Member’s Spotlight – Blaise Cannon

Blaise is a marketer, architect and devoted dad to Atlas. We learn more about his incredible career and loved hearing about his parenting tips.

Describe a typical work day?
I wake up at 5.30 to jog in my neighborhood, I get my exercise out of the way because when I get back my son Atlas wakes up. After breakfast, we head to Big and Tiny at Second Home in Hollywood. Once I drop off Atlas in the Big and Tiny pods, I settle in the courtyard or on the roof at Second Home to check emails and catch-up on any overnight or earlier timezone developments.

At 1pm I go to the Big and Tiny pods and feed Atlas his lunch after he wakes up from his morning nap. I then focus on an afternoon of work before picking up Atlas at 4.30pm and driving home. I love to cook for the family and once Atlas is in bed, I catch up with my partner or we like to watch TV with a glass of wine (we have been watching the shocking the NXIVM documentary on HBO Max).

What would be your tip(s) for any new working parent?
The biggest game-changer for me, especially during the most intense pandemic restrictions, have been to just own the time where you can’t get much done. My partner is an essential worker, so I was at home with our son for the most of each day.

At first, I was trying to work and parent simultaneously during his wake windows. Perhaps others are better at multitasking than I, but I found I wasn’t doing either working or parenting very effectively and it left me feeling down on myself and generally disappointed with how each day was going. I resolved to just be a parent during the time when he needed engagement.

Rather than having the laptop out while he tried to get my attention from the floor, we went on walks and I gave him (mostly) undivided attention. I found the additional work time that was required in the evening or at night did not significantly increase, and I felt much better about the work I was doing and the kind of parent I was able to be.

What are your favorite things to do as a family in Los Angeles?
We love packing a picnic and walking around the CalTech campus in Pasadena with Atlas in the stroller. There is a lovely pond filled with turtles that is a big time attraction for the kids and the architecture and grounds are a peaceful respite for the adults.

How do you take time for yourself? (When you get time for yourself!)

I don’t get too much, but my partner is really supportive of me paddling out to surf at least once per week. Usually I set out before sunrise on either Saturday or Sunday to meet up with a buddy or two somewhere in West Malibu for a few waves. I can still usually be back home in time for lunch and an active afternoon with the family.

How do you deal with failure?
In the abstract, I usually beat myself up about it for a time and then resolve to never let it happen again. More tangibly, I usually seek some intense physical activity like a hilly trail run or a marathon surf session. Compensating with a bit of time in isolation is also helpful for me, a kind of monastic reflection period, whether through those physical activities or a long drive–something along those lines.

What has been your biggest achievement professionally?
While working at an architecture firm in Paris some five years ago, I got to contribute to the team working on the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which opened at the beginning of 2018. In particular, I developed an algorithm that optimized the design for the Grand Vestibule, the first gallery in the procession of the museum, and the result is what you see built there today! I even have a tattoo on my right forearm to commemorate its completion.

 (Courtesy of The National)

What are your hopes for 2021?
I hope that we will get a chance to be a family out from under the dark cloud of pandemic. Our son was only out of the hospital for about six-weeks when LA went into lockdown. While I definitely look forward to the day when we can eat at a cafe or ride public transportation, not having family nearby has been particularly complicated since he hasn’t got to spend much time at all with relatives. I am most hopeful that will change in 2021.

Partner post by Sunnie: How to Balance Sugar, Sweets & Treats

Sunnie provide the little ones at Big and Tiny with lunch and snacks to keep them energized and nourished throughout the day! We wanted to share the important information provided by their in-house nutritionist, Jill Castle, MS, RDN, on balancing sugar and treats with children.

Kids eat more sugary foods today than at any other time in our history. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), sugar makes up about 17% of what children consume each day. Why are sugary foods gaining a stronghold in kids’ diets? For one, there’s simply more options available. Also, kids are being introduced to them earlier, cementing a preference for them. 

What’s a parent to do? Some parents have unwittingly turned into food cops, policing every morsel of food that enters their child’s mouth. Others feel they’ve been set up to fail. Navigating these foods without controlling them seems super-human.

I get it. As a pediatric dietitian, I’ve seen families struggle with sweets and treats. On the one hand, parents want their kids to enjoy them. On the other hand, they don’t want them to take over the healthy diet they’ve worked hard to establish.

The good news is there’s a way to manage them. A way that will allow your child to enjoy them without ruining his healthy diet or his relationship with you or food.

But first, let’s clarify what constitutes sugar, because many parents are confused.  

 What is added sugar?

The sugar recommendations for kids and the guidelines put out by health organizations, detail the limits on added sugar. Added sugar is the refined sugar, such as white sugar, brown sugar or agave, that’s added to foods during processing. For example, homemade cookies and quick breads have a cup or two of sugar in the recipe, which makes them sweet. Added sugar is found in candy, cookies, and sweetened beverages like soda and lemonade.

Other foods contain added sugar but aren’t so obvious – they’re hidden. They may be found in mayonnaise, bread, baby food, cereal, crackers, tortillas, sausages, salad dressings, packaged oatmeal, yogurt, and spaghetti sauce, for instance.

Recommendations from the American Heart Association (AHA) state that children’s added sugar intake should be less than 6 teaspoons per day (or less than 25 grams). This doesn’t mean the number of teaspoons you actually add to your child’s food. This is the daily added sugar allowance from all food sources, including obvious and hidden sources. 

For younger children (under the age of two years), experts from the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) caution against introducing added sugar in the daily diet. If you can hold off on introducing sweets and treats until later, you can get a head start on helping your child develop healthy eating habits.

Reading the ingredient labels on food packages can help you detect added sugar. Words that end with “-ose,” like sucrose or glucose, and ingredients such as honey, molasses, agave, and coconut sugar indicate sources of added sugar.

 What Does Not Constitute Added Sugar?

Sometimes parents get confused about sugar, vilifying fruit or milk as sources of sugar. They see the Nutrition Facts Panel and see the word “Sugars” and automatically think it means added sugar. It doesn’t. There’s actually a separate line for added sugars, which makes interpreting the labels on food packages much easier.

The nuance is this: Yes, fruit and milk contain sugar, specifically fructose and lactose, but these are not added. They occur naturally. Grapes, banana and watermelon are naturally packaged with sweetness. Nature intended milk to have lactose, and fruit to have fructose as part of the package. Because these foods don’t contain a source of added sugar, you won’t find formal limitations for them in the diets of children.

 How to Balance Sweets and Treats

Including sweets and treats in the diets of children is a balancing act. Research informs us that eliminating them altogether or tightly controlling them may drive children to like them more and overindulge when eating them. Alternatively, creating a free-for-all with sweets will likely lead to overeating them. You need to hit the sweet spot – a strategy for including sweets.

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Use the 90 – 10 Rule. The 90 – 10 rule is based on the idea that 10% of calories in the daily diet come from sugary and fatty foods, or sweets and treats. Essentially, 90% of what kids eat should be nutritious, wholesome foods, leaving the remaining balance for sweets and treats. For most kids, this ends up being one or two sweets and treats per day, on average, and in a normal serving size.
  1. When do sweets make sense? You can make sweets a part of your everyday life, or not. Some families do well with a petite sweet every day, served alongside a meal or snack. Other families experience more sweets on the weekends due to parties, sports and other family activities, so they pick a day or two during the week for sweets and treats and allow more on the weekends. Figure out the right balance that will work for your family.
  1. Use naturally sweet foods to curb cravings. How about a bowlful of fruit with a dollop of vanilla yogurt? Or a piece of peanut butter toast with a few carob chips perched on top? The treats in our Sunnie® lunch kits are primarily made with dates, which are a source of natural sugar, not added sugar. While you may find some coconut sugar here and there, we add the least amount for the most flavor.
  1. Focus on eating enjoyment. Allow your child to enjoy sweets when he has them. No guilt trip. Period. This may damage his relationship with food, and confuse him. After all, sweets do taste good! 
  1. Don’t blame your child (or yourself) if your child likes sweets. Our little ones are human. And they’re wired for a sweet preference (amniotic fluid and breast milk are sweet!). Our larger food environment puts sweets and treats front and center for kids. If they taste them, see them, and smell them, they’ll probably like and want them.

Whether we like it or not, sweets and treats are part of the childhood nutrition experience. We need to help our kids navigate them, and not instill guilt or create unhealthy eating habits.

At Sunnie, we’re committed to creating what we call “next generation” sweets, using low glycemic sweeteners or natural sugars. Yes, we include a sweet treat in every lunch pack. But, our nutritionist uses the 90 – 10 Rule to balance all our lunch kits. We focus on natural sources of sweetness and try hard to eliminate added sugar in our treats. Just look at our nutrition panel. You’ll find low sugars (which mostly come from natural sources) and no added sugar.

We know you want to feel good about what you feed your child. And we believe your child should enjoy eating balanced meals, even with a sweet treat.

Shine on!

Jill Castle, MS, RDN

Member’s Spotlight – Kate Insley

Kate is a designer and mother to Penelope. She has been a member of our Silver Lake location since we opened! From the UK and having lived in NYC, she had to find a support system in LA. Read on to find out more! 

What do you do?
I design retail spaces, installations and displays, mostly for fashion brands, along with managing their visual merchandising needs. I am also working on a personal project that I am hoping to launch in Spring 2021! 

You’re from the United Kingdom, what took you to Los Angeles? 
Short answer is my husband is from here. We met in New York, but I was living in London at the time. I moved to the US in 2017, and lived between NY and LA. I prefer the open space, the nature, the healthier lifestyle and the weather in Los Angeles, whenever I was getting on the plane back to NY, I was always sad to be leaving the LA climate. For those reasons, we decided to have our baby in LA and set up life here, instead of being back and forth. 

For you, what’s the key difference between the UK and USA?
So many things, but the one thing I like most about living here, is the opportunities the US has to offer. There is an openness to being able to follow, achieve and succeed in what you do. You can wear many hats, instead of being pigeon-holed to one. People here have many jobs, different jobs, jump industries etc., and that’s normal and accepted more easily I think.

What is the biggest challenge of being a working mother?
Having some downtime and time to yourself to recharge. 

What is your biggest achievement to date?Probably my daughter and my husband. Making a wonderful and healthy little girl is everything, watching her grow, learn, discover and love is so beautiful.

Kate Insley

Bringing up a child far from home can be tough, what support groups or organizations have your turned to? 

My support group is Big and Tiny and friends I have made who also have children similar ages to Penelope. I honestly don’t think I would have returned back to work if Big and Tiny didn’t exist, and don’t know what I’d do without it. I have never felt separated from my daughter by working from Big and Tiny (she was only 4.5 months old when I returned back to work full time), so being under one roof is great, her being close to me was, and still is important, so I could breastfeed her, and see her when I was available. With both my husband and I working, I prefer this way of balancing work and child.

How do you take time for yourself? (When you get time for yourself!)
I do Pilates twice a week, to rebuild my body and my strength and breath. I also enjoy taking a bath, reading, relaxing, meditating after Penelope goes to bed each night. Those few hours are crucial to my wellbeing and energy for the next day. 

What’s been your biggest learning of 2020?
To keep things more local and not to travel as much, taking more care of our Planet. I have also loved reduced working hours and spending more time in the day with Penelope, right now I am working part-time, and that balance is great. 

Member’s Spotlight – Baja B

Beja is a professional photographer and mother of two. We talk about how she got into photography and the all important balance between pursuing her passion and motherhood. Check out her work here.

How would you describe your style of photography?
If I had to define it, I’d say my style is organic, genuine and connected. I’ve always had an admiration for classical painters, and I’ve spent a lot of time at the MET in New York City. I adore rich, deep, and bold colors; smooth but with texture.

How long have you been taking professional photos and how did your passion start?
I’ve been a professional photographer for 15 years, working in portrait, documentary, event, and production photography in New York City.
My passion started after graduating from college – I quickly discovered that tourism wasn’t my calling. Along with the uncomfortable realization that followed: what to do instead? I had also just moved to the US, relocating to Brooklyn, NY from Budapest, Hungary. I worked as a nanny for a family, and the dad, Dan Cordle, happened to be the kindest human I’ve ever met and an amazing photographer. He quickly became my mentor, teaching me to shoot and develop my own film. Eventually, I transitioned to digital photography and started freelancing as a professional.

What childcare support do you rely on when working in the field?
I have 2 young children: aged 6 and 3. My first grader is currently in a pod and my youngest is the happiest at Big and Tiny.
The only reason I’ve been able to return to work, and find the energy to pick up my camera again is thanks to Big and Tiny. She is excited to join her friends every morning and literally never wants to leave! Big shout out to all the wonderful teachers – they are the best!
And last but not least, I adore Keltse, the owner and creator of Big and Tiny – she gently reminds me, when I feel a bit lost in this pandemic world, of gratitude.

What are you most proud of professionally?
I feel the proudest and happiest in the moment I deliver the final portraits to my clients. I print and frame my own work, and I need to see their reaction when they open their package! It’s incredibly fulfilling. Having spent so much time with them, and their images, they’ve become friends.
A very close second, is receiving an email from a client, years after working together, telling me how much happiness they get looking at the art on their wall.

How do you confront failure?
It’s hard, but I accept it. I remind myself that giving up is the failure.
We recently got a book for our six year old called ‘A Kids Book About Failure’ by Dr. Laymon Hicks – it’s a good read for grown ups too. A quote from the book became our new mantra: “Failure is not final, it’s a part of the process.” If you don’t try, you won’t fail but you won’t grow either!

Children are not the easiest subjects to photograph! What is your top tip?
My top tip is to surrender and let children be themselves. I believe success in capturing children’s portraits depends on your mindset.
Prepare yourself to surrender and take your ego out of it – especially with younger kids. It is not in their nature to stay still; frozen in their movements. Instead, make a game of taking their photos. Get them to laugh. Be extra silly, they won’t be able to resist. Remember, our children are a reflection of us. If we feel good and at ease, they will too!
More practical tips: plan your shoot around their schedule. Avoid disrupting nap time, and use the time of the day when they are the most energized. Make sure they aren’t hungry (or hangry) and plan something fun afterwards, too. Ice cream is a great motivator. Last but most important: let them wear comfortable clothing, that you won’t mind getting dirty. They are kids, getting dirty means they had fun.

What’s your motto in life?
Always choose kindness.

Big and Tiny Stories- Antonia Malim (Née Plunket)

Antonia Plunkett is a hospitality consultant, from London living in Echo Park, LA with her husband, son Jack and their dog Kodak. She was brought up in France where her love for food and beautiful establishments started. She has worked in the hospitality industry in London, Hong Kong, Italy and LA. She loves meeting new people and helping them realize their dreams. 
 
How are you finding being a new Mum?
I’ve been very lucky to have an easy baby, which enabled me to go back to work very quickly. Perhaps too quickly! I was back after 11 weeks and in the end decided I needed a bit more time to be at my best and as productive as possible. On the whole it has been an incredible journey and it helps I have a really supportive husband. 
 
Did you have a support system after giving birth?
When you’re pregnant there is a support system; and you are treated as this miraculous being. After the child was born, I struggled to find support; especially as I live so far away from my family. I wish there were more conversations about being a new Mom and so we can be more prepared about having this new identity.
 
As an expat and Brit working in the US, do you feel you are missing a support network of your wider family? 
It 100% it takes a village. So I had to find my village elsewhere since I didn’t know many people in LA at first. Finally I found Big and Tiny which is a place I can get my work done, build back my confidence and find a group of like-minded parents. 
 
How are you finding balancing your professional life with your new family? 
Big and Tiny have helped me find a balance that I am really comfortable with. I don’t feel I have had to make sacrifices at all. I know Jack is in good hands and if anything happens I am just next door. We, working Mums, always feel a certain level of guilt either to our bosses or to our child. Places like Big and Tiny are vital to bringing about an end to that guilt.

As a hospitality expert, is your industry a nurturing place for a working Mum. 
Yes and no. Yes because a lot of women work in my industry and therefore there is this general understanding of each other and our needs. 
No, because it is very demanding as it requires late nights and working weekends. So at some point it becomes impossible for a mother to execute some of the roles offered within the hospitality industry. 
Who I work with and my job role has evolved with my own personal situation and lifestyle. I definitely can no longer work for a snazzy nightclub like I did during my wild Hong Kong days!
 
 
Is being a mother really the most rewarding job in the world? 
(Laughs) Yes and no, again. Yes of course. I’m learning everyday about being a mother and learning a lot about myself in the process. But for me getting back to work was really important, personally I enjoy being in a pressured work environment, meeting and connecting with people, and making things happen everyday. 
 
Do you still find any time for you? To pamper? 
Pamper? I wish. But I always make time after Jack has gone to bed to have aperitivo with my husband or to watch a current documentary. I feel a child shouldn’t 100% dictate what a family is doing; we can still go on culturally awakening trips together. Jack just needs to behave! 
Oh and Big and Tiny do offer manicures and facials at work – which is a complete godsend. 
 
Is child care expensive where you live?
Very. I was pretty shocked by the child care prices compared to the UK even. So I limit Jack’s time with a nanny. And I find it more lucrative for him to come with me to Big and Tiny, besides he is a lot more entertained there! 
 
When you first returned back into a work environment did you realize that you had changed?
I was more emotional and burst into tears more (Laughs!.) – mainly due to lack of sleep. Other than that I felt more powerful, confident and grown up. I stood up for myself more, because I realized there are more important things in life. So I got rid of a lot of negative energy and negative people when I returned to work. Something I never had the courage to do before.

Members Clubs and Co-working spaces are your thing. Tell us LA in relation to London and beyond. 
The LA landscape is one behind London when it comes to membership clubs. In fact some great spaces I’ve been to started in London and opened an outpost in LA. Such as Second Home, Soho House and the H Club. 
London just does private member club really well and they’ve been around since the 1600’s – but they were stuffy gentlemen’s clubs then. But LA has integrated the work-life- wellness balance in such a great way, and therefore their co-working spaces are at the top of their game, they offer hotel like amenities and foster collaboration. 
 
Should you ever get a chance for a date night, where would go?
You can’t beat getting a table at the Hollywood Bowl, sharing a bottle of wine and a platter of cheese over live music. One of my favourite restaurants is Cafe Stella in Silverlake. It’s a French Bistro and it reminds me of my time in Paris. Otherwise getting out of town to stay at the gorgeous The Colony in Palm Springs or an airbnb in Big Bear Lake for a date weekend is always on the radar.

Finding time as a parent and composer

Giovanni Piacentini.

I have always been very devoted to my passion of performing and writing music. Like any endeavor, you get what you give and the grander your aspirations and ambition are, the more time you need to dedicate yourself to whatever it is you love.

Being more efficient.

Before we had our first child, I took most of the free time I had for granted. I wasn’t “in a hurry” or with a constant to-do list on the back of my mind. With a few exceptions that demanded a certain level of responsibility, most of my free time was spent doing the things I loved most; traveling and playing the guitar or writing music. I would spend many hours listening to music, playing the guitar, sketching out my own first compositions without a time constraint or really much of a schedule at all.

Becoming more efficient.

Two kids later, I’ve had countless sleepless nights. I now have a sizable to-do list and much more pressure and yet, I’ve never been more efficient. At first, I didn’t realize that this enormous time vortex known as fatherhood would be a blessing in disguise for my career and my time management skills. You become more efficient because you have to, otherwise you wouldn’t have much of a life outside of your parenting duties. You realize that 6 or 7 hours of sleep is usually enough and that being very focused on a task for 45 minutes is way more effective than spending hours on it half heartedly.

If used wisely, this new “time constraint” that comes with being a parent is a great way to discipline yourself. You have much less time so you must lear how to use it more efficiently and that in turn makes for better results.

Efficiency Vs Abundance

You have much less time so you must learn how to use it more efficiently and that in turn makes for better results. I know realize what I could’t possible have understood back then. It’s not “how much” time you have but how you use it that counts. Efficiency of time vs. abundance of it. Try switching your mindset and crush your “to-do” list!