5 Minutes with a NWA Mom: An interview with Megan Cuddy

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Name: Megan Cuddy

Son’s name and age: Hudson, 5

Where are your favorite places to play in NWA? We love to be outside! We enjoy Naturals games, backyard barbecues, local parks, and golf cart rides.

Tell us about a “regular” day in your life:

After I get Hudson off to school, I typically head to my office at Economic Opportunity Agency (EOA) in Springdale. My work varies each day, but the mission remains. As the Director of Advancement, I strive to move the organization forward through fund development, marketing, communications, and community relations.

A regular workday could include securing donations, tours of EOA Children’s House, meeting with donors, writing a grant, managing social media for the organization, composing the newsletter, or planning an event. I currently serve on the Board of Directors for the Association of Fundraising Professionals, my typical day could also include some time spent fulfilling the obligations as board treasurer.

After my workday, evenings vary greatly from taking Hudson to one of his activities, a Junior League of Northwest Arkansas board meeting or general meeting, dinner out with my Diva Dinner Group, vegging at home on the couch with my family, or a combo of several of those activities.

How do you celebrate great things that happen in your life? Dinner and wine with friends.

laughWhat was the last thing you laughed out loud about? Probably something my 5 year old said, he is quite the comedian!

When you think of your home, what immediately comes to mind? My family

What’s something your friends might not know about you? I think most of my friends know pretty much all about me, I am a pretty open person.  If they don’t know it, then I probably don’t want it in this article :)

What’s something you’re looking forward to? We purchased land almost a year ago with the intention of building a house. We’ve had a few set-backs, but we are back on track. I am looking forward to establishing our new family home in Elm Springs.

What’s your favorite restaurant in this area? I have several – Pesto Café, Meiji, Guido’s Pizza, Crabby’s, MJ’s Pizza, The Steam, Iron Horse…I could keep going, there are so many great places to eat in NWA.

What makes you happy? Spending time with my friends and family….and naps, I love naps!

If your life was a movie, what would the title be? Organized Chaos

If you received a large sum of money and never needed to work again, what would you do? Donate to my favorite causes, make sure my close friends and family are taken care of, and then slow down, relax, and enjoy!

One word to sum me up: Inclusive

Note from the mamas: If you’d like to nominate someone to be interviewed for 5 Minutes with a Mom (or would enjoy being interviewed yourself!), send us a note to mamas{at}nwaMotherlode{dot}com

5 Minutes with a NWA Mom: An interview with a mama of 5, Kristen Hargett

kristen-hargettName: Kristen Hargett

Kid’s names and ages:  

I have five kids – Matt is 13, Drew is 10, Bekah is 8, Jonathan is 2 and Nate is 3 months

Tell us about your newest addition!

Nate is our newest arrival and was born at the end of July.  He is such a trooper and the day after he came home from the hospital was hanging out at swim meets cheering on his brothers and sister as they swam in the Tristate Championships.  He was pretty popular at the meet being two days old ;).

He was my smallest kiddo – one pound smaller than his sister and over two pounds smaller than Matt!

What’s the best part of having a big family?

Haha all the birthday cake!

In all seriousness we love our family and love the memories we create together.  The kids are pretty close with each other and love having each other in their lives.

What’s the most stressful thing?

LaundryLaundry!  It’s never-ending!

What’s your favorite movie?

I’m not sure if I have a favorite but I enjoy suspense/thrillers but not popcorn flicks.

What did you want to “be” when you grew up?

My plan had been to go to law school.  I graduated high school a year early, came to JBU and was a pre-law/Political Science major, did a semester in Washington, DC interning for Congress and then kinda adjusted my plan along the way.  I went to grad school and completed the Master of Science Business Leadership & Ethics degree at JBU then went on to do a bulk of the Counseling program before deciding to stay home full time with the kids for this season of life.

What was the last thing you laughed out loud about?

Our two year old has gotten really into watching the Cubs play (my husband and I are from the Chicago area) and one morning woke up and instead of cartoons he pointed to the tv and asked for “bay-ball”

If you could master one skill you don’t have right now, what would it be?

I am LOVING watching the Chip & Joanna show on Netflix and seeing the way they completely redo a space — and on a budget.  I would so love to have that kind of talent.

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

That I struggle with insecurity.  I second guess a lot of what I do, write, say, what I wear, the whole shebang.

What would be your “perfect” day?

House clean (and stays that way the ENTIRE day!), spending time with my family — maybe even sleeping in! And someone else cooked and cleaned for all the meals.

If you were gifted with a large sum of money, how would you spend it?

sea-shellMaybe on a dream vacation.  We’ve always talked about renting a cottage on a beach (think “Beaches”) and spending time with my family there.  Most of our trips end up being going “home” to see family in the Chicago area.

Where’s your happy place?

Growing up my family would spend summers and getaways in Door County, Wisconsin.  Remembering our trips makes me happy.

What do you most want people to remember about you? 

That I try to show people that I appreciate them.  I am the crazy mom that brings cookies to the hospital for the nurses and staff when I’m in labor ;)

You did what???

:) I gave them to everyone – the front desk registration clerk, my ob, anesthesiologist, nurses, janitors – everyone who was taking care of me — and had the keys to the medicine cabinets. I was induced at 39 weeks so I could make plans.  I decided to make my own hospital gown for this one, too ;)

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You made your own hospital gown?? 

Haha yeah totally did!

kristen-h-homemade-hospital-gownOne word to sum me up: 

I’m not good with one word things… I hope it would be kind.  That’s what I try to teach my kids to be.

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? 

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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

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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

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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.