Before becoming a mother, Ashley McMakin followed her cooking passion and began a small catering business in Birmingham, Alabama. Through word-of-mouth and the deliciousness of her catered dishes, people kept calling and her business kept thriving! Soon, Andy, her husband, joined her in growing the business. In June of 2007 they opened the very first Ashley Mac's location in Bluff Park and, as the business continued to flourish, they opened the second location in Cahaba Heights in November of 2008. Today, in addition to overseeing Ashley Mac's with her husband, she is raising two boys who love to help her experiment in the kitchen! Find out more about Ashley McMakin by reading her Q&A below!
BR: What do you love most about being a mom?
AM: I love the LITTLE THINGS! Waking up to them calling, "Mommy!!," in the morning, big hugs, snotty kisses, seeing their faces when they get excited about a frog or dirt and cuddle before bed.
BR: What is the number one way in which motherhood has changed you?
AM: I think the Lord has used motherhood to make me less selfish, more compassionate and slow down to enjoy the little things.
BR: Did you choose to breast-feed your little one? If so, what was the biggest wardrobe challenge you faced?
AM: I did. Probably not being able to find dressy clothes that were nursing-friendly.
BR: As a business owner and mom, what is your day to day style?
AM: It depends on the day! Ha! When I am working from home you will usually find me in my workout clothes– I like to be comfy. When I go in to the Cafe's [Ashley Mac's Cafe], I usually will wear jeans and a casual top that I can roll up my sleeves in and help out if I need to. In the summer, I love to wear casual dresses.
BR: Please share with us five mommy must-haves from BURU and why they work in your mommy lifestyle.
- SAM & LAVI Kylee Chambray Shorts: They're comfy, easy to run around with the kiddos in, but you can still look fashionable.
- Mothers en Vogue Waterfall Wrap: It's classic and comfy but can instantly feel chic.
- Mothers en Vogue One Shoulder Maxi Goddess Dress: Because every mom needs a sexy black dress!
- Hutch Yellow Drawstring Shirtdress: I love the bright color and comfy yet put together look.
- UMANO Oatmeal Tee with Custom Art Pocket: Because every mom needs a cute knit tee that you can throw in the wash!
BR: I have seen that your two boys are little gourmet eaters! How do you encourage them to try new foods?
AM: They LOVE to help me cook! I think when they can engage with me on what our family is going to eat it helps them want to try it. I also "talk up" healthy foods– or sometimes I pull the "this is your daddy's very favorite!" line.
BR: How do you incorporate the recipes form Ashley Mac's into your family's meals?
AM: Honestly, when I'm home, I'm usually trying new things. I love to experiment and am always looking for something new to add to the Ashley Mac's menu.
BR: What is your favorite dish/item on the Ashley Mac's menu?
AM: Our chicken salad is super popular and we ALWAYS have a quart of it in our refrigerator. My kids eat it for at least five meals a week!
BR: Between family and work, do you ever find time for yourself? How do you unwind?
AM: My husband is a huge help and will often take the boys to "play" on Saturdays. I usually tend to slip away to shop, get a pedicure or meet a friend for coffee. I also love to exercise and go to yoga and some high-intensity workout classes about five days a week– it's my stress reliever! Oh, I also love to walk around Whole Foods or the farmer's market in the summer.
BR: I know that you and your husband work together. How do you and your husband make off-duty/date time together?
AM: That used to be a big struggle when we first started the business. We could not separate work and marriage. Now, we have figured out how and when to set boundaries so that has helped tremendously. For example, once we get home, we try to not talk about work unless it's absolutely necessary. And on date nights, our phones get turned off and we don't talk about work at all.
BR: What are your favorites in the following categories?
- Brand(s) of Children's Clothing: Hannah Kate
- Place(s) to Travel with Kids: We LOVE the beach! We usually spend three weeks there every summer. I'm glad our boys love it as much as we do!
- Beauty Products: I've been making some of my own with essential oils! Natural and fabulous!
- Organic Food Products: Ak-Mak crackers, Stonyfield yogurt for the boys and any Organic 365 products at Whole Foods.
- Shoes: I have a lot of Lucky Brand flats that are so cute and comfortable to be on my feet all day. I also love my Hunter rain boots.
BR: What is the one thing you wish you would've known before becoming a mom?
AM: Looking back, I think it was good that I didn't know much. The hardships can be VERY hard and frustrating, but the GOOD is better than I ever could have imagined! We struggled with infertility for three years before getting pregnant (via medical help) and I think the Lord really used that time to prepare me for motherhood. I was so excited to wake up in the middle of the night because all I could think of was all the years I had cried and prayed for the opportunity to have that child. Feeling very blessed!
Thank you so much, Ashley Deaton!
Shop her Tastemaker Sale HERE.
Learn more about her cafe's, Ashley Mac's, HERE.
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