Spill it! Introductions, please!
Let’s get the rundown on In Kind and how it came to be!
Leah - During the pandemic I started to really miss my old job as an editor, so I thought: “Well, why don’t I just do what I’m missing?” I interviewed some friends, wrote a few essays, and built a very scrappy, very DIY ‘zine that I called a “Leah’zine.” It mostly went out to friends, and when a few strangers on Instagram asked if they could purchase it, I started to wonder if there was something actually there.
After deciding that there was a seed of something bigger, I reached out to Hannah, who had been my colleague at Popsugar about a decade prior. We’d stayed friends after I moved on to a new job and had always reconnected for wine and conversation when she visited the East Coast. Our lives ran in parallel a lot: We got married around the same time, loved fashion and shopping, and, at the time, both had small daughters. She was about to have her second baby, and my pitch went something like, “Hey, I have an idea—would you want to work on it with me?”How it’s come to be since has been a lot of hard work and allowing ourselves to dream. That last part can sound like a little bit of mumbo-jumbo, but I actually think it’s really hard for people. I was working with a career/life coach at the time, and we had so many conversations about banishing negative self-talk and letting myself think it was possible. I still tell her thank you for that: “Remember when you told me, ‘Leah, stop staying, ‘my little magazine idea’—say ‘In Kind’ instead and be proud of what you’re doing.’”
Hannah - After my first daughter was born, I found myself approaching storytelling entirely differently—there were so many conversations I wanted to have with other women, other mothers, and other creatives. I didn’t have the appetite I used to for celebrity style culture, and I started sharing some of my writing in long-form IG captions. When Leah reached out with the idea to work on In Kind together, it felt like I was getting to do exactly what I was supposed to. I’m forever grateful for the opportunity to build this together.
Mom, entrepreneur, you two do it all– how do you keep your cool with so many balls in the air?
Leah - For starters, I think it’s important to admit that part of it is just personality based—I’m a pretty calm person by default. Nature or not, I like to remind myself that it’s about the long-game, and that at the end of day, we’re not saving lives: It’s okay if things move to tomorrow’s to-do list or we go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink. You can almost do an exercise of peeling back things, asking, “Does this really matter?” At the end of it you get to the core, with health and family being the only things that really matter. Once you do that enough, it’s just something you live.
Also, though, I don’t always keep my cool (and I think any mother with young kids who says they do should be eyed suspiciously). There are occasional moments when I worry I might actually lose my sanity—picture a tantrum’ing toddler, a crying baby, barking dogs, all being loud at the exact same time. I understand what second-time moms told me now: It’s easier when you know the hard days end. I remember crying while holding my daughter; it was so hard. Now I’m definitely a little less flappable and more patient, though I still will call for my husband every now and then and say, “I need you to take over for a second. I need a minute.”Hannah - I am an anxious person by nature, so I crave balance and a bit of a routine. That’s not always possible, but there are daily practices that help ground me—a gratitude journal to start the day, and a hot bath to bring it to a close. Other than that, I try to roll with it as much as I can, and to recognize that we only have little kids for a fleeting bit of time. Knowing that this will be over before I even realize it gives me the perspective I need when things start to get wild or I’ve run out of time for myself. I’m also incredibly grateful to have the support I do from my husband and our wonderful nanny. None of this works without them.
Every page in an In Kind issue oozes with creativity. How do you nurture your creativity/stay inspired? What are your go-to's when you’re in a rut?
Essentially, I love to be “lazy”—ignore a to-do list to go on a walk, read, watch TV…ideas can come at the most unexpected times.
If I’m in my head too much about what to write or what to do, getting outside really does wonders for your brain. It really jumpstarts things!
Advice : I loved what Jamie Beck said in issue no. 5 about the value of waking up and taking each day as it comes—to try not to have plans or an agenda and just let things unfold. I think that actually ties in closely with your question about creativity—so much of her work requires maximum creativity, and she explained how that attitude has been crucial in letting her explore and see little things she might otherwise miss, like buds right before they blossom or a really gorgeous sunrise.
Tip/Trick : There was a roundtable about “the art of cheerleading for yourself” in issue no. 5 that focused on how difficult it can feel to tout yourself or your accomplishments—and it’s so important for building a career or a brand. Natalie Steen from The Nat Note shared a trick for reframing it that I thought was so smart, essentially saying that she replaced the fear of what others would think if she shared an outfit she was wearing or promoted her newsletter with the bigger “fear” of “staying on the same career path” (she was a practicing lawyer before she focused on The Nat Note full-time). “I can easily cast away any ill-feeling by playing a game of hindsight comparison: Would I rather talk about what I’m wearing or be burning the midnight oil over transactional documents?” That idea has helped me a lot when we’re considering emailing for help or asking people to share, sign up, subscribe—basically, anything that feels “annoying.” I remind myself it’s vital for us to grow and get to the place we want to be.
Tip/Trick : I interviewed Ellie McNevin for our newsletter and was so struck with how she’s really gamed certain parts of her life to work smarter and maximize the time she has. She’s reinvented date nights to be day dates on Saturdays, since she can’t have a sitter put her son to bed right now. She’s used work trips as an opportunity to connect with girlfriends and invited them along when it works. She’s basically flipped the script, improvising to make room for these important parts of life that can fall by the wayside if we get caught up in what doesn’t work with young kids or in this phase of life.
Picking a favorite from all of those is hard, but one of the stories I’ve thought about the most since editing it is a compilation of advice from slightly older mothers I admire about what they did with raising their children. When you’re in it with little kids, you’re in it—survival is the first priority, but I also want to be thoughtful about routines and traditions we’re establishing. I loved hearing specific takeaways from these women with kids in their 20s and 30s who seem like they want to come home and hang out with their parents. That’s what I want in 20 years from now! I’m all about copying what they did right—this is one piece I told my husband I absolutely want him to read, too.
I also absolutely love our cover. Laura Deems is such a talented artist and I was floored when she agreed to do it. I think the result is something really different from anything we’ve done before, and really special.
We’ll send out a Zoom link for our happy hour so everyone can join in. It tends to be a really casual, fun conversation; we love it when it’s everyone chatting, asking questions—a cameras-on kind of thing.
To join in, sign up to become a patron here.
And now for a round of rapid fire questions…Guilty pleasure work out song:
Leah - I’m a Pilates girl, so I don’t actually get a workout soundtrack very often. But if I switch it up, the guiltiest stuff on my playlist is probably Pitbull… I mean, you need infectious energy, right?
Leah - Tokyo Vice on HBO—it took me a while to get around to it, but I finished Jake Adelstein’s podcast, “The Evaporated: Gone with the Gods,” and remembered I’d wanted to watch this. Can’t recommend both enough.
Leah - Hold your judgment, please, but I’m excited for the second season of I Am Georgina on Netflix. And obviously, we’re going to parse out Succession bit by bit in my household to make the final season last as long as possible.
Leah - I don’t want to say ours, but I did just reference Natalie Steen’s trick for reminding yourself that self-promotion is important…so, In Kind on Monday. I’m proud of it and genuinely inspired by Hannah’s essays when I read them for the first time. She has such a talent of plucking a thought from the ether that had just been on my mind, too, and writing about it so beautifully.
Otherwise, Daria Burke writes a LinkedIn newsletter called “The Power of Possibility” that I’ve taken a lot from. She’s been an amazing resource for us—an interview with her is included in issue no. 6—and getting a little download from her in my inbox every week always inspires and excites me about work and personal growth.
Last photo you saved on IG?
Leah - Daria actually shared this, and it really resonated with me. I’ve been thinking a lot about scarcity mindset and how easy it is to feel like you have to say “yes” to things—but that, by doing so, you might not be opening up space for something you should really be doing.
Happy hour drink of choice:
Leah - A white-wine spritzer!
Next dream vacation:
Leah - My tenth wedding anniversary is next year, and I want to celebrate it by going back to where we honeymooned in Scotland. I’d love to carve out a couple of weeks for it and take both of our kids. We haven’t done a big trip as a family yet, and I think by then Europe would feel more doable. I just saw a friend post a trip with her little ones on Instagram, and I thought, “Oh, when both of them can walk I think a trip will feel more approachable…”. Scotland holds such a special place in our hearts, and I’d love to revisit it, now as our little family of four.
Spill it! Can we take a look inside your N&C bag right now? (include a photo if you’d like!)Leah - I switch up my bags frequently, partly because I love bags (and I want to use as many in my collection as possible) and partly because life demands different types: a big one that can hold a laptop for going into the city; medium for going out with the fam so I can throw wipes and diapers in it; small when all I need is my wallet and sunglasses.
That MO has made pouches invaluable, and I love that this one is chic enough that it can double as its own bag. Right now it’s holding essentials so I can easily move it between bags (Dove’s doesn’t-feel-icky hand sanitizer, my favorite pen, Burt’s Beeswax, and this menthol gum I can only find in the UK—it packs a BIG punch, and I always stock up at the airport drugstore when traveling). I’m planning on bringing it along for a vacation this spring with my husband—en route it’ll hold these type of basics, but then I’ll use it solo to hold just my cards, lip balm, and phone when we go out for dinner.
Hannah - I adore a top handle bag and how chic and polished they look, even if the rest of your outfit is somewhat simple or casual. This one is also the perfect size to stash all the essentials, which right now includes: my airpods (for all my podcast listening), Fresh lip balm, which I always have on hand, a notebook and pen to jot down ideas (usually for the newsletter), my phone (in my new favorite case), and Flora ex Machina palo santo hand sanitizer, which is natural and fresh (and made by my sister!).