We don’t mean to brag (except we totally do), but Jeannine Adams is one of the most kickass women we’ve ever known. She’s a contributing editor here at The Everymom (you’ve loved her style articles), mom to big boy Ethan and baby Bennett, and is the founder of Ready Pretty, where you can get small-town boutique clothes anywhere you are. She’s passionate about living a life of style – whether that’s in her clothes, how she conducts herself professionally, and, of course, her home.
And man, oh man, is “stylish” just one word to describe this stunning Chicago home. It’s light and airy, full of livable and tailored pieces, and is just brimming with the personalities of all the people living there (you’re going to love Ethan’s big boy room). We sat down with her to talk about how actualized her “West Coast-meets-minimalist” decor dreams, how she’s running a successful business while also being an involved parent, and the surprising thing parenthood has taught her (well, so far).
What was your first job and how did you land it?
My first “real” job was working as an Assistant Account Executive at Edelman, a global public relations and marketing firm headquartered here in Chicago. I moved to Chicago from Ohio to attend graduate school and wanted to find work right away. I interned for three months at a small boutique PR firm where I learned a ton, and then one night after applying relentlessly online, I found the listing for the Edelman role. I applied, got a call back two days later, and went in for an interview. Looking back, I really didn’t have a ton of experience. But sitting down in front of the hiring manager and my future boss, what I lacked in experience I tried my best to make up for in passion, a willingness to learn, and a strong work ethic. It worked. I got a call the next day that the job was mine. That job truly set the trajectory for my career at 22 years old.
You’re the founder of Ready Pretty, an e-commerce site bringing boutique style and feel across the country – and we’re obsessed! How did you come up with this concept, and what’s it like being a working mom?
Thanks! I have worked in fashion in some way, shape, or form for quite some time. Ready Pretty started as a virtual styling service for busy women, and we still have that aspect of the business with stylists across the country. But what I found through building relationships with boutiques throughout my career was this issue with online sales. So often, small boutique owners don’t have the time, money, or resources to really dedicate to their online business and were instead relying solely on neighborhood foot traffic to drive their business. With big box stores investing so heavily in online, they were losing out.
Ready Pretty allows boutiques to better compete online, creating an altogether new and improved revenue stream that allows shoppers to find them no matter where they live. In addition, we assist them with things like photo shoots, social media support, and other marketing support. For shoppers, they can now shop from different boutiques and brands that they never would have heard of, all from the comfort of their home. It’s exciting for me to see a San Francisco shopper purchase something from a Chicago boutique and vice versa.
To be honest, the term “working mom” kinda bugs me. My husband also works, and I’ve yet to hear someone refer to him as a working dad. I’m a mom who works, and it’s a juggling act that I’m so lucky to have. Am I busy? Yes. Do I love my kids and my job? Yes. Will motherhood always come first? Yes, it will. I work a lot, but I also mom so hard. It works for me. What’s exciting for me is my oldest son is 4 now, and I can’t wait to start taking him to work events or meetings with me when I can. I want him to see at an early age how hard we work and to be passionate about what you do.
How would you describe your decorating style?
When we moved into our new home less than a year ago, I wanted each space to feel styled but still look and feel like people actually live there. We have two little boys – a newborn and a 4-year-old with a lot of energy. I wanted our home to feel warm and welcoming – a place where our friends with and without kids, as well as our families, could gather comfortably. I strive for a mix of modern transitional, West Coast-meets-kinda-sorta minimalist – which I’m certain makes zero sense!
What was your inspiration for the boys’ bedrooms? How did you come up with a design plan for each room, and what were the first steps in the process?
For both rooms, I started on Pinterest (doesn’t everyone?!) trying to hone in on the overall concepts for each space. Admittedly, I’m the queen of pinning one billion not-at-all-connected images and then not knowing what to do next. I really wanted the boys’ rooms to feel finished versus me finding a few pieces and getting stuck. My dear friend Lisa, who is also the founder of YouthfulNest, a virtual interior design firm that focuses solely on children’s spaces, offered to help, and I jumped at the chance.
For my newborn, I knew I wanted a beachy, no-fuss, minimalist vibe. California is a very special place to both my husband and me and is a place we’ve taken our older son multiple times. I envisioned light walls, hints of subtle color, and a breezy, West Coast feel. It turned out exactly as I imagined, only better. It’s one of my favorite rooms in our home for sure.
For my older son’s room, I was a bit less clear on what I wanted to do. He’s a sports nut; he’s been going to Chicago Bulls and Cubs games with us since he was really young. He knows more names of the players on both teams than I do! So, I knew I wanted the room to feel like an ode to Chicago without feeling too “theme-y.” We were able to create a fresh, big boy room that holds a lot of new and vintage Chicago sports pieces that he’s obsessed with. When he walked into his new room, he was awe-struck – he loves it. And what I love the most is that it’s a room that he can totally grow into with minimal updates. It’s perfect.
What tips do you have for moms planning two new rooms at the same time?
At times it felt overwhelming. We were transitioning our son into a big boy bed and prepping for a new baby. The good news was we were able to repurpose a lot of the big ticket items that we already had, reworking them for the baby’s room. Once I settled on a design direction, I then started to really look at what I already had to see if and how it could work in either room. For example, we used the dresser from my guest room as the new changing table and storage solution in the nursery. The decorative pouf that’s been sitting in our basement is now the footstool for the glider. We moved my older son’s crib and glider into the baby’s room. Not only did this help to keep my budget in check, but it felt great to find new uses for old pieces.
What’s your favorite part of the nursery and your big boy room, and why is it special to you?
For the nursery, I absolutely love the natural wood bookcase. I wasn’t sure about this piece, but I went for it and I’m so glad I did. It’s not a traditional kid bookcase, but the natural wood and roping make it feel like I’m right at the beach, making that little corner of his room so cozy and functional. Every night we read stories to both boys in that corner before bedtime.
For the big boy room, I love the entire bed situation for my son. The mix of textures and prints on his bed is so cute – I love the ABC print duvet! He’s so excited every single night to hop in bed and loves (attempting) to make his bed in the morning. It’s just such a cozy space.
Speaking of functionality in rooms, do you have any tips or ideas for moms in the midst of planning their own nursery?
Admittedly, I can’t take full credit for these ideas. Lisa at YouthfulNest really helped me to think about how best to plan the rooms for me and my kids’ needs.
Here are a few of my favorite tips:
- First off, be sure there is a proper nightstand or small table next to your glider. You’ll want to be able to easily rest bottles and other small items on it.
- Speaking of that table, add small lidded storage for knick-knacks, like extra pacifiers or even small snacks like a granola bar, should you need to nosh while endlessly rocking baby to sleep.
- When you can, add dimmers to your ceiling lights so you can get in for late night feeds and diaper changes without jarring your baby awake with a bright light.
- A well-placed sconce over the shoulder of your reading nook makes a cozy spot for bedtime stories.
How long have you and your husband been in Chicago? How did you go about landing this great home?
We’ve both lived in the city for 13 years – I can’t believe it! Funny story on our place. We’ve actually bought (and not moved into) TWO new construction homes. Oy! I swear, two Geminis should not be making major decisions together! For various reasons, we ended up backing out of both of them, which caused a ton of stress both times. But each time we realized that they were in fact not the right homes for us.
We stumbled across our current home one Sunday morning as I was endlessly scrolling Redfin and immediately became obsessed. My hubby and I legit stalked it down and saw it two days later. Sadly, we were told by our real estate agent that another couple had put in an offer that day. So the search was back on. A week later we found out their offer fell through; we put an offer in that day and got the house. House hunting is such a whirlwind. But this house was well worth all the crazy steps it took to get us the keys.
We love that you didn’t shy away from pattern in Ethan’s room (or really anywhere)! How did you pick all the patterns, and how do you combine patterns without making them overwhelming?
In the boys’ rooms, I definitely had some guidance on mixing patterns thanks to my friend who helped me from YouthfulNest. In our living room, I figured if I kept things in the same color family I could mix and match the different blue hues to add some texture and movement to the room. I took a bit of a chance, but I think it works! I’ve found that rooms can tend to look a little one dimensional if you don’t add some sort of texture or pattern.
What were the most important elements for each of these rooms for you?
I think for me, I focus a lot on how a room feels. So lighting and texture, like rugs and bedding, play a big role for me. I wanted the rooms to feel cozy. That was my number one. I wanted the feel in Ethan’s room to be a bit mature but still made for a 4-year-old, and I wanted the feel in Bennett’s room to be a chill nursery without throwing a ton of baby blue on the walls.
Where do you shop for decor and furniture?
I love Lulu & Georgia, CB2, Interior Define, MegMade, Serena and Lily, West Elm, and Furbish Studio. You can also get some great budget decor items at Target and World Market. And I’ve snagged some great pieces on One Kings Lane.
For artwork around my home, I’ve got several original pieces from one of my oldest and most creative friends, Emily Anne Farrell. There’s one piece in my home that she created called “Unconventional Ladies” that legit makes me smile every single time I walk by it.
When it comes to motherhood, what are you most confident in? What are you still insecure about?
Even on the toughest, roughest days, in my heart I know that I’m a good mom, that every day I put my kids first and try to do the very best that I can. As moms, I feel like we always default to the things we’re getting wrong, but I like to remind myself of all the stuff I’m getting right, too.
As I look at my son I know that he’s a good, well-mannered kid that for sure has his moments, but all in all, he makes me so proud every single day. And I know that’s because of how my hubby and I are raising him. There will always be insecurities – I think for me it’s the juggle of it all – but I always try to remind myself that this is just a season of life and I know we’ll look back and think how wonderful this time in our lives was, so that’s what I try to focus on. How lucky I am in this moment right now. Not the insecurities of maybe trying to balance it all.
What was it like transitioning from one child to two? What have you learned?
I was mentally preparing myself for pure chaos, but honestly, so far it hasn’t been as crazy as I was anticipating. Talk to me when Bennett starts walking and talking – it might be a different story!
As moms, I feel like we always default to the things we’re getting wrong, but I like to remind myself of all the stuff I’m getting right, too.
How did your view of motherhood change once you became a mom?
Now thinking about all of the things that my parents did for me – the worry they felt for me, the stuff that had to plan and organize and research and sacrifice for me – it just makes you so incredibly appreciative. Obviously, you don’t know that as a kid, but then you become a mom and your relationship with your own parents tends to change as well.
If you have to choose just one, what’s your favorite memory from motherhood?
That’s a REALLY hard question, there’s just too many to choose one! There are big and little moments every week that make my heart smile as a mom. I’d have to say one of my favorites was the first night we brought my youngest son home from the hospital. It was my entire family, husband, oldest son, newest son, and our dog sitting on the floor in our living room together. And this wave of happiness flushed over me. I was looking around in a bit of disbelief that this was my life and these were my people.
Jeannine Benoit Adams is The Everymom…
Power outfit? Levi’s 501 high waist straight leg jeans, oversized blazer, tucked in tee, and heels.
Kids book you know by heart? On the Night You Were Born (makes me cry every time!)
Best way to end a long day? My entire family in our basement hanging out together. I love when we’re all together and have nowhere we need to be and nothing to do. Glass of wine nearby.
I wish I knew how to… Write code, be a good photographer, get a 4-year-old to go to bed sans every excuse in the book (extra cuddle, needs water, forgot to kiss his little bro goodnight, still hungry, has to potty, etc.) – you name it, Ethan’s tried it! I guess you can say there are a lot of things I still want to learn.
Guilty pleasure indulgence? I have a serious issue with sweets and bad reality TV.
Most embarrassing mom moment? I’ve been lucky enough that so far nothing majorly embarrassing has happened just yet, although I’m sure I’ve just jinxed myself! Of course, we’ve had a few of the public meltdowns here and there (2-year-olds are no joke!), but I guess I’ll just go ahead and mentally prepare myself for the inevitable cringe-worthy moment that I’m sure is coming soon.