Happy Mamas: Why They Love Raising Kids In Venice
Happy Mother's Day, all you Venice mamas! You're all kinds of amazing and we're endlessly inspired by your ambitious creativity and the love you nurture in our community. You make Venice a better place to live and an awesome place to grow up. This Mother's Day, we asked a few local mamas to share what they love about raising kids (and grandkids) in this crazy-wonderful place we all call home.
Bee Bond with stepson, 9-year-old Raiden, and baby on the way due in October!
"I love being a Venice mom because of the profound sense of community we have here. Moms of Venice have a great connection to nature. It shows in how intuitive our children become. On any day we go to the beach my stepson will make new friends with kids who are visiting for the day. It's a peaceful life. I'm so excited to raise our next child out here."
Bee is a colorist extraordinaire at Kyle Mathis Salon.
Joan Heinly with daughter Ginger and grandmother. Clockwise from top: Ginger at 3 weeks; Joan and Ginger at the Arsenal in Santa Monica, the original location; Ginger in 1969 in their front yard; Joan as a baby being held by her grandmother in 1948, all pictured at the same home where Joan and her husband Larry still live today on Sunset Ave.
Her grandmother moved to the U.S. as an au pair (a live-in nanny) from Sweden. She met her husband and they moved from Chicago to Venice, where Joan was raised, and where she would eventually raise her daughter Ginger too. When asked what she loved about being raised and raising her daughter in Venice, Joan said there's a lot to love, "the beach, the weather and a lot of really great people."
Tiffany Rochelle with kids Noah, 17, and Grace, 5.
“Venice is alive with the sound of children running, skating and biking up and down our walk streets. Our doors are wide open and the kids run in and out of each home laughing and playing. It’s the sweetest sound in the world to me!”
Tiffany is a real estate broker at Pardee Properties on Abbot Kinney and we can also thank her very much for Superba Food & Bread, Pitfire Pizza and Superba Snackbar, which she owns with her husband, Paul Hibler.
Jen Warren with 12-year-old stepdaughter, 3-year-old daughter, and she's expecting her third baby girl end of May/early June!
"I love raising my girls in the raw and real energy that embodies Venice Beach. There are valuable life lessons to learn amongst the grime, dirt and graffitied walls and I love the accessibility to constant outdoor adventure for my entire family - biking/walking to farmers markets, hiking in the mountains, swimming in the ocean, proximity to snow for some winter fun, constant sunshine, and meeting up with a diverse group of amazing friends that make up our Venice Beach family. And don't forget the plethora of yoga studios, spas, bars and boutiques in Venice for whenever mommy needs some alone time! This is a picture of me and my girls on holiday in Chicago last summer."
Jen is a public relations director and Mrs. Venice Duck Brewery, which was co-founded by her husband Christian Warren, and makes one heck of a tasty IPA, Dogtown Duck.
Sonya Nimri with Agrippa, 5, and James, 3.
"Venice is that rare LA neighborhood that actually is a neighborhood. Where you can not only walk or bike to everything you actually need, but where everyone else is doing the same thing. Having that kind of energy around, people walking, biking, skating on every street at all hours, it's just a constant infusion of life. Venice is like a sustained B-12 shot, I feed off its energy. It really does pick me up. That, and if I really want to tire the kids out and get a good night's sleep for once, I mean, the beach is right there. And there's nothing like a day of sun and sand to ensure some peace and quiet later on."
Sonya is a pro crafter and designer who focused her creativity into chocolate-covered caramels this year and launched Rose Avenue Sweets, a very sweet treat that was gifted to lots of mamas near and far this Mother's Day.
Consuelo Hermosillo aka "Chef Momma" with daughter Yvonne
"If you love people make them good food, and I love people in Venice."
Chef Momma takes care of us all here in Venice with the incredible food she prepares at Oscar's Cerveteca (that's her son, and Yvonne is the general manager) on Rose Ave.
Julia Martin with Roman Coltrain, 2 and a half
"The Venice area is an awesome place to raise a kid. We love being close to the water and the canals. A favorite ritual is going to the Venice Farmer's Market Friday morning followed by the duck park in the canals. We try a croissant from the sweet French man, some dried apples, sample the fruit around the market, enjoy a prized "free" flower, grab a juice from Renew juicery, and buy our organic goodies for the week like Harry's berries and Maggies Farm greens. It's fun to see all the other cool Venice kids running around this tiny market. Love going to Mother's Beach and the new playgrounds in Santa Monica.
I love owning a business that is mom friendly in Venice because I get to meet so many cool and amazing ladies who happen to be moms. We often have moms-night-out spa events and the diversity and dedication that these woman bring to the table never ceases to floor me. It's super fun to hear everyone's stories and to see moms collaborate on working out issues. And also helping them to relax and cut loose a bit!
We often go to Tom's shoes Cafe on Abbot Kinney. Roman has been climbing those benches and running on the astro turf since he could walk. So many kid friendly places on Rose....Can't wait to meet more moms once we choose our local pre-school. The kids and fellow moms in Venice beach have such fun style and spark."
Julia is the owner of Nitespa, recently relocated from Abbot Kinney to Venice Blvd., this beauty haven takes appointments up until 10 p.m. so even the busiest moms can manage to schedule a little me time.
M.E. Ster-Molnar with 2-year-old daughter Bonnie-Blue Sunshine
“I love living in this neighborhood! Our favorite thing to do is to get on my bike to run errands and point out car colors. We wave our hands in the air (like we just don't care) and look a little silly with our safety vests and lights on. It's been a wonderfully fun & bonding time for us, and so much better than chatting in the car. Happy Mother's Day!”
M.E. designs and handmakes summery frocks and mixes them in with vintage finds at her groovy bungalow boutique on Rose Ave. ME & Blue.
Kendell Shaffer with daughter Sydney, 14, and Jasper, 11
"When we first bought our house in Venice somebody told us, “Well, Venice is great, but you're gonna have to move when you have kids". I thought: Really? Fourteen years later we are still here and raising our kids. Pre kids, I didn’t know any of my Venetian neighbors. But once I was armed with a baby stroller I quickly met moms and dads who were like-minded and appreciated what I loved about Venice. On my daughter's third birthday, we planned a party with twenty-four kids, all of whom lived within walking distance. Rain was predicted for the day of the party and I freaked out. How can I have twenty-four kids plus parents in my 856 square foot home? My neighbor reminded me that a bathroom counts as a room and not to worry. It did rain, the house was packed, kids and grownups in every room, including the bathroom. A memorable party that we still talk about. Eleven years later, some of those kids remain the closest friends my kids have. They grew up together eating bagels at Abbot’s Habit, taking mommy and me classes at Electric Lodge, sitting on the curb at the Venice Farmer’s Market and attending Mr. Jesse’s Storytime at the Main St. Library. Those were some of the best times I've had, all of them shared with the Venice moms and dads who, like me, didn't move out of Venice when they had kids."
Kendell is an author and producer. She teaches kids to dance at JillyJazz Kids at Electric Lodge, which she co-founded, and she teaches high school students screenwriting with the Writer's Guild Foundation and the Neighborhood Youth Association. Her latest production, Secretos, is showing next weekend at the Electric Lodge.
Sarah Schulz with Max, 5 months, and Millie, 4.
"Some of the many, many things that I love about raising my kids in Venice: the close-knit community, the unique and diverse background of our neighbors, and of course: the beautiful walk streets!"
Sarah makes 108 flavors of the best bread pudding in town and serves it up for all of up to enjoy at Schulzies, one of our favorite snack stops on the Boardwalk, and there's another location open in San Francisco.
Cindy Ripley with daughter Virginia. And two Ripley grandkids (from son Austin) mix clay in the Luna Garcia studio, and then pictured bottom left enjoying a day at LACMA with their Venice buddies.
"Playing hooky in Venice. Daughter breaks her Venice Mom out of work at Luna Garcia for a Cafe Gratitude elixir break." –Virginia
Cindy and her husband Curtis are painters and ceramicists who've been working together and creating their signature Luna Garcia Pottery at their Venice studio since the 80s. Their kids and now grandkids have grown up playing at the studio and the beach located a few blocks away.
Cicek Bricault with Melise and Destin
“I’ve lived in Venice since before my kids were born, and I’ve loved raising a family here - walking, biking, and playing on the beach. We love the colorful neighborhoods, it’s glorious history and it’s bohemian charm. What a great place to grow up!"
Cicek works in technology helping to build online communities, and is also currently focused on creative writing.
Linda with daughter Sabrina, 5, and another baby girl due in September!
"We love that we can walk everywhere in Venice. We love to explore and always find new things, new friends, nice dogs, and great restaurants."
Linda is the Director of Nursing at La Ventana Treatment Programs, working with women receiving residential treatment for eating disorders and chemical dependency. Ron, her husband, founded Sittler Law Group and is the board chairman for America SCORES LA.
Lynn Jones with Griffin, 10, and Trevor, almost 8
"There are so many reasons we love raising our kids in Venice. But the most important reasons have to do with our amazing community including its diversity, its pride, its artistic sensibilities and the closeness we feel with our neighbors and our neighborhood school community. It's like we have this little secret that we share - knowing what a special place Venice is. I want my children to grow up in a place that inspires them to be better humans, to be creative, to think for themselves - that place is Venice. And of course, we love being able to go hang at our amazing beach whenever we want!"
Lynn is currently starting Julie & Jones, a creative collaborative specializing in photography, design and branding, and she works for Venice West Products on the Emotional ABC's, an emotional literacy program for kids. She also does fundraising for Walgrove Elementary.