Julia Chiarella-Genoni (a.k.a. Mama MOE) with her husband and three sons

Writer, founder of AskMamaMOE.com and ShoppingFromTheHeart.ca 

I’ve always loved writing and telling ‘the story’. Whether it was meeting world-famous designers in Milan and New York for my fashion writing, or meeting local women entrepreneurs for my charity event, I enjoy getting to know them as people. Shortly after university, I lived in Italy for three years with my husband, then we moved back to my hometown of Montreal. We now have three beautiful and talented children (one plus twins). After my children were born, my fashion sense went from sleek designer wear to sweatpants and nursing tops. And I was ok with that. In fact, I loved it. While I still love fashion and the arts, my true calling has always been raising a family, so naturally, I decided to focus on writing about that. That’s how Ask Mama MOE was born. And consequently, that is also why Shopping From The Heart came to be – it was my way of giving back to those who helped my family on our journey. My oldest son is now 9 and my twin boys are 7. They are smart, curious and kind. I’m very proud of them.

Julia with the legendary Giorgio Armani

Secrets of a WOWMOM
I think the biggest secret is to get to know yourself. As much as I am a mama, I am a woman with a passion for writing and I love giving back. All these things make me who I am and I am.

What inspires me
My children inspire me every day. The way they look at life snaps me back to have a healthy and happy perspective of things. Fashion and art also inspires me, and travelling, and reading. Basically, life, inspired me!

My sanity saviour (tips & time savers)
I share random tips on Ask Mama MOE, but I think one that many have enjoyed is prepping the night before for things. Setting the table for breakfast at night sounds strange but it really helps. Add to that a pre-set cup of coffee and I can take on the world.

My best WOWMOM advice
Get out of the way. More than ever, I see us women struggling, myself included, with “will they like me?” “am I good enough?” It’s ringing in all of our ears and we know it’s silly but it exists. Social media is a breeding ground for this internal back-talk. I think if we can get out of the way of ourselves and just do things, parenting and work wise, we will all be happier.

My WOW moment
The birth of my sons.

My not-so WOW moment
Saying goodbye to my parents.

Keeping it WOW (how not to lose yourself)
If you have a person to check in with, your life will be so much more fulfilling and meaningful. I have my husband to chat about family and life, but I also have my best friend, Tanya (montrealmom.com) who is what I call my work wife. We are constantly helping each other personally and professionally to get it done and feel satisfied about what we accomplish.

Favourite MOMent of the day
I have a few; when my boys come home after school and I get a hug from them all and hear about their days, I love the downtime when it’s quiet and I can write, I love socializing with my friends.

Does balance exist?
My life has been a rollercoaster since forever. I think balance is an overrated and overused word to aspire to have. And it makes some women feel bad if they feel they don’t have it. I like to look at a moment and take it in, because that’s what we have – moments.

My guardian angel
I know they are watching out for me and my family.

The last time I laughed out loud
To know me is to know I laugh all the time. So my answer is, the last time I was having a talk with a friend.

Words Of Wisdom (Mom’s message to My Kids)
You are a gift from God. Remember that in the difficult times and in the awesome times too. No one is like you, so be proud of your uniqueness.

Fave things, places and sanity savers for WOWMOMS!

1. My Samsung S7 smartphone – it takes the best photos of any phone I have had. And everyone who sees my pictures immediately want to know what phone I have.

2. My turtle shell Michael Kors watch – it was my last birthday present from my mother and proceeds from each watch enabled 100 children in need to receive a nutritious meal through WFP’s School Meals program.

3. My favourite wrap full of healthy things is the BBQ tempeh wrap from Aux Vivres. I am by no means vegan, but this is delicious and healthy.

4. Sunglasses – the full framed, Audrey Hepburn style, because the sun really effects my vision.

5. Speaking of sun – I wear sunscreen year-round. My favourite right now is by La Roche-Posay

6. Raffinalla leggings and pants are all I wear lately. They fit perfectly, are easy to wash and they are Montreal-made!

7. I have scoliosis, so comfortable shoes are key. My go-to in the home and summer months are Birkenstock sandals. They’ve come a long way from the ugly brown version when I was in high school.

8. I recently discovered Gel Moments. I hate when nail polish is chipped, and with this non-toxic nail polish, my nails stay beautiful for over a week. Perfect for mamas.

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