Feature Friday - Vania Rios
GUYS! I am beyond excited about this Feature Friday because it has been a LONG time in the works. Back in July, I headed out to Chicago to visit a friend and ended up meeting the cutest babe Vania who is a fan of the podcast. I got to spend the afternoon with her and her son, Kaeden. We of course ate some yummy lunch (love a good munch), walked around downtown, and made a quick stop by The Bean. I was able to record a short interview with Vania while we were eating but turns out the recording is SO noisy. Figures. But not to worry because we finally got some questions answered and I want Vania to tell you a little bit about herself!
1. Tell us about yourself!
HI!! I'm Vania (Von-ya)! I'm a wifey to one handsome, goofy fella and mama to one equally goofy little guy Kaeden with another little babe due in May! We also have two furry baby's, Riley & Mila. My husband and I both are from the west suburbs of Chicago, where we grew up and went to high school together. Justin went to Springfield, Missouri for college, where he graduated with a Masters in Architecture. I stayed closer to home and moved to Chicago where I attended Loyola University Chicago. We always laugh because we never crossed paths during high school and met only through a dating app, haha! I guess it was meant to be because only a few short months later we found out that I was pregnant!
I currently spend my days being a mama and wife, first and foremost but a little over a year ago, I was really struggling with all the different aspects of being a new mom and being at home. During that time, one of the things that I loved was sending Justin pictures of our munchkin throughout the day. I slowly started getting deeper into it and I decided to create and found my blog, RiosTalk. I was a little nervous at first because I really had no idea what I was doing and I felt like I was coming way late to the party with some many amazing bloggers out there but it's been the greatest experience so far!
2. Here at Munchin' With Moguls, we consider everyone a mogul! Why do you think you are a mogul or influential person?
Holy moly, what a question. I think 'mogul' is such a powerful word so I wouldn't even consider myself remotely close to that. Maybe influential person is better but I still think that's reaching. I am hardly a Ginger Parrish or Mary Lauren. I guess I'd consider myself more of just a young mom trying to navigate her way through motherhood with as much sanity as possible, haha! But I do think that we each can be influential in our own ways through the experiences and stories we have to tell. For me, it's really all about putting little pieces of myself out into the world, whether that be something I'm struggling with at the time or something that just makes me happy, and getting genuine, good old fashioned human connection back. I think more and more, in this day and age, it gets harder and harder to put yourself out there and connect with people on a deeper level, especially if it means that you make yourself vulnerable. But I think social media reminds us that vulnerability is beautiful and I'm so grateful to have found a community of beautiful mama's and gals who remind me of this everyday - and who aren't afraid to be vulnerable right back! So refreshing!
3. How do you define success?
Success = true happiness in everything that you do and with everyone that you surround yourself with while still remaining true to who you are and what you believe in. There's so many influences around us and everyone trying to do the same thing that it's so easy to get sucked in to the chaos and forget who you are. Anyone who truly embraces who they are and loves what they do and the people that they share it with is the most successful person in my eyes.
4. Can we talk about your wedding in France? Everyone is jealous and wants to hear all about it!
Ok, honestly, I still can't even believe that was us. haha! If someone would have told me a few years ago that I would've agreed to a destination wedding, I would have thought they were nuts. But looking back at it now, I am soooo glad that I agreed! It was definitely not our original plan. Justin and I both came to the agreement that we didn't want to have our wedding in a banquet hall so we initially were going for a backyard wedding but with budget in mind and a mass amount of family and friends, it was just all becoming overwhelming. So, Justin one day had the idea to get married in Paris, and idk if I was just feeling crazier than normal that day or what but I agreed and that was that! I had always wanted to go and he had been there several times and loved it so it really was the perfect destination. It turned out so perfect. We had a week's long vacation in Paris with our immediate family.
Planning was really not as stressful as I thought it was going to be from another country. We had great direction from our photographer, who really gave us great input and helped us put together the best team of people for the big day. We opted to stay in an apartment instead of a hotel ,which for us was important because we had Kaeden and we wanted him to be as comfortable as possible. There was more than enough space in there for us to throw our ceremony so that's exactly what we did! We had florists come in and create a beautiful backdrop with flowers and candlers over the fireplace where we exchanged our vows. It was just dreamy and so intimate. I literally balled like a baby! Afterwards, our family stayed behind with Kaeden in the apartment, where they were spoiled by a private chef that we had hired for dinner, while Justin and I went around Paris to take photos.
I think the really special part of it all was that it really made the whole idea of our wedding day about just the two of us and celebrating with those closest to us. That's something that I will forever cherish.
5. You unexpectedly found out you were going to be parents when you had Kaeden, how did you come to terms with that? Was it a pretty emotional journey?
Yes! But emotional in a good way! We found that I was pregnant only a few months into our relationship so it was a big shock! But I think we were both in the place in our lives where we knew that we wanted kids and if it happened then it happened. It just made it even sweeter that we knew that we truly wanted to be together and make it work. We had both always wanted kids and saw ourselves as parents so it made the idea of becoming parents easy and exiting. We had to quickly come up with solutions while I was pregnant as far as living arrangements because Justin was working and living in the city at the time while I had just started going to school again and living in the burbs. It was hard for a little while there because we were shuttling back and forth for the first half of my pregnancy between our places and sometimes didn't get to see each other as much as we would have liked. Once we did move in together, Justin was still working in the city and taking the train to and from the city, sometimes not making it home till 8 pm so it still wasn't the most ideal situation for us. But we made it work. Thankfully once Kaeden was born, Justin was able to find a job closer to home!
I think the most emotional part of our journey came after Kaeden was born. We were hit with so many emotions at once that we didn't even know we could feel for something so tiny and not only that, but we were still learning a lot about each other. Then you throw a newborn in the mix plus no sleep and it can make for some pretty emotional moments. We both had to adjust in our own ways. For Justin, it was more coming to terms with the constant worry that something was going to happen. He would panic at the tiniest little thing. It was actually kinda cute seeing him so nervous and protective about Kaeden. For me, it was more of a physical and emotional ride. I had to come to terms with the fact that my body had just popped out a human and that it was going to take a while to feel any sort of normal. The emotional was more of a build up. It was a mix of sleep deprivation for 10 months straight, learning how to stay at home and still keeping my sanity and really just learning how to be myself in this every changing world of mommyhood. That's where the blog really helped me because I found something that I loved to do that involved being a mom but that I could still be myself in.
6. What do you love most about living in Chicago?
That it's Home Sweet Home. No matter how many cities we visit or places we get to travel to, every time we come back it just feels so good to be there. Even when we take trips into downtown, it's still has this homey feeling to it. And I love that you get all the seasons here. Watching the leaves change everywhere is just so beautiful. And then seeing the city completely morph into this winter wonderland is my favorite! There's so many fun things they have going on during the holidays that make Chicago winters more bearable. There's really anything and everything here for everyone no matter what the weather is. We've taken a few trips to the beach and zoo with Kaeden during the summer and it's been so fun watching him enjoy the city as much as we do. I really can't imagine raising a family anywhere else and it having the same warm feeling.
7. Who are some of your favorite influencers / influential people to follow and why? Where that is blogs, authors, podcasts, etc.
Oh my gosh, there's so many! Everyone has such a unique style these days that I'm drawn to so many amazing people on social media. My favorite podcast is a no brainer - Munchin' with Moguls - duh! I just love how you highlight women from so many walks of life. I fall in love with everyone that you interview. It's like making a new friend!
Some of my favorite influencers to follow are other mama's - Mary Lauren, Makelle Ahlin, Tayler Golden, Ginger Parrish - just to name a few. I feel like right now in this point of my life I can just relate to what they go through on a daily basis. Mommin' ain't easy! Plus, a lot of the mom's I follow have gone on to start their own business ventures which inspires me to one day pursue the same!
8. If you could give one word of advice to someone who is trying to reach their goals, what would it be?
I feel like I could go on and on with this one, cause I've learned so many lessons along the way. I think that one of the hardest things that I have learned is that as much as you may want to be, not everyone is going to turn out to be your friend. And that's ok! There's always going to be people out there who want what you have, are jealous and just are all around in it for themselves. You just have to let them be. Focus on what your doing and the people who build you up, not tear you down. Those who truly love you and support you will always have a good feeling around when they are near.
Another thing I would say is don't let self doubt get the better of you. I think we all struggle with this sometimes. It still happens to me more times than I can tell you but I think being able to pick yourself and say - I can do this - is so important. You have to believe in yourself, even at the times that you don't.
YOU GUYS. DO YOU NOT LOVE HER AS MUCH AS I DO??!! This girl has such a genuine spirit about her. It has been so fun chatting over social media since meeting. She is 100% the reason I do what I do and why I think social media is such an incredible space. There is no way I ever would have come in contact with Vania without that powerful space and now I consider her a true friend. Thanks so much for reading todays Feature Friday - until next week!