20 Sense

20 SENSE: Charlotte Groeneveld, Hippest Mommy Blogger On the ‘Net

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In a world where pregnancy expectations have reached Kim-Kardashian-outfit-with-Victoria’s-Secret-Angel-body heights, it’s refreshing to get a dose of reality that still assures you don’t have to lose your cool whilst pregnant. Enter Charlotte Groeneveld, the uber chic, yet super relatable fashion blogger whose other day job involves being a very hands-on mother to one (with a second babe on the way!). Though I have no intentions of child-bearing anytime soon (don’t worry Mom and Dad), I’ve been drawn to Charlotte’s blog for years–namely, for her honesty about the ups and downs that come with carrying a child and for her down-to-earth-yet-edgy style (a feat, IMO). She’s a mother that all women could take a few notes from: be kind to yourself (indulge in a slice of cake if it suits your fancy [seriously her foodstagrams are THE BEST]; accept that pregnancy may hinder your ability to wear heels 24/7) and love your children but allow yourself other interests, too. As I mentioned in the last 20 Sense, there are so many bloggers today that it’s rare to stumble upon one who feels so authentic, and Charlotte is one of those special few. Naturally, she was nice enough to take a break from kicking baby-bearing ass (that’s arguably the strangest phrase I’ve ever written) to talk to me about the not-so-straight-and-narrow path she took to get to this point in her life.

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How old are you? 28

Describe your trajectory since turning 20 up until now. By the time I turned 20 I had been studying for about 2 years, and had really found my place within a large sorority house (which is quite common in Holland). I had a great group of friends around me with whom I spent all my time outside of university, along with the perfect boyfriend (I say perfect, because we are still together!). At the time I was studying communication science at Amsterdam University and really thought I was going to have a big, corporate career. I worked very hard for good grades, stayed close to my professors, and searched for international internships–preferably in Asia. That might sound weird, as I was just saying what a solid living/social situation I had, but I felt Asia was where I belonged. Plus, I wanted to live in a metropolitan city like Hong Kong, where it’s 24-hour economy ruled. Anyway, I ended up with an internship at a large bank in Singapore, where I did marketing and communications, and had the best time of my life! After that I moved to Amsterdam to get my masters. It must be weird to imagine this as I am now fully dedicated to my blog, which is 100% fashion related. However, I have always been super interested in fashion. I shot my own ‘editorials’ when I was younger, with my sisters as models. But, growing up, I never found the right way to share this passion until I was introduced to the blogosphere. It happened when I worked for ASOS in London, where I had moved with my boyfriend. Eventually my blog took off, so I left ASOS. In the meantime I also got pregnant, and now I am again! It’s amazing to combine my work–being my own boss/editor–with having kids. It’s hard planning, but I can’t complain!

What has surprised you most about your twenties? What went exactly as expected? When I look back, I am surprised by the amount of energy that I had. Not that I don’t have that now, but it’s different. My social life never stopped! Now, I can only deal with about 2 dinners (along with the work-related socials) a week! I guess it’s also a matter of changing priorities though. It comes with the phase you enter as as you get older and have kids I guess. But anyway, with all of that energy, I can say that I definitely enjoyed my early twenties to the max!

Do you feel like you’ve found your niche at this point or are you still searching? I definitely have. My job is a passion, which makes it so easy to work everyday. I enjoy it–though sometimes the planning around my little boy (soon accompanied by a sister) can stress me out.

What excites you more about life: the enigmatic experiences or those with extreme clarity? The latter. I am not someone who wants it all to be a big mystery. That’s not realistic at this point anyway. I have a family, responsibilities, etc. Not that I want to know exactly where I will be in 5 years, of course that has to be somewhat enigmatic, but in the short-term, I prefer clarity.

What did your twenties teach you about romantic love? Friendship? Romance–You often move fast and hard, but the fall is very deep. I believe in love at first sight, and that you can have your heart truly broken by someone you love. Friendship–Friends come in big groups, but at the end of the day you can probably count the real ones on one hand. There’s nothing wrong with that, you just have certain friends for different things. But I don’t believe in calling people ‘friends’ easily. I am careful I guess, maybe because I have had my portion of disappointments, but otherwise, I am happy for the good friends I’ve had around me throughout the years.

What motivates you? My work (blog), my son, and his daddy. Fashion in general makes me super excited and therefore is the biggest motivation for my work. I could never work 24/7 if that wasn’t my number one motivation.

Where do you get the most inspiration? How do you snap out of a creative rut? Other young women in fashion (who I can easily follow through their blogs), fashion magazines, the runways in NY, Paris, Milan and London, beautiful photography and design. There is so much creativity around me in London as well, which inspires me a lot.

Biggest pet peeve about the blogosphere and/or fashion world? The level of phoniness I guess. Some people just try too hard. And the companies who approach you in a totally impractical way, assuming you are doing this purely for the freebies. They don’t always realize that this is a job for some people, and that a lot of us have to earn money from it. Free jeans are cool, but at some point you have enough of those you know? ;)

Favorite aspect of each? The amazing people I’ve gotten to meet so far, the beautiful clothes I get to wear, the shows I’ve been to and am going to (fashion week is coming up!), and the traveling.

As a fashion blogger-slash-mother, what are the different challenges you face, if any? PLANNING PLANNING PLANNING! If I have to go away for my work, I need to make sure to get a nanny, obviously, because daddy works full time as well. Good nannies are hard to find, so before I found mine, I was constantly flying my mom in from Holland to have her take care of our son. It’s not a big deal, but it’s an added time and energy consuming aspect. But that’s really the only different challenge.

If you had to create a twenties survival kit what would it include? (CDs, movies, books, a type of food/drink, magazine, really anything!) Mascara, beer, lots of water (for after the beer), iPod, a good pair of skinny jeans, a leather jacket and the perfect white tee, Ray-Ban Wayfarers, many issues of Vogue, toothpaste, and a big smile!

If you had to settle for one motto/mantra, what would it be? What do you want to do? Go for it! There is always a way…and…Wear what you like, like what you wear.

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For more posts like this, check out my chats with Lulu Chang and Laura Brown of Harper’s Bazaar with the Man Repeller.

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