“Can I tell you what I’m totally obsessed with right now? Don’t laugh. Mug cakes! I just found out about them and I’m in love.”
I’m sitting on the patio with Eva Amurri Martino, enjoying a lavender-infused cocktail in the Los Angeles sunshine.
She’s wearing a fabulous red floor-length Tory Burch dress and she’s movie-star gorgeous, probably because she is a movie star, not to mention the daughter of Hollywood royalty Susan Sarandon … and she’s sharing her favorite recipes for mug cakes.
Because she’s a mom who loves mug cakes. Just like the rest of us.
This, in a nutshell, is why we’re such big fans of her new blog, Happily Eva After. It’s a celebrity mama talking about the stuff that real parents deal with every day, with plenty of inspirational style and beauty advice thrown in the mix.
“When I had my daughter, I felt really pulled in a lot of directions,” Eva explains. “I felt like it was such a gift and such an incredible experience, but it was also so all-consuming. I wanted to be a great mom, a loving mom, a hands-on mom, but also a caring wife, a great friend, and have my own interests. I felt guilty, like I wasn’t as multi-faceted a woman as I was pre-children. And it took me a long time to realize that those things weren’t mutually exclusive.”
“In figuring all that out, I felt like I didn’t really have a resource to turn to. So I wanted to try to build a community of women who want to have fun, and be stylish, and eat and drink fun things – and remain multi-faceted women – even when they are parents.”
And so she launched Happily Eva After, to share an honest, open look at the ups and downs of motherhood.
“It’s a new incarnation of having it all — changing what ‘it all’ means, doing it with a sense of humor, and just really trying to find the joy in parenting.”
While we’re chatting, Eva keeps one eye on her 1-year-old daughter Marlowe, who is crawling around and making new friends at the party. I am not exaggerating when I say that Marlow (“Lowie”) is the most adorable baby that has ever lived.
I ask how her perspective had changed since the birth of her first child:
“Because of how motherhood is portrayed in the media, women (and I include myself in this), expect to just snap back and suddenly have everything figured out, and be flawlessly breastfeeding at a party or on the beach and everything’s cool and fine, totally under control … and it’s like, no. During those first few months, I didn’t even leave my house for awhile. We planned to and then all of a sudden it was 8 PM and we were still indoors and I didn’t know how that happened.”
Her biggest takeaway? “You have to learn to be gentle with yourself.”
After our interview, I sit down for lunch on her terrace with a group of women drawn from the LA blogging community, including The Style Editrix’s Ashley Fultz, and Ellie Knaus, co-founder of Atomic Moms.
The event, hosted by Hormel Gatherings Party Trays, was a refreshing departure from typical celebrity launch parties, where the guest of honor is usually surrounded by PR people from start to finish, pausing only for photo shoots and quick sound bite interviews.
We share blogging tips and take selfies for our social media channels, and then I learn something new: Eva is hilarious. She’s a natural storyteller and she has us laughing so hard, I wonder if she slipped something in the rosé.
She tells a story about her husband (TV sports analyst Kyle Martino) going to a Tony Hawk skateboard shoot when she was “100 months pregnant, seriously, and he wants to go off to San Francisco?”
Before he left, she made him swear not to go on the skateboard ramp. She even called up his friends, “If you let him near that skateboard ramp, I will kill him. If he gets hurt, well let’s just say you better finish him off because otherwise I will.”
Two days later she got a call from the friend’s wife:
“I don’t know if I should be telling you this, but he’s on the ramp.”
“Girl, hold my earrings! Hold my earrings!” she joked.
But all exaggeration aside, it’s clear from the way she talks about him that they have a rock solid marriage. I asked how, if at all, parenthood changed their relationship:
“It took us, and I would say it takes a lot of couples, a real adjustment period figuring out how we parented together and also our different roles.
We’re a mix of personalities – we work great together because I’m the more detail-oriented person and he’s the more ‘big picture’ person but he’s also so low-key. The trap we fell into early on, is it was always me saying ‘this is what we need to do’ and being the one to spearhead everything, which made me feel like a nag.
So we’ve done a much better job at really listening to each other. It also helps now that the baby is older, because it’s not just me breastfeeding all the time, and he can help more in his own way.”
As I headed for the door, I asked her one last question: what advice would she give new moms?
“For me, it was realizing that you don’t have to come last, just because somebody else comes first.”