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Simplicity Series: Lisa McLean

December 14, 2015

         
Hi, friends! I'm Lisa. I have been married for 21 years to my husband, Pope, whom I met my junior year of college.  We have three children. My daughter is 17, and I have two sons, ages 14 and 5. We live on a horse Farm in Lexington, Kentucky with 5 rescue dogs. We renovated a greek revival home that wasn’t inhabited for over 20 years, so I love to decorate and always seem to have a home project on my hands. Who knew sourcing door knobs could become an obsession? My life is pretty hectic with kids spread so far apart, but it is fun. They keep us on our toes for sure. I started Bella Bliss when I was pregnant with my daughter in 1998. My sister was managing a program for USAID and had identified a strong need for projects where women could work within their own homes.  I launched the company with a friend living in Peru and we began hiring women to crochet the appliqués for the sweaters I designed. I am still always amazed by the artisanship and detail in their handwork. My sister found us our first workshop where the sweaters are loomed by hand, then each appliqué is sewn on. I thought of it as more of a hobby in the beginning and a way to do something creative, but we began expanding into pants and separates and I found myself navigating this entire world of children’s fashion and business. We now work with several small family-owned factories in Peru and two larger factories in El Salvador and Colombia. I visit all of them fairly regularly. I also work with companies in India, Brazil, and Spain to source our fabrics, most of which are exclusive to us. 
     
How do you take care of yourself so that you’re physically and mentally prepared to be your best self for others?
My husband is great about taking care of my youngest on Saturday mornings so I can “re-group” and get things done around the house.  I honestly don’t have much down time, but I do make time for regular massages. That is really the only time my phone is 100% turned off, and it definitely helps with my stress level.  I enjoy walking on the farm with the dogs when I can, and I really enjoy spending time with my kids. They are at such fun ages. 
       
What’s your favorite beauty secret?
I have way too many products in my cabinets!  But, I am obsessed with keeping the sun off of my face, which is probably the only thing that really works. As a former diver and swimmer, I have probably already had way too much sun exposure.  Luckily, my mother was one of the few in the 70’s to make us all wear sunscreen. She was adamant about it.  I was always the nerdy kid with zinc oxide on her nose…Though I complained then, I am so grateful to her now!
      
 What’s your favorite go-to outfit for a quick polished look?
I am in front of a computer all day, so comfort is key. I literally have a summer and winter wardrobe.  Cashmere toppers and ponchos in the winter. Ruffled polos and comfortable tunics in the summer.  Our women’s line is an homage to comfort and my favorite “go-to” pieces.
        
What’s your favorite quick-prep dinner for your family?
I recently became obsessed with Blue Apron.  The age difference with my kids means I usually get home too late for Shep, my 5 year old.  After soccer pick up, etc. we often don’t get home until 7 or 8 pm….when most 5 year olds are getting ready for bed.  I love to cook, so this was a great solution for us. It eliminated the grocery, but I am still able to cook great meals with fresh ingredients for my group.  And it has introduced all of us to some new recipes we would have never considered.  The shrimp and Grits were fabulous…and as a native New Orleanian, that is saying a lot! My favorite cookbook is River Road Recipes 3. It was compiled by the Junior League and offers great southern food that is easy to make in a healthier way.  The Grillades, Jambalaya and Chicken Tortilla Soup are family favorites.
      
Tell us your favorite Instagram account to follow and why?
Oh Gosh, there are so many.  Pope and I have renovated two homes together, so I am a little obsessed with Danielle Rollins right now. I love Darcy Miller and Sarah Tucker, as well as Emily Ley of course!  
     
What tradition or routine is important to you?
Christmas is huge in our home…so many traditions.  We spend every night leading up to Christmas watching a different movie selected by each child.  The tree placement and décor is always a big to-do.  I cook chicken-andouille gumbo from scratch to serve on Christmas night for Pope’s family.  I love that this has become his family’s tradition now too.
     
What’s in your purse?
I actually don’t love carrying a purse!  I have a phone case that carries my most important credit cards and license. When I do carry one, it is GIGI New York, and it isn’t very full. Lip gloss, my latest work files, a Bella Bliss catalog and my wallet. There you have it.  Oh, and legos….
     
Where do you find your inspiration?
Literally EVERYWHERE.  I am always thinking about prints, patterns and texture.  I can be reading a vintage childrens book and something will pop into my head (we have saved all of Popes books from childhood which we have always read to our kids).  Color is huge for me.  I love to decorate, too, so I am really intrigued by home décor and color palettes that can translate into apparel textiles.
     
What’s your favorite app (or other tool) for helping you do life? 
I definitely need help in that department!  I never know what is going to come at me on any given day, so to be perfectly honest I don’t use one right now.  I need to follow Emily’s example more. I think that is why I am so obsessed with her feed!
         
Follow along with Lisa: 
       
copyright 2016 emily ley