Frances Tulk-Hart: The Believer

Frances Tulk-Hart has the kind of CV creatives dream about: Interning at Oscar de la Renta and Betsey Johnson and styling at Nylon magazine before she graduated from school. She then decided to become a photographer, painter, interviewer, filmmaker and musician. Mom to a three-year-old girl, Frances is expecting another daughter, all while helming 5 minutes with Franny, the online expression of her talents and inspirations.

Tell us about 5 Minutes With Franny.

I started it about 4 years ago. I was in a cab in India, staring out the window, and it just popped into my head. I know all these amazing people. I've met so many wonderful people in my adult life, and it'd be great to just them and hear their story and let their story inspire other people. Because with my career, listening to other people's stories has always been so inspiring, so I thought it would be fun to share the love

You interned at Oscar de la Renta and Betsey Johnson. How did you become a photographer?

I was still in school and a teacher suggested I would be really good at styling. I dove into it and loved it. I became a contributing fashion editor at Nylon and just went out into the world. I did that for ten years. The love started to wane about seven years in and coincidentally, at the same time, I picked up a camera and that love exploded. I did both for a few years because I had to. I was making money with styling but not with photography. When I started making money photography, I let go of styling. It’s been ten years of photography now and last year I started painting, too.

How do you follow your gut and move onto the next thing?

For some people the passion doesn't ever wane. To be strong enough to say the passion is waning, to acknowledge that, is tough. But it’s not the 50’s anymore. I think as humans, we're not built to do one thing on repeat everyday. There are going to be some sacrifices and some scary things, but as soon as you switch your mindset—now I'm a photographer, now I'm a painter, now I'm a whatever—if you say it, other people will believe it. You just start doing it. You start learning it. I believe in transferable skills so much.  I'm hoping that the stories I tell can inspire someone who’s stuck to make that leap and be brave. We've only got this one little life.

Let’s talk a bit about your style. How do you describe it and what are your essential pieces?

A mixture of girly, whimsical and tomboy. A pretty floaty dress and a leather jacket. I guess from living in New York when you leave in the morning and often, you don't come back until you go to bed. I'll wear an evening dress with some flats, in the morning and just wear that all day and go into night. Maybe change your shoe, but nine times out of ten, maybe not.  The thing can finish any outfit, or amp up a boring outfit is a cool jacket. That's what I've invested in the most, clothes-wise: jackets. It can change any outfit.

Sai De Silva: The Stylista

With her five-year-old daughter London Scout, Sai de De Silva is one-half of the chicest mother-daughter duo around. Their blog, Scout the City, showcases both their enviable styles and their big city lifestyle. Pregnant with her second child, Sai’s approach to motherhood reflects her fashion sensibility: laid-back and utterly fabulous.

What’s the mission of Scout the City?

I want to promote the fact that, yes, I'm a mom, but it doesn’t mean life is over. A lot of women get so scared about having a child because they think this life is going to be completely shut down. You're going to drive the Caravan and turn into a soccer mom. That's not how I envisioned being a mom. Yes, it was totally scary when I realized I was pregnant, but I still wanted to feel chic and feel great about myself. I still have date night and still go to great restaurants with a great scene to feel youthful.

What's one thing no one tells you about when you get pregnant?

No one will tell you that you'll never sleep again. I used to be a very late riser. After I had London, a few months in, it just changed drastically. I went to Greece and when I came back, I started waking up at 5:00 in the morning and it's never stopped. It got to 6:00 and now I'm back at 5:45.

And you will never eat again. This is how you're going to eat from now on once you have a child. You’re going to circle around her like a shark, ”Are you eating? Are you eating? Are you eating?" When you can notice they're no longer going to eat, you're going to say, "Are you going to eat that?" Then you're just going to pick it up and eat it, even though there's bite marks in it, or they might have licked it and put it back down. That is how you're going to eat. You just end up eating their left-overs. It's sad.

What’s makes a hot mom

I would definitely say how you feel about yourself. Confidence is gorgeous. It’s how you feel about yourself and just owning it. Own it. You're a mom, you can still be hot, you can still be cool. Just own your space.

Nell Diamond: The Sleep Connoisseur

A former financial analyst, Nell Diamond is so passionate about sleep, she launched a luxury bedding line, Hill House Home. About to have her first baby, Nell is juggling being an entrepreneur with being a soon-to-be mom—while still making sleep a priority.

Tell us about Hill House Home.

I have always been obsessed with sleep. Sleep is my passion. I love to sleep but I also love talking about the impact that sleep has on health, mentally and physically. It was while I was working in finance (and not sleeping) that I realized I wanted to pursue sleep as a passion. I applied to business school with the idea to start a company that changes how we think about our homes and our bedrooms in particular. That was Hill House Home. I had this wild idea I could create really beautiful sheets that could help people reimagine the way they live. We launched about seven months ago and we're based in New York City. It’s been really great and fun. 

How do you get your beauty sleep when you're pregnant? Do you have any advice for other pregnant moms out there? 

It's the same thing I say to people who aren't pregnant: It’s not making excuses and being unapologetic about your need to take time for yourself. If you make the sleep a priority, it becomes a priority, and you're able to get the eight hours most people need every single night. That's really it. Make it a priority.

One of the tips I always tell people is to set an alarm for when you're supposed to go to bed, not just for when you wake up. That way, you keep yourself accountable. There were too many nights during my younger days when I would find myself at 3:00 AM like, "I thought I was going to bed at 10.” That's just not productive.

We can hold ourselves accountable. It doesn't matter how much brain juice you drink, how many SoulCycle classes you go to—if you're not getting the right productive sleep, then none of that stuff matters. 

Is there anything you've found that works well for sleeping while pregnant?

The biggest thing about pregnant sleep is changing your position. There's a really interesting statistic I read about how, if a human being sleeps on a wooden floor for, I think the number was 45 days in a row, eventually that wooden floor becomes incredibly comfortable to them and it becomes the best way for them to fall asleep.  Human bodies are really adaptable to any circumstance, so I think it's about figuring out what works for you.

What excites you most about becoming a mother?

I'm really excited to start a family, that's going to be really fun, and I'm excited to see my husband with my baby. I've had this independent relationship with the baby since he's been in my stomach, and it would be great to give my husband a part of that experience once he’s actually here. That’s what I'm most excited for.

Michelle Grant: The Balancer

Michelle Grant is the Founder and CEO of LIVELY, the lingerie brand that mixes athletics with intimates and already has a cult following since its launch this past spring. Michelle is a fierce proponent for supporting other women with her business and her brand, but she is just as fierce about putting her family first. She has one daughter and is pregnant with her second baby and no matter what, Michelle makes sure she’s always home for dinner.

If you had to compare being an entrepreneur to motherhood, what are the crossovers you see?

Motherhood is beyond anything I've ever imagined it could be. Those first few moments with your child are incredible. You feel such a sense of achievement that this human being is growing inside you. It's a proud moment every single day. It’s the same with entrepreneurship. It’s not only the building of a business. It's the building of the team. It's the people you bring in, and seeing them grow and achieve their goals. It's amazing to be able to do both.

How do you "have it all?" What advice do you have on keeping all of the balls in the air?

It's balance. It's setting rules for yourself and for your family. Every day, I leave the office by 6:15 no matter what, so I can spend two hours with my daughter, give her dinner, give her a bath, read her a book and put her to bed.

Family will always come first because she's everything. My family's everything. It makes me a better entrepreneur by having those disciplines in mind and those rules in place. It's setting boundaries. Every morning, I set aside an hour for me to work out and have that time to myself. All of those boundaries make me a better person, a better leader, a better mom, a better team member.

What is your go-to workout? Now that you're pregnant, how has your workout changed?

I've always enjoyed running. I've maintained running throughout this pregnancy, but I've recently started to shift more into SoulCycle, just to absorb the impact. It feels so good to be on that bike and dance with an amazing community of people.

One thing I've always tried to share with other women is, don’t hold back because you're pregnant. Know your body, stay in tune with your body. Don't push yourself, but allow yourself to still be a part of it all.

How would you describe a hot mom?

A hot mom maintains her sense of style, pregnant or not pregnant. A hot mama is still doing what she loves, whether it’s fitness, yoga, art, whatever it is.

Kristin McGee: The Yogini

The yoga and pilates instructor to Manhattan’s celeb set, Kristin McGee is considered one of the pioneers of the yoga movement. Mother to one son, Kristin is pregnant with fraternal boy twins—but that isn’t slowing her (or her headstands) down one bit.

Can we talk about why yoga is so beneficial when you’re pregnant?

Yoga is extremely helpful to help to connect the mind and the body. When your body is going through all these new changes, you're able to really breathe through them, breathe with them, honor your body as it's changing, learn to listen to your body. Women need to first get that sense of mind-body connection and know what's going on in their own body and to be able to trust their instincts, and then modify accordingly. Obviously, you're going to listen to your doctor as well, but I think it's really important for you to be your own guide.

Yoga is great for bringing blood flow to the pelvic floor region. It's great for opening the hips. It's great for preparing moms for labor and delivery because again, one of the things we practice in yoga is getting into an uncomfortable position and learning how to breathe through it. That’s exactly what labor and delivery is. A lot of the warrior poses are great for moms because not only do they strengthen the lower body, they again aid in flexibility.

It's also great for pelvic floor strength because a lot of postures engage the transverse abdominal and pelvic floor muscles, so it helps with that real core connection, preventing things like diastasis. It really gets the pelvic floor muscles strong, so they can recover quickly after childbirth.

Are there specific poses you would recommend for pregnant women ?

Warrior poses for getting strength and confidence in yourself and in your body. Some of the balancing poses, like tree pose. It’s great for focus, but also helps you learn to find your midline as your center of gravity is changing. Goddess squat is really great because you're strengthening the inner thighs and the pelvic floor. A deeper yogi squat, if you have the range of motion, is pretty much the way women in eastern cultures give birth or used to give birth. It’s a great way to strengthen the thighs and get the hips open and mobile and strong for labor.

What’s your best advice to first-time mothers?

Try and go with the flow as much as possible and enjoy the process. Honor your own experience because you'll get a ton of different advice from so many people. Stay centered. Be with yourself, be with your growing baby. Honor what's happening.

Liz Plosser: The Fitness Guru

As Deputy Editor of Self magazine, Liz Plosser has seen and done it all when it comes to fitness. With five-year-old boy-girl twins and a one-year-old baby boy, she’s also seen and done plenty when it comes to motherhood. Liz’s high-energy approach to family and fitness often means combining the two. She’s known as the stroller workout queen!

Tell us the story when you found out you were pregnant with twins.

It was definitely a surprise. It was an early ultrasound so I was by myself. When they told me, "There's a second baby," I was shaking. I was so excited, but it was this total alternate reality for a minute. I was so nervous to tell my husband. I knew he would be happy, but it was such a big change. He was so excited and showed no fear. He didn't even blink. He immediately hugged me and said, "That's awesome." It made me love him even more to see his reaction.

In the prenatal space, what are the workouts you're really excited about right now?

I think a lot of women know about prenatal yoga and maybe they know about barre classes. As someone who loves working out and getting those endorphins, I remember wishing there was a place where I could push myself a little more when I was pregnant. In a safe way, of course. Not to take anything away from prenatal yoga which is a beautiful, wonderful thing. I found some of those classes to be more gentle stretching rather than heart-pumping.

I loved Soul Cycle. I felt like I could control the position of my belly. A lot of it is so much about the vibes in the room. You feel like yourself when you're still part of that energy. Some people aren't comfortable when they're spinning. It depends on the woman. I'm also into this workout called BYOB, Bring Your Own Baby. You wear your baby in a carrier and do the workout.

Now they’re doing Bring Your Own Bump, too. I'm sure it's going to be an awesome class.

Are there modifications you should think about when you’re pregnant and working out ?

You want to be aware that this hormone called relaxin starts surging in your body after you're pregnant. It makes your joints more supple, which makes you more prone to twists and ankle sprains.

As you progress in the pregnancy, there are certain things you don't want to do. You don't want to lay on your back because it puts pressure on an artery that needs to go to the placenta. I definitely started phasing out the plyometric moves in the second trimester. You don't need to be doing burpees when you're eight months pregnant.

How would you wear the Hatch x Bandier collection from the studio to the street?

The legging I would wear with cute high top sneakers or a pair of bright turquoise 574 New Balances, something like that. Then I would do an oversized top and put on a black leather jacket or a super cute jean jacket on top, layer it up.

It’s about making your fitness outfit work for the seven other meetings you have right after. The beauty of these pieces is they're so comfortable, too. They feel so luxe and soft, you really want to wear them all day long.