juice.

What would you recommend to other entrepreneurs looking to get started in fashion?
Passion and relentlessness and perseverance... talent and knowing what you want.

What’s the best advice you have received since starting HC?
"Never, ever, give up...no matter what!" —Mark Cuban

People always say to never start a business with a friend…what do you say to that?
I think this is because people are afraid to ruin friendships. But, Aimee and I work so great together because we aren't fighting over the same position. She has a love for marketing and selling and I love design and creating our vision. We both come to the table with our unique drive and they sync up so well. Plus we make each other laugh and believe in being honest with each other... brutally honest and make sure we have lots of touch bases. I think it is smart to be in a business with someone you trust—whom better than your best friend.

We’re so excited to hear the news about your Kickstarter campaign. Did you always know you wanted to run a campaign? How did you come to the decision to start one now?
We actually set out to do this a year ago... and created the steps to do so but our lives got so busy! We weren't at a point that it felt absolutely necessary yet and now we are at a pivotal point where it is necessary for our future growth. We needed time to evaluate our business and speak with investors and make a decision of how much skin we wanted to have in the game and how much to divvy out to an investor... in the end, we believe that we want to stick with our original plan and do this on our own. After all, it's our baby!

What are your plans with funds raised? 
We absolutely hope to make this a full-time business together. We hope to create a company infrastructure from which we can open an office and become fully functional. In addition to creating another larger round with more sizing and style options. We are getting many requests for sizes we have not had a chance to offer and would like to. Ws well as grow the line and offer more categories of clothing and eventually other products!

Can you share some of the specifics regarding what “rewards” those who pledge will receive?
We will be offering our jean at wholesale cost, which is huge for a premium product. We have created totes and t-shirts with our logo. Some of the bigger incentives will be to have dinner with us and be involved in designing our next line! The biggest reward is having a pair of jeans named after you.

What has the process been like in preparation for your Kickstarter campaign? Would you encourage other entrepreneurs to follow suit? How long have you been working on the launch?
It is very time consuming to prepare for. We made a voice over recording for a video we shot of the behind the scenes of our recent photo shoot campaign for our newest line. We hired some creative help for our verbiage and have had several meetings to get all the information answered in a fun way to interpret our personality of our brand. We had to write our bios and create imagery for the campaign.

Absolutely (encourage other entrepreneurs), we have heard so many success stories and hope to be one of them! It has been a year in progress! 

Some of our readers may not know this but Hip Chixs was featured on Season 4 of ABC’s Shark Tank. Can you tell us about the process to get on the show? What was it like behind-the-scenes once you were there?
This is a hard question to answer because we are under a confidentiality contract. We basically were told we should apply to the show online and got a call back after we submitted for the show. Several conversations took place and then we were asked to create a video about Hip Chixs to tell them why we are different. We were selected to try out for the show and were flown to LA for about a week.  We made it on the show and were on set for over an hour with the sharks... to which they edited down to 7 minutes!  It was a major leaning experience for us both and one we look back on with bittersweet feelings but are overall grateful for what we learned.  We got to brand Hip Chixs nationally, which was HUGE for a small business.

What was your most memorable experience from Shark Tank?
Megan: It would have to be the moment the doors opened and we had to walk out facing the sharks...eek!
Aimee: All of the emotions leading up to pitching to the sharks.

Before Shark Tank, your favorite “shark” was… 
Megan: I loved Barbara... but sadly, she was not on our show, we had Laurie.
Aimee: Mine has always been Mark Cuban. I think he is the most business savvy person on Shark Tank.

After Shark Tank, your favorite “shark” was…
Megan: Mark Cuban, hands down!
Aimee: Still Mark Cuban.

You have achieved so much to be proud of since starting in 2011. What was the first moment when you thought, “Wow, we’re really doing this!” (Was it when you received your first delivery of product? Was it the first time you saw a customer wearing a pair of Hip Chixs?)
Megan: It was so many of these moments you just mentioned... but it was being on Good Morning Texas. So crazy and surreal. And I am sure Aimee will say being in People Magazine for our jeans! 
Aimee: The first time I got to see our jeans in person. All the time we put into Hip Chixs and to see it first hand and then wear them. One of my favorite memories and thought to myself, wow this is really happening.

Running a small business is tough…what keeps you going every day?
We keep each other going... and our families inspire us and our friends encourage us... and we are too stubborn to quit.

 

Read more about Aimee & Megan's journey with Hip Chixs on the Towne & Market blog and please support their Kickstarter campaign. 

 


 

Towne & Market is a locally curated online shopping destination for new and pre-owned designer fashion and home décor in Dallas/Fort Worth. Members reserve online and pick up in town.

Shop what's new on Towne & Market.

Towne & Market

Carmen Flanders, head designer of Bijou One luxury handbags, shares her incredible experience dressing legendary musicians and performers including, The Rolling Stones, Diana Ross, Rod Stewart and many more, and how that experience led to the creation of her handbag collection. Plus, Carmen's latest venture that just opened in the Dallas Design DistrictBijou Luxury— showcasing covet-worthy luxury goods exclusive from the closets of Hollywood's elite. One look at her beautifully curated collection and you'll happily indulge in something new-to-you.

What was your path to becoming a luxury handbag designer? How did you get started?
Many years ago, too many. I worked in Hollywood with a leather designer. All of the clothes were handmade at the workshop on Sunset Boulevard. We worked with the Rolling Stones (Tour of the Americas), Peter Frampton (Live album), Quincy Jones (Body Heat album) and other projects and personal pieces for Diana Ross, Rod Stewart, members of the Jackson family and many other personalities. I am dating myself with this list. Through this experience, I learned how to choose leathers properly, as well as pattern making, sewing leather by hand, etc.

Did you always know you wanted to focus on accessories?
No, not then. Many years had passed before I took up design again—family and career. I started collecting vintage jewelry, which became a passion over 10 years ago, and then gave me the idea of using the jewelry on handbags. From there, I worked tirelessly on the line entering the bridge price point market for 2 years; selling  to approximately 70 stores in the U.S., Japan and Mexico. The bags were made by hand, of course, with my signature design the "Audrey" cuff clutch.

Because of the tremendous competition coming out of China flooding the marketplace I couldn't compete. I then decided to offer only high-end exotics made In Italy. Very challenging! All of your major design houses such as LVMH, Gucci, Loro Piana, etc. have bought out the small artisan factories and tanneries in Italy and France making production there very difficult. I have moved production to the U.S. now. There are a handful of specialty artisans here that still work by hand.

Can you describe your design process for us? What inspires you?
Color inspires me. Exotic skins inspire me. When I combine the skins I think to myself, this is the only time a crocodile, a python, and an ostrich can play nice together!

What do you enjoy the most as a designer? 
I enjoy the creative process. I still don't consider myself a designer really. Just someone who likes pretty things.

Do you have a favorite style from your collection? Why is it your favorite?
My favorite style is "La Borsa Marlena," a travel bag. I like the size of the piece. It has presence!

You’ve recently launched Bijou Luxury Consignment in the Dallas Design District...can you tell us about your new venture?
My sister has been in the entertainment industry (behind-the-scenes) styling for celebrity personalities for 25 years now. She works with them on a personal as well as professional level. Closet re-organization and cataloging, television, and other productions. Most celebrities cannot wear pieces twice, or won't. They have extraordinary closets and welcome the venue of "shopping celebrity closets". Some are clients of mine who buy my bags as well. One Chanel in exchange for a custom Bijou One!

What is the most extraordinary item you have accepted for consignment?
A vintage Gianni Versace lasered coat valued at $10,000. It's beautiful.  

In your experience, which designers or brands have the highest resale value?
Hermès Birkin and Kelly bags, due to the exclusivity. It is a brand that has stayed true to its heritage. Chanel bags, because it's Chanel!

 

Read more about Carmen on the Towne & Market blog. Shop Bijou Luxury on Towne & Market—reserve online and pick-up in store!

 


 

Towne & Market is a locally curated online shopping destination for new and pre-owned designer fashion and home décor in Dallas/Fort Worth. Members reserve online and pick up in town.

Shop what's new on Towne & Market.

 

Towne & Market

Looks we loved from the most fashionable in Dallas.

Read more on the Towne & Market blog.

Towne & Market is a locally curated online shopping destination for new and pre-owned fashion and home décor in Dallas/Fort Worth. Members reserve online and pick up in town.

Shop what's new on Towne & Market.

Towne & Market

Candy Evans on becoming the premier voice on Dallas real estate. Plus, catch Candy this evening at Oral Fixation!

City: Dallas, Texas
Hometown: Chicago metro area

In 2010 you founded Candy’s Dirt, an award-winning real estate blog covering Dallas…how did you get started?
I had been a practicing journalist for several years before, during and after I raised my children. While working for D Magazine in Dallas, we were taught to blog as a way of keeping up with the changes in mass media. I soon saw the writing on the wall, and believe that online platforms are replacing print. In 2010 D decided not to carry DallasDirt, so I started my own blog, CandysDirt.

What keeps you motivated to create content on all things Dallas real estate?
I am obsessed with real estate, have been so all my life.

How do you think real estate in Dallas has changed in the time you’ve been covering it?
Agents and sellers now see how vital the internet is to gaining full coverage. Our market is too hot for print. Use print for branding, but smart agents and sellers focus their marketing dollars on websites and on-line marketing.

What are you most interested in covering?
Celebrity real estate, celebrity homes and mansions. I toured the Hicks Crespi estate yesterday!

Anything you’re less interested in covering?
I love our Tuesday $200,000 homes to our multi-million dollar properties. There is a home for everyone.

When starting your own venture, what was the best business advice you received?
To decide early on if I was going to make money off the site or just make it a hobby. I had savings for one year, this was not going to be a hobby.

Would you give the same advice to a person who is starting a new venture?
Have some money in the bank, talk to as many experts in the field as you can for advice. Watch the budget! On days when you think you may have been whacko to do this, take a deep breath and look at how far you have come from your very first day or deposit!

What city would you love to report on if you had the time to expand beyond Dallas/Fort Worth? Why?
We’ve just launched CandysDirt.com Midland Odessa, and Austin is next. Those are cities with hot real estate markets with great population growth.

Any special news or exciting projects you’re working on? Perhaps a reality show in the works?
Oral Fixation Monday night March 16, and then yes I am working on a reality show concept with an LA-based company called Tinopolis.

 

Read more about Candy's favorite spots in Dallas on the Towne & Market blog.

 


 

Towne & Market is a locally curated online shopping destination for new and pre-owned fashion and home décor in Dallas/Fort Worth. Members reserve online and pick up in town.

Shop what's new on Towne & Market.

Towne & Market

Lele Sadoughi, Dallas-native and former J.Crew jewelry design director, tells us the challenges of growing from designing for a major brand to designing for her own namesake collection. Plus, her personal jewelry style and most treasured pieces.

You were the jewelry design director at J.Crew from 2006 to 2011…do you have any favorite pieces from your J.Crew days that you still wear? Which ones and why?

When J.Crew's jewelry first launched, I made several simple stone necklaces with ribbon closures. The beads had side drill holes and hung on the string in a whimsical way, that looked effortless. I still like to wear these necklaces mixed with a strand of the angular hand cut glass stone necklaces.

What was the biggest challenge for you as designer—growing from designing for such a large brand and now designing for your own namesake collection?

I spent a lot of time thinking about the feeling of my line. Once I actually got the pencil to the paper, I knew what I wanted to create. I was fortunate to work for big companies that exposed me to great manufacturers that exposed me to the possibility of bringing my visions to life. The biggest challenge of designing my own line is running the entire business: I have always been a designer, but now I design, produce, sell, negotiate, merchandise, advertise, etc. 

What is your personal jewelry style? Minimalist or pile-it-on?

I am somewhere in between minimalist and pile-it-on. I like clean, architectural elements, but I like to layer them to create a color story or look. I believe jewelry should change every day with your mood, and even swapping the same Lele Sadoughi Stackable Bangle bracelets in a different arrangement creates a new look. I suppose my style is more is more, but layered in a thoughtful, personal way.

What are your favorite pieces from the current collection? Why? 

I love wearing the C sliders and garden fence bracelets on both wrists. It is a great way to customize colors and mix geometric and round stones in one look. 

Do you make it back to Dallas often…what are your favorite places to visit? 

Yes, I go to Dallas every few months. My entire family lives there, and I often need a reprieve from the cold days in New York. I love to get Mexican food at Mi Cocina in Highland Park Village, shop for great designer finds at Clotheshorse Anonymous, and walk through NorthPark Mall to see all the art and end up at Neiman Marcus

 

Read more on the Towne & Market blog.

Towne & Market is a locally curated online shopping destination for new and pre-owned fashion and home décor in Dallas/Fort Worth. Members reserve online and pick up in town.

Shop what's new on Towne & Market.

Towne & Market

Looks we loved from the most fashionable in Dallas.


Read more on the Towne & Market blog.

Towne & Market is a locally curated online shopping destination for new and pre-owned fashion and home décor in Dallas/Fort Worth. Members reserve online and pick up in town.

Shop what's new on Towne & Market.