We're back with September's Mom Boss of the Month and we're super excited to share this Boss Babe with you! She's not only our friend, but a local mama who's taking on the media world with her successful Instagram show, HudsonCounty60 and her Scary Mommy Speaks podcast which is HILARIOUS and super helpful! We got a chance to chat with her all about her busy life and get some great pics of her and her adorable two-year-old son, Sebastian!
You created HudsonCounty60 after the birth of your son. Tell us about your background, and why you decided to start the show
I’ve been a performer my whole life, but went to College for Film and Television Production, which was the best decision ever. Right out of college, I worked in Daytime Television at Martha: The Martha Stewart Show and Wendy Williams Show. After five years, I left Daytime to pursue acting professionally, but quickly became tired of auditioning and rarely getting the roles I wanted. Seeing as I had some production knowledge, I started to create and produce my own work while waiting to be cast in my dream role.?
The idea for HudsonCounty60 came to me when I was pregnant and we bought our home in Union City. I started to discover some very cool businesses in Hoboken, Jersey City and beyond for the first time, and wondered why there wasn’t a show highlighting all of these amazing concepts. I was too pregnant to devote all the time and energy I knew would be needed, so I put it on the backburner until Sebastian was about 6 months old. I was staying home to take care of the baby, and felt all the feelings new moms feel: love, joy, fear, wonder, but most of all I felt like I had no idea who I was now that this baby was my entire life. I knew I needed to work on a project that would fulfill me creatively, but I still needed the flexibility of making my own schedule so I could be with the baby as much as I wanted. Truly there was no better time to start working on HudsonCounty60! A year and a half later, and here we are!
When you actually get a date night, where are your favorite local spots to unwind?
Truthfully, date nights don’t happen often enough! But when my husband, Matt, and I get an opportunity to have one, our two favorites are both in JC Heights. We LOVE Low Fidelity-- the drinks are great, they have a great beer and wine selection and that Detroit-style pizza is AMAZING. Don’t sleep on the wedge salad either. We also love going to Corto, who’s food is so incredibly fresh and delicious! We usually start with a cocktail at Fox and Crow, and sometimes end up back there too (with a plate of nachos) !
Starting a business is scary and we often turn to others for their pearls of wisdom. What is the best business advice you ever received? How about the worst?
The best advice I’ve ever gotten, in general, is don’t let fear stop you. I believe we all deal with some level of fear, or find discomfort in change. Change is scary, but working through that and moving past it is usually where we see the most reward. I’ve also been an actor for so long that fear and discomfort are almost second nature. Artists are so accustomed to working towards a goal where we don’t see immediate payoff, or are judged for our choices, that being intimidated by taking a leap of faith is a tiny bit less scary.
Having a kid changes so many things, and one of them can be your focus on your career or even your career choice- are you doing what you thought you would do? How has your career path changed since having Sebastian?
I’ve been working towards the same goal, more or less, since college. Every job and opportunity has opened a new door or taught me a new skill to get better at what I do. All that said, I may not have dreamed of having my own Instagram show or hosting a podcast for moms, per se, but I always knew I’d be doing something like it. I will say, I definitely never thought having a kid would help me get work (Scary Mommy)!
Let's talk about Scary Mommy. For anyone who doesn’t know, Ashley has been co-hosting the Scary Mommy podcast, "Scary Mommy Speaks". You get to interview some pretty amazing people (Um, Andy Cohen!) about their parenthood and parenting style. What has surprised you the most about meeting famous parents?
Oh boy, Andy Cohen was such a dream come true! I think we all assume that celebrities have the most glamourous lives, but it’s truly incredible that at the end of the day we’re all just parents. We’re all navigating the same things: trying to find some work/life balance, the terrible twos, poop, struggling to maintain who we were in our pre-baby lives, and everything in between! I never knew this before Sebastian, but having a kid is kind of like being in a special club that unites so many different kinds of people and gives us all some form of common ground!
What is your funniest mom-fail moment?
I feel like I have a mom-fails all the time! Recently, Sebastian had a bad bout of diarrhea, and while I was changing his exceptionally bad diaper, I left the dirty diaper on the floor, so I could clean him up. When I looked over our dog was eating it. NEVER AGAIN!
You are a Hudson County native and are now raising your own son here. Tell us your favorite thing about growing up in this area and what you hope your own son loves about living in HC.
My parents and I moved here from Miami when I was 10, and it was a pretty immediate love affair for me. I grew up wanting to be in New York City, so I think the biggest appeal was how close it was. I also loved silly things like the weather and snow, that public transportation made independence a little easier, that the arts were so prominent, and that all different kinds of people of different ethnicities, races and backgrounds all live together and coexist. I also really loved that you could live right outside of this amazing city and still have that neighborhood feel, which is something I saw in movies but had never experienced. To this day I love my parents' neighborhood in Weehawken in the summer- there’s something really lovely about walking down the street and stopping to chat with all the old Italian ladies sitting on their stoops, and catching up on life.
To piggyback on that, what is your favorite thing about raising a kid here?
Hudson County has no shortage of activities for kids! You can’t throw a rock in Hoboken or Jersey City without hitting some kind of class or play place. You want your toddler to paint? Boom, there’s a place. Your 14 month old loves kicking balls? Boom, there's a place. Your three year old somehow knows what coding is and wants to do it? Boom. It’s insane in a totally wonderful way!
As Sebastian grows up, he will see mommy on the internet (maybe the tv!)...what do you hope he sees and learns from seeing mommy at work?
Since Scary Mommy Speaks has launched, I’ve been out of the house a lot more often. Sebastian went through a period where he really wanted nothing to do with me and it hurt my feelings. I thought it was my fault for not being home as much, and was really struggling with whether I had made the right choice for him. Knowing this, a childless male friend told me that I was setting an example for Sebastian of what a strong woman is really like. One who works to accomplish her own goals, and live a creatively fulfilling life. And that’s just my truth-- I was this person before him, and although everything I do now is with him in mind, I am still my own person who has dreams and goals all of my own. I will say, I’ve been so fortunate to experience life as a stay-at-home mom and a working mom, and can confidently say that neither path is easy. I have so much respect for every mom getting it done, however they do.
A day in the life of Ashley…Go!
This is the HARDEST question for me because it changes every day! I love the inconsistency because it keeps life exciting and fresh, but I’m a Type-A Virgo, so I work better with a set schedule. Not having that stability while having a kid is also incredibly difficult because I haven’t made the leap to send Sebastian to daycare full time. I really want to spend every moment I can with him, seeing as next year he’ll be old enough to be in school 5 days a week.
I’m out of the house recording/filming 2-3 days a week. Generally, we wake up, make some breakfast and the all important “hide your daily serving of fruits and veggies” smoothie. On days where we record Scary Mommy Speaks, I head to our recording studio in the city, take any city meetings or jam in any errands I need to get done there, and head home to sit at my computer for a while and spend some time with Sebastian. HudsonCounty60 shoot days are pretty similar-- our Director, SanMartin Garcia, usually comes to my place and we head to whatever location we’re filming that day. On days where I’m not recording or filming, I try to get everything done, which we all know doesn’t quite happen: I take Sebastian to the park, maybe try to workout (but probably don’t), do household errands, groceries, take a bunch of HudsonCoutny60 calls, and try to enjoy my time with Sebastian. But everyday essentially ends the same: dinner time, bed time and mommy’s wine and Bravo time.
Since becoming a mom I have met so many moms that always seem to have their shit together-- their houses are clean, they work out, they have food made, and mostly shocking, they don’t constantly worry about going out at night to an event or meetup because there’s always someone to watch their child. These moms always leave me wondering what I’m doing wrong, so any insight is very much appreciated!