Q&A with Libbie Summers
Culinary expert and founder of her own lifestyle brand, A Food-Inspired Life, Libbie Summers is a chic mother, wife and entrepreneur loving life in Savannah, Georgia! Summers first honed her cooking skills as a chef on private yachts and now runs her own business where her aesthetic transforms meals into beautiful (and tasty) creations. She's produced content for The Huffington Post, Bon Appétit, The Food Network Magazine, Southern Living, Better Homes and Gardens and more. Summers also wrote two books, The Whole Hog Cookbook and Sweet and Vicious- Baking with Attitude. Below, Summers shared the five pantry must-haves for moms, her day-to-day style and what she and her family did on Sunday nights.
BR: What do you love most about being a mom?
LS: My son is very funny... in a way that he doesn't even realize. He'll tell a story and my husband and I will just howl. Nothing makes me happier than to listen to him regale us with his day-to-day life as only he can tell it. Dry, self-depricating and wet-your-pants funny.
BR: What is the number one way in which motherhood has changed you?
LS: Motherhood has helped me to be less selfish and more present.
BR: Did you breast-feed your children? If so, what piece of clothing made nursing easier for you?
LS: Probably the most excited I was about being pregnant was finally leaving my "A" cup behind– even for a short period. Sadly that didn't happen and I didn't have the option of breast-feeding. I went into delivery as a small "B" cup and left slightly smaller.
BR: What is your day-to-day mom style?
LS: I love a high-low kind of look. Kind of tomboy style mixed with a little high fashion and vintage. When my son was little, there was a lot of great white shirts, jeans and a pop of color in an Hermes scarf. Now, I love a great vintage dress and oxfords. Trousers that are in big colors and a simple shirt. If I wear a pattern, it's usually just on one piece. There's always a big pop of color though– in a cardigan or something. I still love and collect Hermes scarves, so they show up on my body, framed in my house and in the makings of throw pillows for a certain sofa that needs the extra help.
BR: You have built such an amazing lifestyle brand. Your son is older now and obviously more self-sufficient. Will you please share with us how you made time to build your brand while he was younger? How did you balance work and family life?
LS: I married a great man! Honestly, if it weren't for my husband who supports all my work it would have been much harder. When our son was younger, my husband and I traveled a lot for work. We made a vow never to be away from each other for more than two weeks and to never be gone from home at the same time, so one of us was always home with our son. Very Branjelina of us, right?! We were lucky enough to hear a very famous child psychologist speak once and he drove home how important it was to make our relationship (parents) the most important relationship in the house. By being happy with each other, then our son would feel that love between us and know that he, too, was loved. I preach that to every young family I meet. Now that I have an older son, I can see where that advice paid off. With my relationship with my husband and how well-adjusted our son is (most of the time).
BR: As a chef, author and creative director of your own lifestyle brand, how do you find time for yourself? What do you do to unwind?
LS: I've been working on making time for myself. It's important for the creative process to be around places, people and things that inspire you, but you also have to have the quiet time to process it all. When I have to write an article or work on a script, I put on headphones and get to work. The music takes me to another place. I also have Savannah Power Yoga. It helps a lot... when I get there.
BR: Did becoming a mother change the way you look at food and/or meal preparation? How so?
LS: Yes, for awhile. There's a reality of not always having a lot of time for meal preparation. We always eat fresh... garden to table before it was a "thing". But I learned to prepare our meals faster so we could have more times at the dinner table together. And, I didn't sweat it if a meal was just a great PB&J. The most important thing was we were sitting down as a family with no distractions enjoying the stories of each other's day. When our son was young, we even instituted "Dress Up Dinner" every Sunday night. We all got dressed to the nines and sat at the table with a more formal place setting. It was a way to teach our son proper table manners in a fun way. He loved getting his little blue blazer and Bermuda shorts on! We didn't do it in a preachy way. Just led by example. It was fun and it worked.
BR: What five ingredients should every mom have in her pantry?
- Good Stock (vegetable or chicken): If you have Good Stock, you can whip up a quick soup in a flash. Add a few vegetables, some pasta, a little chicken, beans, whatever. But you have to have Good Stock to start with. I like to make my own and keep it in the freezer, but I still keep a few boxes of Stock in the pantry just in case I run out.
- Peanut Butter: Always. When you need protein fast!
- Some Sort of Pasta: No matter what time of year, you can add sautéed seasonal vegetables to some pasta, sprinkle with a bit of great cheese and you have a wonderful main course. I wish I could say I loved whole wheat pasta, but I don't. If you do, that's even better.
- Popcorn: When all else fails, what's better than watching a movie with your family and sharing a big bowl of popcorn? Not much.
- High Quality Dark Chocolate Bars: Breaking off a piece from a really good dark chocolate bar can curb my sweet tooth just enough to keep me from eating the entire chocolate cake I just baked.
BR: Please share with us one of your favorite Liibie Summers' videos for moms.
LS: I love this video. Since Summer is fast approaching for all areas of the country and then Autumn right after, that means pie making time to me. I love this video because it gives you ideas on how to take a family pie recipe (or any of mine in my new cookbook, Sweet and Vicious– baking with attitude) over the top with a creative pie crust crimp!!
BR: What are your five must-have pieces from BURU and why do they work in your lifestyle?
- SAM & LAVI Chambray Overalls: I'm obsessed with all things jumpsuit and overalls right now, So the Whitney Chambray Overalls from SAM & LAVI are a must. I might even cut them off next year for a whole new summer look.
- Julie Brown Prescott Black Shorts: Can someone please buy me the Julie Brown Prescott shorts in black linen right now!! I love these because they are washable and a bit slouchy. I can add any great blouse and some cool summer heels in a bright color and I have a great look.
- John & Jenn Red Loose Fit Cardigan: The John & Jenn sheer loose fit cardigan is so great. I love cardigans for all seasons. It gets a bit chilly in Savannah, GA on the beach at night. This cardigan with the cutest elbow patches would be the perfect thing to throw over my bathing suit once the sun starts going down.
- Ace & Jig Spectrum Plaid Midi Skirt: The Ra Ra Elastic Waist Midi Skirt from Ace & Jig is adorable! I love the vintage vibe it has and would wear it with a simple t-shirt and flats for a chic summer look. Hair in a top-knot of course!
- By Zoe Double Pocket Button-Up Blouse: I'm always on the hunt for a great white button-up. This blouse from By Zoe is a find. The color is just a little something different that makes it too special. I'd buy this blouse to wear as a beach coverup too. It's a chic SPF 30!
BR: Finally, what is the one thing you wish you would have known before becoming a mother?
LS: Just be present. Don't about reading a every book about motherhood, just be present. Be present mentally and emotionally. You don't have to be present physically all the time. Just really be present when you are with your child. Your phone is not important. Instagram will wait. Just be present.
Shop her Tastemaker Sale HERE.