Tina Tan of Nanay Chic

by Cat on July 18, 2011

Our featured Designing Mom today is Tina Tan of Nanay Chic. Her tag is “a mom who loves anything and everything chic.” I love that… Moms deserve to indulge in style and it’s wonderful that Tina is celebrating that.

What is your background?

I’m first generation Filipino American and grew up in the Bay Area in California and moved to Southern California for undergraduate and graduate school.  I’m a nationally certified career counselor and I’m currently a career advisor/counselor at a college that offers degrees in the creative arts industries such as fashion, graphic design, game art and design, media arts and animation, and culinary arts to name a few.  I’m really quite fortunate to have the occupation that I have with the organization I’m at.  I have the best of both worlds to be helping those seek out their career path while being around creative talent.

I’m a wife and mother to my 2 year old daughter (and recently found out that I’m expecting… YAY!).

Have you always been creative?

I’ve always been intrigued with the creative arts.  When I was younger I loved watching my mother sew and wished she had the time to teach me what she knew.  I believe I’ve always been creative although honing whatever creative talents I had as a child wasn’t a priority or encouraged in my upbringing.

Tell me about a day-in-your-life? What’s it like to be in your shoes?

Because I’m a working mommy, I try to find a sense of balance throughout the day.  I wake up around 6am to get ready for work.  Around 630ish my daughter wakes up and I get her ready for the day.  Part of our routine in the morning is to dress her up, pack her things to go, and take out her big brother bear (who’s actually a chocolate Labrador dog) for one last potty trip. I drop her off at daycare before work and my husband picks her up after work. By 8am, I’m at work and in “professional” mode, although I do work with many other mommies so there’s never a shortage of sharing stories about our children throughout the day.  On my lunch break I try to get errands done or sneak a power nap in the car if I need it (especially these days since being pregnant with my second child is quite draining). I’m home by 6pm and the rest of the evening belongs to my family.  Depending on whether we have leftovers, either my husband or I will make dinner and we’ll have a nice family dinner.  I’m very fortunate to have a husband that equally shares the responsibilities of taking care of our household and our daughter so depending on the day of the week, one of us gets our daughter ready for bed while the other cleans up the house.  After our daughter’s ready for bed, we read a few books and maybe watch one of her favorite shows together before she heads to bed.  Once she’s gone to bed then I have a couple of hours to prep (get clothes ready for work, lunches ready for me and my daughter, etc…) for the next day and spend some quality time with my husband before it all starts over again.

How do you balance work and family?

I really try to keep work at work and when I’m at home focus on my family. Of course, there will be times when work comes home with me but I try to take care of it after I’ve cared for my family.  Honestly, I’m lucky to work for a great organization that understands and supports the importance of family to me.  Additionally, I have a huge extended family support group to help me care for my immediate family during times when I need the help.  I have a lot of support to help me balance my work and family life.

What are some activities you and your family enjoy doing together?

We absolutely love to go to any Farmer’s Market.  We go to various ones throughout our county.  We love going to parks and playgrounds and visiting with other family members on the weekends.  My ultimate favorite activity during the week is having a home cooked Saturday morning breakfast meal together and appreciating each other’s company.

How does your daughter inspire your creativity?

She is my ultimate muse.  I love making clothes that are comfy, functional and stylish for my daughter. It brings such joy to me when I see her in anything I’ve created for her.

How important is it for your daughter to grow creatively?

For me, it’s important for my daughter to grow creatively and have an imagination which allows her to be her own person and have her own ideas.  Since she’s only two, I don’t think she thinks about how important it is for her to be creative.

How do you make time for yourself?

I make it a point to pamper myself and my husband knows that it’s important for me to make time for myself in order to be the best “me.”   Typically, I’ll spend time at least once a month to indulge in “girlie” things such as getting manicures or pedicures.  I also make it a point to schedule a lunch or dinner with girlfriends every so often.  Being creative and making fun things for me, my daughter or others is another form of making time for myself since I find it extremely therapeutic to be in a creative state-of-mind.

How do you recharge your creative batteries?

I’m fortunate enough to work in an environment that allows me to be around creative people and even take some creative courses!  This most definitely helps me recharge my creative batteries along with being inspired by my daughter to want to create something new for her.

What are your tips for staying a hip and chic nanay?

Take the time to be “pretty” no matter how hectic your life gets as a mommy.  Make it a habit or part of your daily routine to doll yourself up. Plan your outfits in advance.  If you’re going to get stuck in a rut and have a mommy uniform, make it a chic uniform!  Flattering black pants or jeans, and great patterned blouse (as opposed to a t-shirt) with cute comfortable and functional flats is a great “uniform” to wear.  And don’t forget to accessorize!  That can make all the difference even if you’re merely accessorizing with a simple pair of earrings or an infinity scarf.  It switches things up for your “uniform.”

When should I splurge and when should I save?

Splurge on a good pair of black pants or jeans, perhaps a high-end blazer that can be dressed up or down, or quality pairs of shoes such as boots, pumps or flats that you plan to wear frequently.  These types of articles of clothing/shoes will last you years and you get what you pay for.  I recommend saving money on anything trendy at that moment.  If you want something trendy, go to places like Forever 21 (yes you can shop there even if you’re not 21… you just have to learn what’s age appropriate and what not), Kohl’s, Ross, or even Target.  You’ll get the trend for less than half the costs of designer labels or brands.

What are your favorite places to find chic mommy essentials?

My favorite places for chic mommy essentials are places such as Nordstrom (can’t beat the customer service!!), Nordstrom’s Rack, Anthropologie,   American Apparel, H&M, Zara’s, GAP, and of course, Target.  I LOVE shopping online though!  I always look at the ‘sale’ section on online versions of the aforementioned retail shops.  Honestly, I constantly go to the ‘sale’ sections online before hitting the actual retail shop.  You find the best deals!  If I’m ever looking for something specific I use shopstyle.com.  The site has a wonderful function that allows you to narrow your product search and it searches all brands and prices for you. But you know what?!  I find the best deals on Amazon.com!

What are three items a fashionable chic mom never leaves home without?

Your planner whether it be your smart phone or Day Runner, lip balm or lip gloss, and earrings!

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