Mom Muse | Kimberly Schlegel Whitman
The hostess with the mostest, Kimberly Schlegel Whitman is our party planning hero. This creative entrepreneur and mom of two started out in the entertaining biz while planning her own debutante ball. When she struggled to find high-quality party rentals for her dream bash, Kimberly founded RSVP Soiree Luxury Event Rentals in 1998, and then later sold it in 2006. She since has turned her love of party planning into a highly-successful, multi-faceted business.
On a daily basis, Kimberly juggles managing her websites, lifestyle blog, social media presence, TV appearances, a daily radio segment on Dallas’ number one morning show, her daily co-hosting gig on Texas Living (a live TV talk show), speaking engagements and writing projects, Yes, she’s an author too, and has published six books on entertaining. Kimberly’s most recent book, Wedding Inspiration, is a fabulous resource for advice and tips for planning your dream wedding. Her other books focus on party planning and entertaining, including Dog Parties: Entertaining Your Party Animals. How cute is that?! We are all about throwing parties for our dogs, being the dog lovers that we are at MSL. Oh, and last but not least, Kimberly is the editor-at-large for Southern Living magazine. Okay, maybe in her next book Kimberly can share how she stays organized and keeps it all together. She is one busy woman!
Kimberly and her business have been featured in national publications, ranging from Vanity Fair and Vogue to Businessweek and The New York Times, just to name a few. In addition, she has been anointed an “expert” on all-things entertaining, style and etiquette on TV programs, such as The Today Show, Access Hollywood, Hallmark Home and Family, and The Nate Berkus Show – the list goes on. Kimberly was also a featured event planner on the Style Network’s hit show “Whose Wedding is it Anyway?”
On the set of NBC’s The Today Show.
Talking about Christmas entertaining on Hallmark Home & Family.
A graduate of Southern Methodist University with an Honors degree in Art History, Kimberly also studied art connoisseurship at Christie’s in New York. She is heavily involved in her community and volunteers for numerous charities, including the American Red Cross, North Texas Food Bank’s Food 4 Kids Program, and American Heart Association. Kimberly lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband Justin, their son JR (7 years old), and daughter Millie Stuart (18 months old).
Kimberly and her daughter Millie.
MSL: Describe your style in five words or less.
Colorful, simple, classic with extra ruffles. Okay, that’s more than five, but I don’t like rules. (wink, wink)
MSL: Your career has you wearing a lot of different “hats” – what is your favorite “hat” to wear or aspect of your job?
I love the excitement of live TV. It is so exciting to know that anything could happen! We prepare and prepare, but I have to know my messages and be on my toes to go with the flow!
MSL: What’s the one item in your closet you can’t live without, that makes you feel both chic and comfortable?
I am a coat person for sure! No matter what I wear, I love a colorful coat.
MSL: Being in the spotlight from TV to social events on an almost daily basis, it must be a challenge to wear something different every day. How do you stretch your wardrobe to keep it fresh?
I think I have you a bit fooled! I spend most of my time in jeans and a sweater at my computer or shuttling my kids to their activities! But I do love an opportunity to dress up. For TV, I am always on the lookout for trim cuts in bright solid colors. For special events, I love Moda Operandi. I order from their online trunk shows often. It is so easy to do once the kids go to bed. I love their selection of well-known designers and also discovering new designers that they have found! The website was founded by a childhood friend of mine, so it is fun to support her work too!
Kimberly looking gorgeous in a Zac Posen gown with her husband Justin at an event.
MSL: Any more books in the works?
Thank you for asking! I have a new book coming out in August of 2015. It is called Monograms at Home: The Art of Making Your Mark. I had such a wonderful time working on the book and I’m so excited about it! I monogram anything and everything that doesn’t breathe, so it was an easy project. It always is when it is a passion!
MSL: Do you have any tips on how you streamline your morning routine?
Our mornings are not too bad actually. We do the typical routine of getting things in order the night before and making sure the backpack is in the right place. Our son loves breakfast so it is easy to get him to the table. We have the powder room near the garage set up so that he can brush his teeth after breakfast, brush his hair and add a drop of tea-tree oil (keeps the lice away!). My husband takes him to school so I have a bit of time to hop on the treadmill, answer a few emails, have a cup of coffee, and a little bit of quiet before Millie wakes up. I did something right in a past life because I typically have to wake her up around 10 a.m.
MSL: Developing a unique style comes at an early age for some children. Do you let your children choose what they’re going to wear? How do you talk about getting dressed with them?
Oh my, well, we haven’t gotten there yet with our daughter but I guess I will have to! Our son always wants to wear sporty clothes. He is very good about getting dressed up when he needs to but it certainly isn’t his first choice. I was very jealous of a girlfriend of mine whose 6-year-old son insisted on wearing a blazer to school every day of Kindergarten. My father heard a speaker when my sister was young who told his audience that if you tell your children that what they select to wear doesn’t go together, you are crushing their creativity and telling them their taste is wrong. That certainly stuck with me but I don’t know how I would have handled some of the ensembles that my sister got away with wearing! That said, she is a very successful fashion blogger now. It worked I guess!
MSL: Tell us something about yourself that people would be surprised to hear.
I always struggle with this question. I think I am a bit of an open book! I don’t often shy away from sharing. I guess that I have been to trapeze school!
MSL: What’s your best advice for other moms out there?
Give yourself a break. We are surrounded by images of mothers who make things look so easy, but we all have our strengths and weaknesses. I am always trying to improve on my weaknesses, of which there are many, and capitalize on my strengths!
Also – and most importantly – always keep in mind that your spouse is your partner in all of this. When Justin and I were new parents, I remember that I thought he was waaaayyyyy too strict. I asked him why and he said he felt that he had to be to make-up for my relaxed parenting style! It was such a worthwhile conversation because we now always try to meet in the middle and make sure we are on the same page with our hopes, dreams, and mission for our family.
Oh – one more! (I am never at a loss for words.) Talk to your kids without looking them in the eye. I know it sounds strange, but I have noticed that my son tells me much more when I’m not looking at him directly. For example, we talk in the car when we are both looking out the window or in the kitchen when I am knocking around at the sink and he is working on a puzzle or homework. I don’t know why – I’m sure there is a beautiful explanation that a child psychologist could give us – I just know it works!