My husband and I began dating ten years ago and have been married just over three wonderful years. As an IT Global Director for McDonald’s, he is a combination of both the smartest and kindest man I’ve ever known. He lives life simply and never sweats the small stuff. We expanded our family four years ago when we brought our dog Sugar home. Our little English Bull Terrier gets way more attention than we ever anticipated – she is very much like a real child and is a total clown.
Shortly thereafter, our daughter Blake came into the world. She just turned eighteen months and is without a doubt, the light of our lives. A true Sagittarius, she loves to travel, dance, laugh and will eat just about anything! Lucky for me, my husband and daughter are sound sleepers which allows me to spend time working from home on Rachel Lynn Chicago while being my daughter’s full-time caregiver.
Rad Mom and Jewelry Designer Rachel Leykind with her entire family.
Your Jewelry Line is Insane. You’ve Been at This for a Long Time! Your Design Inspiration Comes From: Aw thanks! It all started when I was a young child. My mom was a jeweler (among many other creative roles). She gave me “assignments” of beading and stringing to earn my allowance at an early age. I had no idea it would one day lead to my career. I worked in retail from the age of fourteen and on, and went to college for Fashion Merchandising at SIU. After college, I continued to work multiple retail/management roles simultaneously for different companies in Chicago but I felt like I wasn’t growing. I loved fashion and design, and longed for a career that allowed me to be creative while still residing in Chicago.
Eventually, I found myself working for a local family jeweler in Chicago where I was proud to call home for over eight years. I studied gemology with GIA and met wonderful clients, that I am now happy to call friends. I learned a lot about business and about myself while working for a small company in a cut-throat industry. Shortly after being hired, many of our clients would ask me if I could create them the same designs I was wearing, in addition to other custom designs. From there my business was born and continued to grow.
Seven months ago, I decided to exit the business I was working for to solely focus on my personal businesses that I was running out of my home, all while raising my daughter. It was the hardest transition but ultimately the best choice for myself and my family. My inspiration continues to grow when I meet with my vendors and discover new gemstones from new mines. I can’t wait to make brand new designs and often have so many designs backed up to create in the future. I love sitting down with fresh new designs, ready to share with the world before they are even finished.
Recently You Partnered On Another Venture, Hi Love Events. Tell Us More: Yes, as if raising my daughter and continuing to build Rachel Lynn Chicago wasn’t enough!! I am also a partner of a boutique event business called Hi Love Events. Hi Love Events is a destination planner with five star services dedicated to making dream occasions a reality. My business partner and team service events in Chicago, Aspen, the Bahamas and beyond. The desire and passion to create inspired me to partner with Hi Love Events. I am the creative director, which allows me to tap even further into that. This is a business that is evolving and we are planning to expand into other categories. We are planning to launch our expansion in fall/winter 2017, so stay tuned!
Jewelry designer and mom Rachel Leykind on Glitter and Bubbles.
As I’m Sure You Know, being a Working Mom is Tough Work. Most of the Time it Feels Like You’re Being Pulled in a Million Different Directions. You Keep from Losing Your Mind By: I plan everything and remind myself I am never going to do it perfectly. I schedule things for Blake in advance to make sure that most days she has something to look forward to. This is especially important as a mom working from home I find myself feeling guilty having her “tag” along to errands/appointments. When I plan daily, I am always surprised by just how much I can fit into the day. It allows for less chaos later.
I will typically still forget a bib, a spare change of clothes for her or send an email out later than I had hoped, but I try not to beat myself up. That is the one thing I used to do and now really try to avoid. I often tell myself, “You did your very best!”. That is all we can do as moms and business women. Doing our best is good enough for our kids and that for me is gold.
When You Just Feel Like Ripping Out Your F**king Hair, You Regain Your Cool By: In both motherhood and business I do the same thing. I stop, take a moment to pause and instead of reacting thoughtlessly I breathe. It sounds silly and simple but it works. It is so easy to lose your cool as a parent while having so much responsibility on your plate all the time. At Blake’s age, she can talk and understand a lot but you can’t really rationalize with young kids. So of course, she can get cranky and will throw the ultimate drama queen fit!
I take a deep breath and try and take it in stride. My trick right now is to distract her with something else and try to get her to move on. It sounds much easier than it is, but I know that soon the storm will pass and setting a good example for her is a better gift than giving in. It works for business too. Never respond to an email when you’re heated — take a moment to let time pass.
Favorite Quote: It’s more of a motto.
Try Not to Judge
Give Us a Glimpse into an Average Day: I laugh (in a good way and in a bad way) because EVERY SINGLE DAY IS GROUNDHOG’S DAY. I have always wanted to be a parent and when I received that gift I realized shortly after that there is no such thing as sleeping in and there are no days off. Which again, you hear but doesn’t really sink in until you have a child.
I wake up every day at 6am and prepare Blake’s breakfast and have a few big sips of my favorite Stok “not too sweet” iced coffee — this is my fuel to keep my entire day going! I read some emails and catch up on any social media that I may have missed overnight. Gene is usually walking Sugar or has already done so and left for work.
Blake wakes up at 7am and we have one on one time until she takes her nap at 8:30am. After I put her down, I have my breakfast while I respond to my emails. I then set out on completing the work I plan to tackle that day (which I never completely get through!).  I have meetings, follow up with clients and do as much as humanly possible before Blake wakes up at 11am.
When Blake awakes, I feed her lunch. It is quiet and I really try to have some bonding one on one time with her. Our days are really structured, so when she is eating I try my best to have face to face time without my phone or any distractions. Next, we do chores around the house — I try to do dishes, laundry and vacuum, all while also playing with her. She will have her toys all over the room and I am on the floor drawing with her one minute and then dancing the next. This is when I find a way to clean a little while she is in her groove. Depending on the day, we will either get groceries, go swimming, visit with a friend, go to the park or do some sort of activity that will be “out of the house” time for Blake. Meanwhile, I still try to answer emails, calls and respond on social media when I can.
The combination of my strict scheduling and the help of the best book ever, “Twelve Hours in Twelve Weeks”, made Blake who is already a great sleeper, an awesome napper. Blake goes down for her second nap around 4:30pm and will sleep until 6pm when it is her dinner time. During this time, I really try and get through as much work as possible. Even if it’s something as simple as pulling a load out of the dryer and fixing dinner for our family.
When Blake gets up, we take Sugar out together for another walk. By the time Gene is home we all sit down for dinner as a family. This is something that my mom always made sure we did. Unless Gene is working late, I try my best to pass that tradition down for my household. No television here — just family time.
After dinner Blake gets a bath and changes into PJs so she is ready for bed. Next, we watch a kids’ movie or show with Blake and Sugar on our laps. Blake goes to bed at 8pm and I head over to the kitchen to tidy up a bit. Gene follows up on his personal emails/research/reading and I go back to work until I can’t keep my eyes open. Some nights I just call it a day and Gene and I will watch Modern Family or Shark Tank with Sugar in bed.
Rad Mom: Rachel Leykind, Jewelry Designer.
Children’s Names & Ages: Blake, 18 months & Sugar, 4 years (Dog)
Top Beauty Product That Makes Mom Life Easier: Eyeko Mascara and Eyeko Brow Tint. Even without wearing foundation these two products make my eyes pop. It is something that is quick and easy to put on as I am running out the door.
Favorite Under the Radar Kids Brands: ZOE Umbrella Strollers  are awesome! I can close it with one hand and it is light weight — perfect for the mom on the go! Made in Spain, the Cienta Shoes for toddlers are lightweight, provide great support and are so fashionable. Angel Dear Loveys are amazing too! Blake can’t travel too far without bringing her white lamb along for the ride. Angel Dear also makes the softest sweaters on the planet for kids!
If You Could Only Pack Three Items for a Weekend Away, You Can’t Leave Home Without: My Ergobaby Carrier to hold Blake close for the times we don’t have a stroller, my phone and extra battery pack, and my New Balance Sneakers. As a working mom I like to be comfortable and practical so I can handle whatever the day throws at me!
Dream Destination for Vacation: If you follow me on Instagram you can see that I recently went on a parents’ only weekend to my Miami with Gene and my brother and sister-in-law. We stayed at the most fabulous hotel that made a two-day getaway feel like a week at the spa. We stayed at Hotel 1 and their Miami location was truly a dream — especially for parents leaving their kid home for the first time ever. The earthy vibe was so welcoming and it made me want to book my next trip as soon as I got on the plane to head home.
Activity You Love to Do with Your Babe: I love to take baths with her, she is so sweet in the tub. She likes to grab one of her bath books, climb on my lap and ask me to read it to her. It is one of the simplest and most special moments we share. I also love when we watch movies at the end of the day together. She is so calm, cuddly and loving.
Your Secret Obsession When You Get an Hour to Yourself: I love a good television show mixed with a sweet snack. Shark Tank, Wendy Williams, Million Dollar Listing and Housewives, of course! Gene will only watch Shank Tank with me, so as you can imagine I never really get to watch the others very often.
Closet Staple You Can’t Live Without: AG JeansChanel ballerina flats, Chanel classic flap bagGap tank top and my latest jewelry creations to test (and get feedback from friends and family!).
Favorite Dessert Recipe That Your Crew Flips Over: Juicy Baklava!