Meet James Kicinski-McCoy of Bleubird and Mother Mag

James Kicinski-McCoy is one of those girls who knows just where to go and what to wear to get there. When you find out she’s got four kids on top of juggling her various creative projects, you want to know what her secret sauce is. That’s probably why her lifestyle site, Bleubird, has become so popular since she started it in 2008; people just can’t get enough of her stylish-but-approachable take on life. James has been based in Nashville for the last three years or so, and recently opened an incredible store there called Two Son, so when we decided to feature the city on Rip & Tan (check back for our city guide tomorrow), we knew we had to visit her space and talk to her about where to go in town. Here’s what she had to say. XXJKE

Rip & Tan: What are some of your favorite things about Nashville?

James Kicinski-McCoy: I love the slower-pace, the Southern hospitality, there’s good food, the music scene is obviously incredible, and I have found some of the greatest friendships here.

Rip & Tan: What does a perfect 24-hours in Nashville look like?

JKM: Brunch at Margot, a hike at Percy Warner, Mas Tacos Chicken Tortilla Soup for lunch, watching the fireflies with a chocolate-dipped avocado paleta in the park at dusk, dinner at City House, and catching a show before calling it a day. Can you tell I like to eat?

Rip & Tan: How did you come to find your place? What’s the story behind it?

JKM: We were living in Houston at the time and decided on a whim to take a road trip up here to check it out. We had been wanting to move and had considered Austin, the Bay area, and Portland, but one evening Nashville came up in conversation and the rest is really history. We visited for two days, looked at three houses, signed a lease and moved-in two months later.

Rip & Tan: How would you describe the style of your home?

JKM: Our home is what I like to call dated-modern. The house has great bones with lot of light, but needs some upgrades. Our furniture and decor is kind of a cozy-hodgepodge of things that we love, and can withstand a good beating from four kids. It definitely feels like home here.

Rip & Tan: What room or space do you spend the most time in and why?

JKM: My bedroom when I can get away with it. I love my bed almost more than my husband. If I’m not in my bedroom, you’ll probably find me in the kitchen.

Rip & Tan: How do you tend to entertain in your home?

JKM: I love to entertain, but I haven’t been as much these days due to our busy schedules. Lately, it’s been inviting friends over last-minute for food, wine, and good conversation in the backyard. When I had more time, hosting everyone for brunch was my thing. Time to start doing that again.

Rip & Tan: Where do you do most of your work? Is it challenging or liberating to work from home?

JKM: I work from home as much as I can and I LOVE it. I just work better and focus more there as opposed to working from my store, Two Son, or anywhere else. I am too easily distracted. Plus, I’ll take any excuse to stay in ratty t-shirts and PJ pants for as long as I can.

Rip & Tan: Where do you go or what do you do to get inspired?

JKM: I travel a lot, which makes for great people watching in other cities and at the airport, but it’s easy to find inspiration anywhere. Music, old books, photographs, films—you name it.

Rip & Tan: How do you find balance between all of your different projects and family life?

JKM: I feel like I am always trying to find a healthy balance and time management has become a big priority. There is a lot going on, which can make it difficult to be mindful during one task or project. I feel like I am always working, but I am also really good at shutting everything down and focusing on family. I try to unplug during the evenings and weekends and really be present. It’s a necessary reset and good for the soul.

Rip & Tan: What recent project are you particularly excited about?

JKM: We just bought the house we’ve been renting since we moved to Nashville last month and are getting started on a complete home renovation—exterior and interior. They just started on the roof today.

Rip & Tan: What inspired you to start Mother?

JKM: There was a big void in the online parenting market that needed to be filled. There really was no one-stop shop for moms and moms-to-be. I had been trying to figure out a way to fill this void on my own and my now business partner Katie Hintz-Zambrano had been thinking the same. We happened to meet on a press trip and a few months later the concept for Mother was born. On our site we cover all chapters of motherhood along with a healthy dose of style, beauty, home, food, and more. It’s a true labor of love and I am really proud of it!

Rip & Tan: How has the response been? What are your goals for the project?

JKM: The response has been amazing and the feedback is so encouraging. Our readers seem to really appreciate the content we churn out and that we provide information and not just inspiration. It’s also cool to learn how many non-moms read us every day! As far as goals, we have big, big plans for Mother and we are getting ready to launch phase two of our site soon. 

Rip & Tan: What do you put on when you want to feel like yourself?

JKM: Jeans and a t-shirt.

Rip & Tan: What makes you feel glamorous?

JKM: Heels and red lipstick.

Rip & Tan: What do you teach your kids about style and your daughters about beauty?

JKM: I want all of my kids to experiment and dress for themselves. Style is fun. Fashion is fun. Self-expression is fun. There are no strict rules as far as style goes. As long as nothing is too revealing or gothic (ha!), then it’s fair game. As far as beauty goes, I want nothing more than to show my girls that beauty does not define a woman or her success and potential. In this era of fillers and filters, it’s important to instill the true definition of beauty.

Rip & Tan: What do you do to stay healthy?

JKM: Lots of water, fresh, leafy food, I take vitamins, and I try to nap when I can. When I work out it’s usually walking the hills in my neighborhood, bouncing on my mini-trampoline, or Ballet Beautiful because it’s done 90% on the floor and I am lazy.

Rip & Tan: How would you describe your typical diet?

JKM: I try to eat very healthy during the week—little to no wheat, sugar (with the exception of a glass of wine sometimes), and no dairy, but once Friday evening hits, all bets are off. I don’t believe in completely depriving myself of any one food. I’ll treat myself on the weekends to a huge cheeseburger if I’m craving one, or a plate of tacos and a stiff margarita (or two). Like with all things in life, I’m working towards balance, and that reflects in my diet.

Rip & Tan: What is your beauty philosophy?

JKM: Sleep, hydrate, cleanse your face at night, and smile often. I believe that stress and insecurities are thieves. Beauty really starts on the inside. The older (and I think, wiser) that I get, the more this rings true.


Photos:  Christopher Morely