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Our Corner

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Feature Friday: Lauren Burks

Lauren Burks is a St. Augustine mother of two, son age 4 and daughter age 5. She runs her own business, Braid Bar where she does custom Boho style braids for weddings, photo shoots, birthday parties and other special events. Along with Braid Bar, she run her own skin care business, home schools her two children and volunteers with her local church. We sat down with Lauren to talk about being a mom, business woman, home school teacher and being a local St. Augustine resident.

What inspired you to start your own business? :

I was in corporate America for several years. I did well and I liked it but I didn’t love working for someone else. I have always looked for a way to create my own business. Braid Bar was a happy accident. I braided friend’s for her wedding and the photos were got published in Green Wedding Shoes. After the photos came out that week I was asked to do hair for 5 weddings. That’s when I decided to get my license.

Do you find it hard to balance your business and being a mom?

Yes! The hardest part is making peace and living joy when you feel like a ping pong ball. I look for joy in the moments when being a business woman and a mom gets frustrating. It is all worth it. For example, this morning I’m playing Uno with my son at 9am. Not very many working moms can do that.

Are you children homeschooled or do they go to Public/Private School:

I’m homeschooling both children. I do 5 days a week or homeschooling for my daughter other 3 days a week for my son. My son also goes to preschool two days a week. I enjoy it and we are taking it year by year.

Do you have help from your husband, family and/or friends?

I’m not alone. Just this week I was so busy that my husband had to make dinner every night. He has not made dinner in almost 8 years. He was amazing and stepped up. The meals were not a four course meal but they were edible, had a protein and had vegetable which is all I can ask for. I have an amazing church community too. They support my businesses and my family. It’s important to have a village and a group of moms to surround yourself with.

Where is your favorite local place to go with your family?

We love to go out to eat. One of our favorite places is Neds. It’s very family friendly. They have a homemade mac n cheese that my kids can split and it’s homemade and fresh. My daughter loves their fish and grits. We also like to go to the Cold Cow. You could really make a night of it, go to Ned’s for dinner and then go down the street to Cold Cow for dessert.

What is one piece of advice you would give a mom running her own business?

There will be days that you feel like you can conquer the world and there will be days when you feel like a failure. It’s normal. Don’t let those feelings overwhelm you. For me, it’s remembering that my job and my kids and my life are all a gift from God. I approach all of it with a grateful.

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This month we celebrate one special mama! Beth joined us early on in her postpartum journey. She is someone who easily came in and showed us all how working out with a little one is truly possible! Beth is one sweet lady who is easy to talk to and relate with. We love having you in our village, Beth!

Here's a bit about Beth!

Name and Age: Beth Olson, 32

Your Little One's Name and Age: William Olson, 6 months

What are some of your favorite things about being a mom? " I love snuggling with Will, making him smile and laugh, breastfeeding (something I never though I'd say with how difficult it was in the beginning), and seeing him learn new things. I also love staying home with him which is a blessing I didn't think would be possible."

Tell us a few things about yourself! "I am a physical therapist and am currently working very part time teaching classes at the University of St. Augustine where I graduated from in 2011. I am married to Bryan who I met while in school and he is also a physical therapist. We both have always enjoyed working out, being outdoors, and hanging out with friends."

I couldn't survive motherhood without... "I couldn't survive motherhood without my husband and friends. The 4th trimester was a huge struggle emotionally and the support from Bryan and my friends got me through the tough days! Also, Fit4Mom has been a huge blessing. As soon as I was able to start going when Will was 8 weeks old I started feeling so much better!! Sunshine, exercise, and socialization changes everything!"

What gives you motivation to workout? "My motivation to work out is my emotional well being and I love feeling fit and strong. Our little William gets to watch him mommy and daddy work out everyday and we are sure that he will doing planks by the time he's 1."

What's your favorite thing about living in St. Augustine? "My favorite thing about living in St. Augustine is the community. We attend Good News Church and through that and many other groups we feel so at home here even though we don't have any family here."

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What do we love most about Our Village?

YOU!

Every month we celebrate a mother who is a part of our village, and share a bit about who she is.

This month we are celebrating our girl, Karissa. She has been with us for a few months and having her has been a ray of sweet sunshine! She has the brightest demeanor, and a "down to earth" personality.

Here's what Karissa had to share with us!

Name & Age: Karissa, 34

Little One's Name & Age: Hannah, 15 1/2 months

What are Some of Your Favorite Things About Being a Mom? I love watching her explore her world and learn new things; it is really fun to watch her turn into a little person! However, my favorite are all the cuddles and love she gives me!

Tell Us a Few Things About Yourself! I am originally from Pittsburgh, PA, and moved to FL about 3 1/2 years ago. Before becoming a SAHM, I got a Master's Degree in Architecture and worked as a home designer. I love painting, art, reading, traveling, and drinking with friends!

I Couldn't Survive Motherhood Without... Technology! Before Motherhood, I swore there would be NO screen time, but reality set in, and you gotta do what you gotta do as the say.

What Gives You Motivation to Workout? My sanity! I am a much better mom and wife when I get to blow off a little steam! I also do it for the energy and body image... I feel much better when I can fit into my clothes!

What's Your Favorite Thing About Living in St. Augustine? Sunshine, beach, and friendliness of everyone here!

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We are back at it again with our mama of the month spotlight!

This month we are shining the spotlight on one of our founding mamas, Allie. She has been nothing short of a light and positive source of energy in our classes. She is someone who will always have a smile on her face and a willingness to work hard. It has been such a pleasure having her in our village. Feeling her relaxed and precious spirit amongst us will always be appreciated!

Here's our interview with Allie!

Your name and age: Allie, 28

Your little one's name and age: Isla, 2

What are some of your favorite things about being a mom? I loved experiencing the miracle of growing a tiny human and now watching her grow and learn to be her own little person. It's really fun watching Isla's personality develop and seeing which things she takes after me for and which traits she gets from her daddy. It's a lot of fun that she can communicate now and carry on a conversation. She is hilarious and always has us laughing!

Tell us a few things about yourself! I'm a Saint Augustine Beach native. I love math and have a masters degree in accounting, but am currently enjoying being a stay-at-home mom. I married my high school sweetheart in 2012 and love spending time with my family and friends at the beach or on the boat.

I couldn't survive motherhood without... My village! I am so blessed that my family and my in-laws live in St. Augustine. I always have someone to love on Isla and help out when I need it. Great mom friends are a must, too!

What gives you motivation to work out? As Isla became more mobile and active, I realized I needed to get fit and be able to keep up! I never want her to have to miss out on something because I was too tired or not strong enough. I also want to be healthy and be able to be around to play with my own grandkids one day!

What's your favorite thing about living in St. Augustine? I love the sense of community. Even though our little town keeps growing, it is still in so many ways the same small town I grew up in where everyone knows everybody and we all look out for and care about each other. The beach doesn't hurt either ;)

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We are back to it this month with celebrating our lovely mamas!

Our Mama of the month for February is Erin! She initially came to class in November, and was in the first weeks of her second pregnancy. She has been such an amazing addition to our village, and nothing but pure motivation to all of us women when it comes to taking care of ourselves. I have been so thrilled and encouraged by her presence, and the positive influence she has been for all our moms.

Here's a little bit about Erin!

  • NAME &AGE: Erin, 29
  • Your little one's Name & Age: Melanie, "Ellie" is 15 months old, and I am 21 weeks with a boy.
  • What are some of your favorite things about being a mom? I love watching Ellie learn something new! And being a mom has taught me so much about God's love for us, that unconditional love.
  • Tell us a few things about yourself! I'm born and raised in St. Augustine, I'm and Occupational Therapist, but I currently stay home full-time, and I've been married for 4 years.
  • I couldn't survive motherhood without... supportive family and friends (and google!)
  • What gives you motivation to workout? I struggled to get back into working out after Ellie was born, but I love the way it makes me feel. My self-confidence has gone up and I love getting to know other moms!
  • What's your favorite thing about living in St. Augustine? I love being so close to the beach!

We are love having you with us, Erin! You are an amazing mama to sweet Ellie, and we are so blessed to have you!

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Here at FIT4MOM we want nothing more than to celebrate our women. Each one of us has something amazing to share and offer. At FIT4MOM St. Augustine Beach we are going to feature a new mama each month and hear her story!

Our first and one of our founding mamas is Angela! She is a new mama to little miss Bryn, who is 8.5 months old. From the week and a half that I have known Angela, she is one of the warmest and friendliest women I have met. I am so excited to share a bit of her with you. Here we go!

*What are some of your favorite things about being a mom? "I love seeing things through her eyes. It has been a lot of fun watching her grow and learn, I've allowed myself to slow down and be in the moment with her, so it has kind of been like childhood 2.0. Every day is new and fun! She also happens to think I'm the funniest person in the world, which is an ego boost. I'll do the most ridiculous things to hear her laugh!

*Tell us a few things about yourself! "The husband and I love being outdoors. We're actually in the process of converting a sprinter van into a camper van. We plan on living in it and traveling all over the US for a year once Bryn turns 2. We'll be documenting the experience from start to finish. Follow us on our journey! INSTAGRAM- @fromourvantagepoint

*I couldn't survive motherhood without... "Coffee :) But seriously, motherhood would've swallowed me whole by now if it weren't for my husband, Eric. He has the patience of a saint and never shies away from sharing the responsibilities of parenthood. He's forever an encouraging and supportive, AND he cooks and makes me coffee. My hero :)

*What gives you motivation to work out? "Aside from the dreaded thought of leggings being in constant rotation another winter... I was really starting to get bummed out about the lack of energy I had. I'm not self-motivated when it comes to fitness; the gym was never my style and I'd find any excuse not to pop in the work-out DVD's I have. I do best when I have accountability, so I jumped at the chance to join Stroller Strides. AND being one of the first of my friends to have a baby, I was happy to have the added bonus of making some mom friends!"

*What's your favorite thing about living in St. Augustine? "The fortune of enjoying the outdoors the majority of the year. Living in such close proximity to the ocean, intracoastal, and springs is a blast.