ELEVEN SIX WOMEN | AT HOME WITH JEN SZETO
Photography by Colin Trenter @wesleytrents
In honor of Mother's day, we are thrilled to feature, new Mama, animation producer and style curator: Jen Szeto at her LA home. We discussed how she is striving to navigate a life of creativity, WFH and motherhood in this challenging time of COVID.
You have a beautiful eye for design-led curation. Now we are all spending so much time at home can you share how you have made your home your sanctuary?
Thank you! Since my husband, Colin and I both work from home, we spend A LOT of time there and have always considered it our sanctuary. When we moved from our small 500 square foot apartment in San Fran to our current LA location, we wanted to create a warm, cozy, calm, inviting atmosphere. We’ve filled it with light, neutral furniture, and made sure not to have too much clutter in any one place. We also purposefully purchased pieces that were baby friendly, ie nothing with sharp or hard edges. Most of our furniture has soft, rounded corners, which also make for an inviting space. We get a ton of afternoon light so when the sun shines through our windows the entire home illuminates.
What is inspiring your work from home/stay home look these days?
Ease and efficiency. Juggling a young baby and work is no easy feat – even though I get up at 6 or 7am with Mika, I still find myself in my pajamas, teeth and hair unbrushed until 2 or 3pm most days. So when I do find the motivation to put regular clothing on, I like to wear whatever I can easily slip into during a nap time or in between work calls. That means dresses, pullovers, jumpsuits, or my “Zoom outfit” which is a nice top and some sweats!
How are you finding being a new mama at this time of COVID?
In my personal experience I think it’s been incredibly difficult juggling a young baby (she just turned 8 months) and work, and just being able to switch between the two at a moment’s notice. On top of that, worrying about how to keep the family safe from getting sick or making sure we’re all practicing safe outside exposure while also making sure we’re all fed and not getting into too many daily arguments has also been pretty nutty.
That is to say, we are incredibly privileged to have such ‘problems’, as I know there are so many people out there battling COVID head-on, or without work, just struggling to survive.
And in many ways I think this time has been a blessing for our family, as Mika gets our exclusive attention which has naturally led to more bonding and learning and overall growth.
Do you have any advice for other new mama’s working from home right now?
Give yourself grace, take one day at a time. I stress so much thinking about how to get everything done in a 24-hour period that I forget to breathe sometimes. It’s unhealthy. If you’re having a stressful day, slow down – find a place to be alone, sit and breathe for a moment, let out your emotions if they’ve been pent up. Afterward, try to focus on the big picture, your health and mental wellbeing, and remember that tomorrow is a new day.
What part of your life are you missing right now?
I really miss being able to travel up to the Bay Area to see our family and friends. Mika is changing a mile a minute these days and I wish we could share her growth with our loved ones in person. FaceTime and texting just aren’t the same.
Can you recommend a good movie/series you have enjoyed?
I’m one of those weird mamas who spends most nights looking at pictures and videos of their baby after they go to sleep! Haha. Besides that, I recently ripped through the latest season of Ozark on Netflix and am currently indulging in the latest season of Top Chef - it’s in LA!
What music is inspiring you these home-days?
I’ve been listening to a lot of uplifting music to get through the days, so Bill Withers, Curtis Mayfield, Al Green, Bassa Nova, and the Beach Boys have been on repeat.
What has brought happiness and laughter these past stay-at-home weeks?
Wine. Lots of it.
Oh! And watching Mika’s personality blossom over the last few months has been my saving grace. I’ve always thought she was pretty amazing, but wow! Months 5-8 so far have been really life altering. Her constant smiles and giggles get me through the dark times and watching her unlock new developments has been pretty mind blowing. I wish I could bottle up this age forever.
And I have to give a big shout out to my very supportive, loving partner, Colin. It’s not easy being new parents in a relationship, especially during a pandemic, but he’s been my rock more times than not so having him by my side reminds me how lucky I am.
What are some of your go-to stay-at-home self-care activities (when you can squeeze them in being a new Mama)?
Naps, a shower, cooking with new ingredients, the semi-frequent sweet treat, walking down the hill for “exercise”, getting 20 minutes by myself, more naps, and wine. Lots of wine.
Which pieces from the ELEVEN SIX Spring 20 collection are you most enjoying and why?
I fell in love with the Shira sweater the moment I laid eyes on it. I love how bold and striking it is! It is such an easy wear over most anything – jeans, a skirt, over a dress – I knew it was a closet must for me.
And I really really love the Maria Cardi – it’s such a beautifully made cardigan that can triple as a dress or a robe, all easy to style. Its rich, deep tobacco color is a standout and the long length gives provides a romantic silhouette. It’s a staple I wear almost every day around the house.