I was so excited to interview my dear friend and colleague Crystal Palecek of Rue Magazine for our tastemaker talks series. Mostly because it's always fun to learn new things about a friend and someone you've worked with so closely for almost 4 years. One of the things I love most about Crystal is how supportive and caring she is. In an increasingly fast paced world she puts an emphasis at Rue on family, friendship and flexibility. This was especially apparent to me when I was pregnant with my daughter and was having such a hard time. Crystal made sure to work around my sickness and the whole team created the best working environment I could have asked for in those circumstances. Now that Crystal is a mom herself I know she knows just how much that meant to me. Motherhood seem to bring out the best in Crystal, enhancing those qualities I most admire in her. You can tell it's a roll that she relishes in, which is why I couldn't wait to ask her more about motherhood, work and the new love of her life.
First off, you just celebrated Rue’s 5 year anniversary, big congrats! What have been some of the defining moments of those last 5 years?
Thank you so much! It's definitely a milestone that makes me very proud, especially of my hard working, creative, and inspiring team. One of the very first defining moments was our premiere issue launch day (I'll never forget the excitement!) and of course, being in the New York Times was an unforgettable experience, too. But more recently, we had a couple team bonding days last month that felt very defining for me in that they really reminded me how extraordinary the bonds within our company are and how fortunate I am to work with such an incredible group of ladies.
You also welcomed baby boy to your family this year, another big congrats! How are you enjoying motherhood?
Yes! And thank you! Being B's mom is such a joy! I am loving motherhood far beyond what I ever thought possible. Yes, it's exhausting work, but there's no work I'd rather be doing. Being a mom has already taught me so much about unconditional love, selflessness, service, patience, trust, and gratitude. Motherhood has given me a deeper perspective on life and fresh eyes with which to see the world. I love getting to know the nuances of our son and am absolutely humbled and honored by the opportunity I get to help guide him to his purpose and calling in life. I'm feeling extra fulfilled these days!
As a new mom and business owner what are some of the more challenging and also the most rewarding aspects of juggling those two parts of your life? Any advice that you’ve learned so far that you can pass on to other moms?
For me, one of the hardest challenges has been balancing two things I'm deeply passionate about: raising my son and pursuing my calling outside of motherhood. From a logistics point of view, there is the time challenge. I am simply time-strapped all the time and have to be much more efficient with my work. But from a philosophical standpoint, the challenge for me is to understand these simultaneous loves of mine: motherhood and career, and figure out how to make both work in my life without sacrificing the quality of either. But when in doubt, my husband and my son always come first. At the moment, being home with my son is what feels right for right now. I'm fortunate enough to work from home and have my wonderful mother come over Monday - Wednesday so I can get some work done while they play in the living room, go for walks, and visit the park and library. I take Thursdays and Fridays completely off to just be with B. I know how lucky I am to have found a set up that works so well for my family.
As someone who has such impeccable style, do you have any tips or tricks for decorating with a wee one around? And how has your style changed since having a baby, if it has at all?
Thank you! I am of the belief that having children shouldn't mean compromising your style. I also believe children should learn to respect the spaces in which they live, so my husband and I still live exactly the way we always have, with a few practical changes here and there. For example, I have a big beautiful woven basket (by Palecek, of course!) in the living room that holds B's toys so everything is contained and easy to find. When he's not playing, everything goes back in the basket and my husband and I enjoy the same sophisticated space we've always had. When I do purchase things for B, the design is always an important component to me. Thankfully, there are so many great children's furniture brands out there, like Stokke and Oeuf, that offer such stylish pieces. And Bitte has become a new favorite of mine for stylish decor, toys, and clothes!
When putting the finishing touches on a nursery or kids room, what are some of your favorite items that you feel really pull a room together?
When designing B's nursery, I wanted it to feel sophisticated and stylish and be a room that blended in well with the rest of our home. I chose a simple palette of blue, gray, and white and invested in gender-neutral furniture and decor that he could grow into. I have to say, his room is one of my favorite in our apartment - I love the way it turned out! Regarding the finishing touches, it's important not to forget to polish off the room with a rug, curtains, lighting, and accessories. I found amazing pieces at The Land of Nod and recently finished styling B's floating shelves with a few fun purchases from Bitte, like this, this, and this!
What are some of your son’s current favorite things to play with?
If he could, B would spend all his time practicing walking these days!! But when he's not trying to get mom to stand him up on his feet, he loves story time! I purchased this set of books because I loved the colorful retro-inspired illustrations and they've turned into B's favorite books. We sit down to read all four at a time at least two times a day. They've also got a great message for kids.
Finally, what are a few things that you are most looking forward to experiencing in your first year of motherhood?
Every single milestone has been so fun and it seems to just keep getting better! But I have to say, I can't wait for B to say his first words and learn to talk. He's got such a personality already and I often wonder about all the interesting things he'll say once he's able to verbalize his thoughts. Everyday I look forward to continue discovering that curious, determined, and sweet spirit of his!
Thank you so much for sharing with us Crystal! Also don't forget to check out Crystal's expertly curated selection of favorite items here.
photos by Belathee Photography