By Stephanie Ila Silver-Silberstein
You keep telling yourself that she doesn’t exist…that she can’t possibly exist. The Mom who does it all and does it all well. The “Supermom”. Well, I’m here to tell you that not only does she exist but she’s living right here in New York City with her loving husband and two beautiful sons. Her name is Lyss Stern and though you may be tempted to, you actually won’t hate her. In fact, you’ll think she’s the coolest, most down to earth mom you’ve met in awhile.
Lyss Stern is the Founder and CEO of Divalysscious Moms, the premiere luxury lifestyle company for mothers and their children in New York City that plans events ranging from fashion to fitness, and education to entertainment for the Sex and the City meets Mommy and Me set. Founded in 2004, from her Upper East Side Apartment, Elyssa (Lyss) Stern sought to bridge the gap between her pre-baby lifestyle and newly bestowed motherhood. Ever since, Divalysscious has grown exponentially – and so has the number of proverbial hats Lyss wears on a daily basis.
From author of If You Give a Mom a Martini…100 Ways to Find 10 Blissful Minutes for Yourself (Clarkson Potter) to Philanthropist to Editor in Chief of Observer Playground, Lyss is living proof that the “Supermom” is not some urban legend. She’s the real deal. I had the immense pleasure of sitting down with this gorgeous woman (seriously, she didn’t have a stitch of makeup on when I met her and she was freaking beautiful) and I have no doubt that what she had to say will be as inspiring to you as it was to me.
How did Divalysscious Moms come to be?
After the birth of my son Jackson, rather than eschew my beloved stilettos for strollers, I embraced them both. My company’s name came from combining delicious-a friend’s word describing my work-with Lyss, and a pinch of “diva” thrown in for good measure. And voila! Divalysscious was born, celebrating moms that are strong, sexy, confident and (dare we say it!) even more fab post-baby.
For the past almost six years Divalysscious Moms-150,000 members and counting-has been a fashionable, dynamic outlet for mothers to socialize in and swap advice with one another. Eager to keep moms tuned in to the cultural and chic happenings of the city, I have made those once daunting “No Strollers Allowed” signs a thing of the past. Instead I am filling New York moms’ calendars chock full of mom and kid-friendly festivities. Think shopping fétes on Madison Avenue, makeovers at Henri Bendel’s and annual holiday bashes at FAO Schwarz and Dylans Candy Bar. Whether it be a private shopping soirée at Barneys New York or advanced movie screenings, events are replete with incredible prizes and coveted gift bags-filled with goodies like spa certificates, DVDs and beauty products!
What were/are your main goals for the company and for yourself as a working mom?
My main goals are to always keep family first, keep my own identity and be the best mom that I can be. Juggling a lot of balls, but juggling them all, never letting one fall! My goals for the company in 2010 are to have my own national TV show, turn my book into a motion picture film, create a Divalysscious Clothing Line and do Divalysscious Content Webisodes that will be broadcast everywhere! And I’d love to take more family vacations to exotic locations!
What’s it like to raise children in the city?
The BEST! The array of classes offered throughout the city is amazing but there are so many (free or inexpensive) things to do here with your kids! There are tons of off Broadway shows and theatre companies geared for children (i.e. Vital Theatre, New Victory, etc.) and of course, there’s Central Park and a ton of fabulous playgrounds all throughout the city to enjoy.
How is it different from where/how you grew up? How is it the same?
I grew up in the suburbs and I had a fantastic childhood. But kids who grow up in the city are exposed to so many different things and to so much culture. Whenever someone (my mom ;-) says that I can’t, for instance, let my kids run around in the backyard, I say, ‘Central Park is my backyard!’ And you can’t get better than that.
You have the coolest job(s) (i.e. CEO, Editor in Chief, Author, Mom etc.) Out of the many hats you wear on a daily basis, what’s your favorite (besides mom of course)? Do you have a favorite Divalysscious event?
I really love everything I do, each for a different reason. I feel so fortunate that I do, in fact, get to wear so many hats. My favorite Divalysscious event is Moms Shop Madison...it kicks off the fall season in NYC, and it’s shopping for a great cause. A big portion of the profits goes to BCRF, Breast Cancer Research Foundation. I’m particularly passionate about that charity.
Do you ever get star struck when interviewing or meeting other NYC celebrity moms as part of your work as Editor in Chief of Observer Playground?
Not really, I look at the celebrity moms as being moms first just like you or me. It’s their job to be on TV, in the movies, shows etc. I think the only celebrity mom that I might get star struck from will be Angelina Jolie. There’s just something mysterious about her.
What are your secrets for looking so fabulous all the time?
Please, you are too sweet!! I hardly look fabulous all the time. I guess if I had to say though, it’s by trying to get a good night of sleep, and also by taking a bubble bath every night before I go to bed – Just one of the many fun ideas from my book, If You Give A Mom A Martini, 100 Ways to Take Ten Blissful Minutes for Yourself. Plus, I swear by this oil called Rodin Olio – it just a little gives you a pick me up. I also love Sania’s Brow Bar, Eugene at Ayervais Salon who does my hair blow outs, Physique 57th for the best workouts, Berry by Terry lip gloss at Barneys and Crystal Light for my 8 glasses of water a day.
What are your favorite products or general tips/advice you have for new NYC moms?
Never feel that you’re alone in this amazing city, you will make new friends each and every day. Go to the park, take a class, and don’t be afraid to ask questions! The city has the best resources and experts in every field. You can always go to http://www.divamoms.com and click on Ask Lyss, we have become the Dear Abby of the mom world. I love the Bugaboo Bee stroller, when your child needs a first hair cut Cozy’s Cuts for Kids is the place to go, BumbleRide double stroller and good old-fashioned Johnson and Johnson baby lotion. And for a great gift, you can never go wrong with books, books and more books! We love Barnes and Noble, we spend hours upon hours in the kids section.
What is your advice for all of the mompreneurs and aspiring supermoms out there?
It helps to have the attitude of ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’ You’ll fail? Even if you ‘fail’, you really haven’t actually failed, right? You always learn something. And it goes without saying that you have to be passionate about what you’re doing and to really believe in yourself. There will be a lot of people out there who will discourage you or make you feel silly for having big plans and goals. That’s when you really have to be fearless and determined to prove them all wrong. No apologies! “Fashion fades, only style remains the same.” Coco Chanel
To that I’d like to add that Lyss Stern got to where she is today by not only following her own advice but also by being innately fabulous! Those 2 adorable boys of hers are lucky to have such a super-mom and we are all lucky to have this inspiring mompreneur reminding us all to get in touch with our Divalysscious-selves!
Visit http://www.Divamoms.com for more information.