Models, entrepreneurs, and now doting moms, Bianca Araneta-Elizalde and Amanda Griffin-Jacob, tell us about the joys of motherhood and the release of their newest bundle of joy, “Project Mom.”
1. Please share with us the inspiration behind “Project Mom”. How long did you write it and what were the challenges your encountered?
Amanda: I wanted to create a handbook for expecting and new moms that contained all the things that I wished I had known when I was newly pregnant and a first time mom. I remember going through a lot of trial and error. I remember thinking, gosh this way is so much easier, why did no one tell me, during quite a few of my “new mommy” moments. When this idea was percolating, I knew that I wanted this to be the book I wish was around when I first found out I was going to have a baby.
We like to say this project was the duration of a baby (around 10 months from start to finish). It definitely felt like I had birthed another baby (probably the most difficult too). The main challenge for me was the time deadline. It was extremely short. Pretty near impossible. To produce a high quality book in such a limited amount of time was the most challenging and stressful aspect of this whole project. But we did it!
Bianca: For me, the inspiration behind PROJECT MOM came from the desire to help new moms navigate this new journey in their lives. Being a mom that was known to be “green” and practiced the hands-on, "all-natural", attached-parent approach with all my kids, I was constantly asked questions related to my personal philosophy by friends, acquaintances and strangers alike. Those who knew this about me, also knew that I was always very generous with my information and that I liked to research a lot. I thought that compiling many of the things I knew in a single book was a great idea.
2. Which part of Project Mom did you enjoy writing and discussing the most?
Amanda: I enjoyed writing “Bringing Home Baby”: Chapter 3. It was interesting to go through the process again, since I had just had my second baby. I was able to compare being a new mom and a second time and what I really thought was important to include in the book. The one thing I wanted to convey to new moms is that this will be the most amazing and challenging time of your new mom career. The first 3 months is a rollercoaster of a ride. Thrilling, invigorating, and so tiring. Everything is new and foreign and it takes a while to acclimate to your new role, your new body, and your new little person.
Bianca: I definitely enjoyed the “Breastfeeding” chapter the most since it is a topic that is close to my heart and something that I felt like I knew inside and out. Researching more about it, and rereading all my past notes just made it all the more fun for me. I love learning new things! And despite knowing all that I already knew about it, I still feel like I learned from the experience.
3. What does your daily beauty regimen look like?
Amanda: My daily beauty regimen is super simple because I just don’t have the time to spend hours on it. I wash my face and put on some argan oil to moisturize. I also try to put some sunblock on my face if I know I’m going to be outdoors. Same at night.
Bianca: Simple. Wash, moisturize with SPF and I’m out the door! If I had more time in my morning, I would do a simple face. A touch of concealer where I need it, maybe a bit of a bronzer/blush and a little lip balm.
4. What’s your beauty indulgence?
Amanda: Definitely argan oil. And also Josie Maran makeup (free of chemicals and nasties).
Bianca: Lately there’s been a lot of argan oil, retinol and hyaluronic acid. Trying to maintain my skin and prevent signs of aging is important in your thirties. I feel like I should start paying more attention.
5. What do you do to de-stress?
Amanda: Yoga and reality tv. When I need to switch off from life and stress, nothing gives me a bigger laugh than a trashy show.
Bianca: I do enjoy a good massage! I also exercise to de-stress. Walking, yoga, dancing….that all helps clear my head.
6. Best local beauty discovery?
Amanda: The Souq. Love all the organic and natural products they carry.
7. What beauty advice will you give your daughter?
Bianca: I would tell her to make SPF a daily habit, just like brushing her teeth and to never get carried away with makeup. I recall loving lipsticks and other cosmetics as a teenager. Right now, I don’t even own a single tube of lipstick! When I see women and young girls wearing too much makeup, I cringe tiny bit. It’s unnecessary and usually ages you so much! I hope none of my daughters ever pick up the habit. A little enhancement is fine. But a lot of it is just not my thing, unless I’m working in front of the camera.
8. Best thing about being a Mom?
Amanda: My two beautiful boys. Nothing beats their delicious hugs and gorgeous smiles.
Bianca: Knowing that I will grow old watching my kids grow up. Having their love, their support and getting huge hugs from them. The best thing about being a mom is that the little things are hardly overlooked and appreciated tenfold. You feel like every day you have is a gift in itself.
9. One word that best describes you.
10. What’s the best parenting advice can you give to new moms?
Amanda: Flexibility and patience are key. You can never be 100% prepared when it comes to kids. Just when you think you’ve got them all figured out, everything changes and you have to learn anew.
Bianca: Trust your instincts.