5 Minutes with a NWA Mom: An interview with widow Robin Smith

robin-smith-and-her-late-husband-croppedName: Robin Smith

Kid’s names and ages: Trinity 36, India 24, Taylor 19

What are your favorite spots to visit in NWA? 

I love to try new eateries…I used to do a lot of camping with my family and riding trails with friends, not so much these days…I also loved to entertain and cook for people I love.  I love being with my family.  WAC plays, Crystal Bridges…

We know your husband recently passed last year. What advice would you give another grieving wife?

Keep breathing.  Don’t let anyone try to tell you when and how you should grieve.  Accept help.  Trust God, even though you have no clue why this had to happen.  Keep talking to God even if you are mad.  Keep breathing, again.  Try visiting with a grief group.  Hospice in our area has 6 week grief classes often.  I found them helpful.  I have attended two sessions since my loss March 2015.  I speak with clergy.  I speak with a counselor friend.

I have found that I can cry anywhere without shame…the grocery store..a restaurant.  It is what it is.  Talk to your physician.  My physician has been a great help.  Keep breathing.  Your grief is your grief.  Do the best that you can.  There is no time limit.

How have you been able to keep going? 

My kids…I want to spend as much time with them as possible before it is my time.  Faith in God.  If it weren’t for those two things, I’m not sure I would survive.

What do you most want people to remember about you? 

robin-headshot

Robin Smith

That I tried.  That I had the best of intentions.  That I loved.  That I tried to be selfless.  That I loved God and prayed for others.

What’s something your friends might not know about you? 

I am hard on myself.  More than they know.

What’s a sure-fire way for you to wind down when you’re just exhausted? 

In grief, just peaceful quiet.

If you could vacation anywhere in the world this winter, where would you go?

Somewhere beautiful and peaceful.  Hot or cold.

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn?

To play the piano is one thing.  So I had my kids in piano for 8 years living vicariously through them.

What’s something that you would enjoy teaching others?

To be authentic.  Teaching myself this also.

What’s the last thing you took a picture of? 

My sister and two people that she thinks a lot of.

What’s been the happiest moment in your life so far? 

Marrying my best friend and him telling me often through our marriage that he has had a happy life with me… and becoming pregnant with my two bio children…I had to go through fertility…I ovulated twice and have two children to show for the efforts and God’s grace.

One word to sum me up:

Redeemed.

K.C. Pummill & Julie Smith: The sisters behind the NWA Boutique Show

k-c-and-julie-close-up

It’s no secret that we LOVE the NWA Boutique Show. We’ve been a media sponsor for years at the show and always have a booth there with a fun giveaway.

This year the show is on Nov. 11-12 and we’d love for everyone reading this to stop by and see us while they shop the show. There are over 150 unique boutiques represented and it’s just a beautiful event. The merchants pull out all the stops to decorate their booths and to offer awesome, quality items.

We also love two of the main mamas behind the show, K.C. Pummill and Julie Smith (pictured above, L to R). These two women are kind, considerate, organized and FUN, even when things are stressful leading up to the event weekend. K.C. is the mom of three children — two daughters and a son. Julie has three daughters — with a fourth baby girl on the way! Congrats, Julie! :)

We asked them a few questions about how the show got started — and what it takes to pull off such a massive event. Here, we pull back the curtain so you can see a little of the magic behind the Boutique Show!

A Q&A with (sisters) K.C. and Julie:

Sisters being silly

Sisters being silly

Q: We were surprised to find out a few years ago that you two are sisters! Are lots of people surprised by that fact?

A: We get it both ways! Some people get us confused for one another because we look alike, but some people have known us for years and didn’t even realize!

It’s always funny when a long-time merchant or business partner has that moment of realization.

Q: Did you two start out working together to bring the show to NWA?

A: Julie: K.C. started the show in 2006 with a small group of like-minded merchants (she was actually a merchant for the first several years of the show, while also heading it up!)

The show and its needs grew over the years..but it wasn’t until our mom “prayed me back from Texas” that I joined K.C. as the social media coordinator.

Q: What’s it like to work with your sister?

A: Julie: Ha! K.C. says she pays me to hang out with her! We love working together! Sometimes we get just about nothing done because we have so many other things to catch up on, but it is an awesome opportunity. We say our train of thought is more like a Ferris wheel… it takes a long time to get back around to business, but it’s pretty fun!

Q: Do you have lots of help?

A: K.C.: Oh yes! We have been fortunate to have a solid group of other mamas that enjoy coordinating the various aspects of the show. We’ve got some amazing ladies: Cathleen Hood, Kathy Wetsell, Vanessa Miller, Melanie Reeh, and Tiffany Haas. Plus our adorable, hard-working interns: Jordan Ragan, Hannah Gibson, and Emily Weech. It’s really like a close knit little family! We love getting to have an excuse to be around each other!

Q: How long has the show been running?

A: K.C.: Since 2006 we’ve done 12 shows. So we’ve been at it for 10 years!

Q: Why do you think so many people LOVE this show?

A: KC: We work really hard to cultivate a collection of incredible, quality merchants that will bring unique items to Northwest Arkansas. There’s a fun vibe, lots of energy, and it’s a great kick off to the holiday season! We’ve got festive music, decor, and food….there’s just a lot of energy in the place.

People are like, “Are you pumping oxygen in this place?! It’s like Vegas in here!”  

We have hundreds of applications and we sort through them meticulously during merchant jury to select exactly the right mix for our audience. We stay really focused on our target audience.

The NWA Boutique Show team

The NWA Boutique Show team

Q: And we couldn’t help but notice you’ve helped lots of charities and merchants along the way, right?

A: Yes, we’ve been able to give tens of thousands of dollars away to local charities! We have a heart for small business and for our community. We support the projects of the Junior League of NWA , Fayetteville Junior Civic League, Salvation Army of Northwest Arkansas, The Women’s Auxiliary of NWA, Northwest Arkansas Arts Foundation, local schools and churches, CASA… and dozens more over the years!!!

We built this show essentially during a recession to help small business owners stay afloat when many couldn’t afford to have brick and mortars (physical stores).

For many merchants, this is their main source of revenue for the year!

boutique-show-logoQ: Tell us about the process of deciding which businesses get to be in the boutique show. How do they make the cut?

A: Returning merchants have first right of refusal each year. Then we look for merchants that bring something unique to the show or round out the mix. We look carefully at what they’re planning to bring –  limiting overlap is important to us, so shoppers get the most variety possible and merchants have less competition!

Q: Can you tell us about a few of the unique boutique newcomers this year?

A: Julie: We’re excited to have a few new booths geared toward kids, like Kindness and Joy Toys! In the stationary department, Paperwerk is bringing some fresh new designs for cards, journals, and invitations!

Locals will be happy to know that Hill City Popcorn will be joining us this year as one of the food vendors. Believe it or not, there are some NWA residents who haven’t gotten to experience this yumminess yet, so this will be a great treat for everyone!

presentGarden Living will be bringing some gorgeous, unique outdoor decor, so that’s fun and new!

We’ve really upped our fashion game over the last couple of years. This year, Hazel’s Haven, out of Fort Smith, will join us with some pieces that shoppers will LOVE!

Also just have to mention Bubble and Fizz Shop – this will be a perfect booth to grab some fun stocking stuffers for kids, tweens, and family members of all ages!

Q: If someone is on the fence about going to the show, what would you tell them?

A: K.C.:  You have more boutiques under one roof than both the NWA malls combined! Seriously – you could knock out your holiday shopping in one day!

Get a taste of 150 boutiques that would take you weeks to explore if you were going around town. So save gas money, come to the show, and finish up your Christmas list!

CLICK HERE to visit the NWA Boutique Show Facebook page and stay up to date on contests, details and fun posts leading up to the show! Just one week to go!

5 Minutes with a NWA Mom: An interview with French teacher Kelli Doss

kelli-doss-family

Name: Kelli Doss

Kid’s names and ages:

Samantha (19) and Josephine (6) – They go by Sam and Jo.

What’s it like being a mom to one in elementary school and one in college?

I like being able to enjoy them one at a time. However, I wish they were growing up together.  Sam is having to miss Jo’s birthday parties which can be really hard.

Your daughter has a really cool major in college. What is it again?

Sam is majoring in Urban Studies with a concentration in Environmental Science and Sustainability.

eiffel-towerWhat was your college major?

I got a BSE in French from Arkansas State University.

How did you decide to be a French teacher?

I started taking French in 10th grade.  I totally adored my high school French teacher, Sheila Goodfellow.  She’s an amazing person and a wonderful teacher.  I just decided then and there that I wanted to be like her when I grew up.  She seemed so happy every day, full of so much life.

Was there another profession you considered when you were a kid?

When I was much younger I wanted to be a pharmacist (like my dad), an interior designer, or an aerobics instructor.

What was the last thing you laughed out loud about (in class)?

We played Pictionary today to review some holiday vocabulary.  We decided to play girls vs. boys.  The boys were cracking me up.  They would draw one single line and someone from their group would shout out the correct answer.  They were on fire!

What’s your favorite “me time” spot?

I love to hang out in my backyard.  It’s very peaceful.  I sit back there and dream of the deck that I hope to have one day.

If you could vacation anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I’ve been to a few countries in Europe, but never Germany.  I would really like to go to Germany and eat some good sausages, see some castles, and visit Dachau.

What’s something your friends might not know about you?

My friend know everything about me.  I have no filter.

the-secret-gardenWhat book has influenced you the most?

I don’t know if any books have influenced me, but I really love Memoirs of a Geisha and The Secret Garden.  Those are a couple of books that I have read more than once.  I do love to read.  I read much more in the summer.  During the school year, I unwind with Netflix.

What’s your favorite music and why?

I really love Madonna.  I think she’s amazing.  She’s not afraid to say or do anything.  I’ve been a fan since I was a child and have had the opportunity to her in concert 4 times.  Her shows are incredible!

OK, you once mentioned in a comment on Motherlode that to re-energize yourself you do a handstand against a wall. Is this still your go-to? :)

From time to time, I do need to do a handstand.  It feels truly incredible.  I hope it’s something I can always do.  Physical activity in general re-energizes me.  It’s amazing what a walk can do for my mind and body.

What do you most want people to remember about you?

Wow. This is tough question.  I hope people think I was real.  I have a hard time being anything but me.

One word to sum me up: 

Silly.

5 Minutes with a NWA Mom: An interview with author Talya Tate Boerner

talya-boerner-family

Name: Talya Boerner

Kid’s names and ages: Kelsey is 27 and Tate is 23.

How does momming change when your kids are in college? Both my kids have graduated college and are happily employed, but those college years were a time of transition for all of us. I’ve never been a helicopter mom, but even so, freshman year felt particularly odd when I realized I no longer had any idea of my kids’ routines or schedules. We all found ourselves with more freedom, and that was a good thing.

The worrying and praying part never changed, but my role became more that of a sounding block, an advisor, and a friend. And home became a safety net and a place for our children to regroup, because really, once they left for college, they never lived under our roof again for any significant stretch of time. When you think about it, that’s the end goal, right?

What’s your favorite “me time” spot? I’m very much a homebody, and there are lots of great spots in our home to sit and read or write. Really, I find “me time” any place I can sit in silence with my journal, Macbook, and a cup of coffee or glass of iced tea. Working in the yard is also favorite “me time”.

the-accidental-salvation-bookTell us about what inspired you to write your book, The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee: I always planned to write a book, but a conversation with my father-in-law spurred me to actually put pen to paper. The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee was inspired by my own childhood as a farm girl growing up in the Mississippi River Delta. The book began as a series of blog posts that evolved into a memoir and eventually became fictionalized into Accidental Salvation. It was a process, for sure.

Where have you traveled to promote your book? I’ve had book signings and events all over Arkansas, as well as in Dallas and Austin, Texas. This past summer I attended the Alabama Book Festival in Montgomery and did some promotional work in Mississippi. I participated in the Barnes and Noble Teen Book Panel in Tallahassee and had a book signing in Seaside, Florida. Next up, I’ll be attending the Louisiana Book Festival in Baton Rouge at the end of October.

Did you always want to be a writer? Not really, although I always planned to write a book (if that makes sense). Growing up, I wanted to work in the corporate world and have a corner office in some large city.

I have vivid memories of playing “banker” with my little sister. We’d count out Monopoly money and write up deposits using slips from the bank in town. When it came time to attend college, I earned an Economics degree from Baylor University.

I worked in banking for thirty years and even ended up with that corner office in Dallas—probably some sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. Now, writing feels like my reward for working so hard all those years.

Do you have any new creative projects in the works? I’m working on another novel, I’ve started on a sequel to Accidental Salvation, and I have a children’s picture book in the works. I have lots of other projects working in my head.

What was the last thing you laughed out loud about? Saturday Night Live.

If you could vacation anywhere in the world this winter, where would you go? I’d love to spend Christmas in the Rockies with our entire family.

What’s something your friends might not know about you? I can juggle.

If you could share a message with the entire world, what would you say in just a few sentences? Be kind and laugh often.

the farm sunflowersWhat’s the most reliable way for you to get inspired? Nature always inspires me, especially working in the garden and walking around on our family farm where my mother still lives. Even a quick walk through the neighborhood provides inspiration for me. I also find inspiration in being around other writers and bloggers. Reading inspires me, too.

What were you doing last when you lost track of time? Writing. For me writing is like time traveling. I can easily lose half a day or more.

What do you most want people to remember about you? Maybe that I had a way of making people see something special in ordinary things.

One word to sum me up: Inspired.

5 Minutes with a NWA Mom: An interview with Kellie Sprouse

Interview with a NWA mom

Name: Kellie Sprouse

Kid’s names and ages: Korbin (4yr), Kolbie Jo- “JoJo” (3yr), Tucker (7 weeks)

What’s the funniest thing that happened to you as a mom most recently? Forgetting my breast pads…oops!

The scariest? Almost hitting a deer.

Do you have any fun fall plans with the kids? Farmland adventures and Silver Dollar City

Where are your favorite places to play in NWA? AMAZEUM,  the new Splash pad/playground in springdale

What was the last thing you laughed out loud about? When my little girl called my breast pads “boobie diapers”.  :)

If you could vacation anywhere in the world this winter, where would you go? Disney World

What’s your favorite NWA restaurant? Juicy Tails

What’s a meal you make over and over for your family? Roast

If you could magically have a new skill, what would it be? Sewing, I’m a beginner.

What’s something your friends might not know about you? I’ve been skydiving

If you got an unexpected gift of (a lot of) cash, what would you do with it? Adopt

What’s a sure-fire way for you to wind down and relax? Reading a good book

What do you most want people to remember about you? Loves Jesus and others.

One word to sum me up: Passionate