Veronique Vicari Barnes grew up in the entertainment industry in L.A. and enjoyed success as an actress and custom jewelry designer. After becoming a mom to her twins, Juliet and Jagger, she channeled her artistic fire in a new direction and created Ice Cream Castles, a whimsical line of kids clothing. We caught up with Veronique about motherhood, creativity and the elusive work/life balance.
Congratulations on your adorable clothing line, Ice Cream Castles! What inspired you to start your company?
Thank you so much! Our original idea was to create vintage-inspired t-shirts for children, but once we realized how oversaturated that market is, we let our imaginations run wild and dreamed up a story about children who travel to special, made-up places. Our first collection was born from a tale where the children found clothing in a treasure chest in an Ice Cream Castle. With each collection, we write a new story about a different magical place these children travel to and then design the collection around that story.
There’s been a lot of talk about how motherhood dampens creativity—but it seems like its reignited yours! Any tips for artsy moms to get their creative juices flowing?
Motherhood has inspired me in so many ways. I think it’s normal for moms to feel like they won’t be able to continue on their career paths if they have children, and I have to admit I thought the same. Once I had my twins, I quickly realized that children bring such abundance. Becoming a mother and spending time with my kids has brought me to a level of creativity I’ve never felt before. I felt so empowered after having my twins—if I could give birth to two children at once, there really wasn’t anything I couldn’t do.
I’ve always felt inspired by whimsical, magical elements like fairies and unicorns, rainbows and mermaids, so naturally with kids around, my imagination exploded! Having children sets you free in a way because you can create without fear of judgment. Once you let go and just try it without being so concerned about the outcome, everything becomes so much easier. I believe it’s important to slow down and soak up the simplicity that children bring to life– being present, discovery, nature… It is easy to forget the simple beauty of a butterfly, but spending time with kids reminds us to really SEE that type of beauty, which always gets my creative juices flowing.
What’re the most delightful and challenging aspects of having twins?
The most delightful aspect of having twins is watching the bond between my children. Their connection makes my heart full. The most challenging aspect of having twins is wanting to give them both my attention at the exact same time. Making sure they each get quality one-on-one time with me is a huge priority, so I have a chance to really give them that undivided attention.
If you could hand off one chore to someone else each day, what would it be?
What is your favorite thing to do to relax and unwind?
I love to take baths and listen to music; music always helps calm my mind. I also practice yoga every day, which I feel is essential self-care!
What is your best parenting hack?
Get up before the children do… and make coffee! It’s imperative to have a moment in the morning to gather your thoughts, meditate and just center yourself. Packing lunches the night before also helps!
What is the best white lie that you’ve told your child?
That mermaids, pirates, fairies (and Santa!) exist.
If you could describe motherhood/fatherhood in one word, what would it be?
What’s one moment in your motherhood journey that has made you proud?
On our way out of Target one day, my twins Jagger and Juliet were stunned to see a man who was sleeping on the street. I explained to them that he probably had no home or family and not much to eat. Later that day, I walked into their room and they had packed a bag with blankets and clothes for the man and asked if we could go give it to him. In that moment I felt so happy and proud of my children and their compassionate hearts.
What is one piece of advice you want to pass along to your children?
Live an inspired life. If there is one thing I hope my kids take from me, it is realizing they can do anything, and that possibilities are endless if you work hard. “Dreaming big” is my motto and I firmly believe you can do it all.
What is one piece of advice you would pass along to other moms?
Love yourself and be kind to yourself. It is sometimes hard to remember that you’re a person, too! Make sure to take care of yourself. Also try not to overthink anything… everyone is just doing their best. Most importantly, live in gratitude. Children grow so fast and it’s so easy to forget how lucky we are as mothers when we are hustling to get through each day. Try to slow down and stay grateful.
How do you tackle the work/life balance?
I don’t sleep very much. I work at night when my children sleep. I try to time-manage as much as possible. I know that sleepless nights and hard work will amount to great things and I am very determined. I work all day while my children are at school and I try to be present for them once I pick them up at 3. I work while they are in after-school classes and try to get as much done in the moments that they don’t need me. I have an amazing team of moms around me, too. The support I get from my team of mom friends keeps me going. It’s tough, but taking the support and help that is offered to you is the key to work/life balance.
What was the last book you read?
The Whole Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel. My son’s preschool teacher gave it to me to read and I LOVED it. It offers a great deal of insight on how to raise happy, resilient children.
Favorite Beauty Product:
Maybelline The Colossal Volume Mascara
Favorite Form of Exercise:
What is on your DVR?
Keeping Up With The Kardashians. I’m also super excited for my friend’s show Take Two that’s coming out on ABC soon!
8mm (it’s a wonderful app that allows you to make vintage looking videos)
Favorite Kids Store:
My new latest obsession is The Reckless Unicorn in Los Angeles. Such cute stuff and the best name ever.