JOURNAL

THE NIXON FAMILY

THE NIXON FAMILY

 Kendra, George, Legend & Goldie
All Photos by Suzy Raskin 

NH: It was so awesome getting to spend the day with you and your family!! Will you tell us a little about yourself?  What do you, where are you from, where do you live? All that good stuff!

KN: I've been in informal event planner all of my life. Weddings, bridal showers, baby showers, birthdays - I'm your gal. I quit my job shortly after having Legend and was excited at the possibility of choosing a job that pursued my own personal passions. I looked a ton of jobs but couldn't bare the thought of having a boss again. I need to feed my soul. I decided to take a chance and become an event planner. I signed up for every free platform I could find and created a website while Legend took a nap. My first official year in business, I made the goal of 10 weddings and I did it! 

In addition, I am also a co owner of The Collab SF. It is a coworking/maker space by day, event/workshop space by night/weekends. A group of amazing ladies and I created our own mom supporting/community facebook group and within the same month this space opened up and it was just too good of a deal. After a few meetings and lots of wine, we decided on the concept. Our mission is "creating space for women" whether that is a workspace, a space to grow your business, network, laugh, cry, get a hug - we got you! 

We live in the Sunset district of San Francisco. I moved here from San Diego to go to college in 2006 and lived near campus. My roommates and I moved to the Sunset to be close to school and I loved living near the beach - it felt like home. I met my husband shortly after moving here and he is a surfer, so being near the beach is a necessity for him as well.

I’m surprised you can handle all of the San Francisco fog considering you came from San Diego! What drew you to SF as the place to call home?

I wanted to be far away, I wanted something different. My dream was {to move to} New York. My best friend and I looked into colleges we wanted to go to together and San Francisco became the new dream. It was a big city; far enough away but still an hour plane ride from San Diego... And Lauren Conrad went to college in San Francisco, so it was the cool thing to do. 

NH: Tell us a little more about your family!!  This includes the one you created, chose or found you! Who do you hold dear? 

KN: We are a wild family of four: George (my husband), Legend is 2.5, and Goldie is 16 months. George’s family is in Montana and my family is in San Diego. We have a close knit group of friends in SF that are our family away from family. I moved here with my best friend back in 2006 and she lives just across the park. We have spent almost everyday together for over 15 years. Our sons are 8 months apart. Her son Harrison called Legend "YaYa," toddler talk to "Ledga," and because he said it all the time, Legend now calls Harrison "YaYa."  It’s pretty cute.



NH: It is pretty amazing that you get to live so close to your best friend and that your boys are so close in age!! Tell us a little more about that friendship.

KN: My freshman year in high school was so hard. My friend group let rumors and petty BS get the best of us and we split. I had zero friends. I started dating a much older guy, which lead everyone to continue to spread rumors about me. I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression. I missed my math class once a week to go see a therapist. My math teacher told me I should be friends with his daughter because she was new to the school. I knew she had befriended the popular girls and there wasn’t a chance in hell she would be friends with me. Fast forward to senior year and we ended up sitting next to each other in government class. She had a boyfriend from another school and was isolated herself. I told her how to take PE classes at community college to earn extra credits and avoid HS PE.  We ended up carpooling, getting jobs together, and doing school projects together. I’ll never forget how nervous she was doing that first project; I think all the rumors she had heard led her to believe I was a real mess, but I took over and showed her the finished result. I felt shocked by how impressed she was. She will tell you today, I am the most reliable person she knows. We’ve been inseparable ever since. We even had matching book bags in college and people still make fun of us for it. She is my better half. She is one of the nicest, warmest, innocent people you’ll ever meet. 

NH: How do you stay connected and nourish the relationships you have with your people?

KN: I feel like I'm connected to so many people who aren't directly in front of me all the time; it gets overwhelming. I'm big on accountability and clear communication. If someone texts me, I can't sleep until I write back. Seriously, this email has been sitting in my inbox for way longer than I'm comfortable with. The age of social media has been helpful in getting out updates and pictures of the kids. Some people in my family love it, some hate it. I should get better at sitting down and having a phone call. (two kids under two). 


My love language is quality time. I love having a partner in the most mundane things. I've cried once because George offered to go to the grocery store with me. I'm a big fan of "car time" - driving listening to music, talking, it can be like therapy. My dad lived 30 minutes away from me as a kid {so to see him} we had to drive "up the hill." There was no service, so no radio- which meant a lot of talking. This is probably where I get it from.

NH: What community -- local, hobby, philanthropy, family, professional, etc -- do you gravitate towards?

KN: The reason I love the Sunset and I love San Francisco is for the community. You can be at a giant music festival and run into someone you know. It feels friendly and close knit.  Someone always knows someone who knows someone you know. Like I said, we don’t have family here, so this sense of community is important to me. I've found a lot of friends becoming a mother. The mom community is so hot right now. Being a mother can be very isolating, I love having a community I can turn to and also offer support to other mothers.



NH: I think the feeling of isolation that comes with motherhood is something that many of us can identify with; and that having a strong support group during those challenging early days (and later teenage years!) is so important!  How did you find your mom community?  

KN: Six weeks after Legend was born, my friend Stephanie told me I should go to a mom lunch at a brewery near my house. There was a postpartum doula there to answer questions, awesome snacks, and lots of other mamas with babes in tow. Legend slept through the whole thing making me look super together, thanks dude. I became a part of the Facebook group and loved hearing other moms stories and questions. Motherhood can be a lonely place, so it was nice to find comfort of community, even if that was online. 

This year, I was inspired to start my own Facebook group with my Collab partners. I’m very proud of the online community we’ve created. It’s a space of support and love. I’m working to create more community events for the group. I’d love to do a community baby shower at least twice a year to celebrate new mamas and help them find their tribe. 

NH: What would a perfect day with your family include? What are your favorite things to do together?

KN: As much as we love the city, we love getting out of it. We love driving south down to Half Moon Bay/Pescadero or find fun places up North. We recently took the kids up to the Russian River for the day. Our kids are good car nappers so that helps!



NH: What sort of traditions or practices do you treasure to connect with your family, friends or community? 

KN: Since having kids, we've implemented experiences over gifts. Last Christmas, I gave everyone in my family a Southwest gift card so they could come visit us. Creating memories with the people I love is what is most important to me.

NH: Is there any driving philosophy that you have that gets you through the day or challenging times?

KN: I push through everything. In my life I don't feel like I am allowed to have excuses. There's too many people and things relying on me. If I'm having a hard time, I don't sit with it for very long. I know there is a way out and I will feel better once I find it. Just do it? Is Nike still using that one?

NH: In the age of social media, it is hard not to compare ourselves to others and focus on where we don’t measure rather than celebrating our own achievements. What are you most proud of either personally or professionally (or both)? 

KN: My social media is very genuine to who I am. I would never post something for the sake of a post. I will go days without posting something...crazy talk in the insta-mom community. If I don’t feel inspired to share something, I don’t. I take a photo with the thought of showing my mom first, not the world. I capture moments I want to remember, find beautiful or inspiring.  I would say I’ve spent the majority of my life not feeling proud of myself, living for a moment, worried about what that would look like, what I would wear- not thinking about how it would make me feel. Destination happiness is what they call it. 

When George and I got married in 2015, I was so stressed and caught up in wedding planning. I was so worried about every detail and what everything would look like. Our wedding was in Kauai and the second I stepped foot off the plane, I cared about nothing - the matching robes I spent hours on the internet finding, the suitcases filled with decor and cake stands, none of it mattered anymore. Like magic, I was present. During those two weeks, everything fell into place and I didn’t even have to try. Everything just felt right. After that, I assumed it was just because of the wedding and I didn’t know if I would ever find that peace again. I reflected a lot. I felt like the last 3 years had flown by with that constant search of “things will be better when..” I looked at our new marriage and the love story we had written. I looked at my own life and what I wanted from it. One theme stuck out to me: “expectation.” The happiest moments in my life were moments that happened without expectation. I let go of the idea that I was going to save everyone, instead I set goals to set them up for success so I could walk away and save myself. 

I saw a quote recently that said, “I had to go all the way over to figure out I wanted to be right here.” That sums up that experience. I had to go so deep into someone else’s reality and sink so low so that I could find myself and what makes me happy and my reality. 

I don’t see the value in comparing myself to others or worrying about how I measure up. It’s taken me a really long time to figure out how to be ok and I’m not about to let anyone take that away from me. 

NH: What do you hope the most for your kids as they get older? Alternatively, what do you worry about most?

KN: I hope my kids know how much they are wanted and loved. When I was pregnant with Legend, this was part of my mantra. "We want you to be here." It was important for me to set him up with that; he will never have to doubt our love for him. I worry about everything. I'm a mom, it’s my job. I have weird quirks; if I'm away from them for work and I come home and they aren't in pajamas, it really grinds my gears. It's the ritual/structure/part of the bed-time routine. I don't know, it’s just one of my things. I worry about holding onto enough memories for them. Seriously those baby books are always staring me down. I just think they're the greatest, funniest people and I want to write it all down. Thank god for iPhones that date and time stamp. For Legend, I worry about him being away from me. He is fully capable of everything, but he's a deep thinker and very sensitive. I worry about someone hurting his feelings and him needing me, I worry he will wonder where I am and not be brave enough to ask. I don't want him to have to be brave. I think this stems from my childhood. I had to take care of myself a lot and be brave. He is brave, but I don't want him to HAVE to be.  

And then there's Goldie. That chick is a force. When she can, I think she will talk herself out of any situation.  Also, people flock to her. I've never had to talk to more people in my life than when I am with Goldie. People offer to help me with my groceries just to have time with her. I don't worry about her as much without me, especially now that she’s off the boob. She loves just about everyone and will let you know what she wants and needs. I mostly worry for other people. Watch her walk up the stairs solo... you'll see what I'm talking about. She's a daredevil.

       

Are there any challenges you face personally or as a family?  How do you handle it or work through them?

KN: Balance. I tend to take everything on. I need to learn how to ask for help. What I want most out of our "parent relationship" is a partnership. Our relationship has always been very divided in the sense that we're very different but understand each other's strengths and what we bring to the table. I love that George is different than me. He makes me more fun, more alive, he would never let me drown in my own sorrows or self doubt. His spirit for life is what has kept me afloat.

Parenting has been difficult on our relationship. I didn't have the expectation things would change, I just assumed they would. Those are different words. I never thought, "George will come home from surfing when he's supposed to." I just assumed he would get it... "I have a baby now so I should communicate with my wife." Nope. I quote the movie "The Break Up" often when Jen Aniston says, "I don't want you to do the dishes, I want you to want to do the dishes." I don't want to tell him what to do. I also don't want him to lose his George-ness. Balance. It's getting better and I think he feels better and more solid as his role as a Dada. That baby phase is tough, they want mama. The kid phase, the fun stuff, the adventures that will be his strength. The pajamas, not so much.


NH: Ha!! I want my husband to want to do the dishes too!!  Do you have any tips on how you adjusted your assumptions/improved your communication with George?  Or have things just gotten easier as the kids get older?

KN: I turn to my dad a lot for marital advice. He is a man of God and also just a man, so his insight is helpful. He and George are very similar in that they may completely piss you off, but they have zero bad intentions. His advice was to see George’s gifts. Until recently I couldn’t. I couldn’t see how this could be positive. I stopped nursing Goldie (her choice) and it pulled me out of the postpartum fog a little bit. I was able to see things in a different light. I’m happy George is who he is. He calls me his rock, unwavering, always solid. He’s like an ocean. He lifts me, carries me, pushes me. I try to remember the person I fell in love with and the reasons why I love him. I don’t love him because he’s good at doing dishes. He sees the impact it makes when he’s helpful and respectful, he feels good when he’s a good dad and a good husband, he just had to figure out what that was for him and how to make it work for him. He can still surf, he just has to schedule it- and he hates that, but he’s getting over it. He’s the ultimate Peter Pan. 

NH: Is there anything you feel vulnerable about as a woman or individual?  If so, would you mind sharing?  

KN: Confidence. Self worth. It's been a very long road for me to be "okay." Surrounding myself with people who love me unconditionally, that know the ins and outs of my soul, who celebrate me for me - I can't thank them enough for doing life with me. They loved me when I didn't know how to love myself. I'll never forget one time my best friend said, "People are going to find out about you." She has seen all along what I've had to offer the world. My kids have given me so much strength and whenever I feel down they remind me I'm a total badass. My births changed my life. Living proof to my strength and what I'm capable of.

NH: How do you try to make creativity a part of your life?

KN: Everything I do is somewhat creative when I think about it. Deciding what to make for breakfast for the kids, what we do, what they wear... fashion is creative right? They're much more fashionable that I am. My work is creative: designing an event or a seating chart, researching different vendors, creating content (ugh, I hate that word) for The Collab's social media...Cleaning my house (I'm considering a grout tutorial in the future), spending countless amounts of time on Craigslist and Facebook marketplace (my new obsession) to find unique touches for the house and my businesses. I could scroll rugsusa.com for hours. Try it, most people last a few minutes before throwing their phone.

NH: What is your go to outfit day to day? (this doesn't have to be anything of our brand....)

KN: Total mom uniform: sweatshirt and leggings. Spanx leggings preferably. I'm working on mixing it up more now that I'm not pregnant or need to whip out a boob at any given minute.

NH: What drew you to Neve + Hawk?

I have no idea how I found it. It was on my feed one day and I clicked it and saw it was in the Bay Area. I knew I had to come see it. It’s one of those places I just want to be in. I knew good things and good people were happening there.

NH: Please tell us a little more about the experience of having a family and also a business?

KN: It's important to me that my clients know that I'm a mom and little about my personal story. My business is personal, I'm there on one of the most important days of your life. We build a connection. When I got married I didn't want to have a team of professionals there, I wanted it to feel like family/friends and that's the vibe I hope I convey to my clients. That being said, they pretty lenient with me and my family commitments. I signed up for too much when Goldie was first born and I took her to several meetings, even a wedding and people were so accommodating.

Again, I seek balance. I get on a roll with something and I just keep going, it’s hard for me to be present and stay grounded with the kids. They pull me back down to earth when I fly off. When I was an executive assistant, the demands were so high and my todo list was so long, George would pick me up from work and say I was "buzzing." I catch myself doing that now. Getting out of the house with the kids and having a little bit of structure to our day helps. I try not to look at emails until naptime, otherwise I'll be at the zoo writing responses in my head rather than playing peek a boo with a grizzly bear.

NH:  What do you think the biggest advantages and disadvantages of being your own boss while trying to raise your kids?

KN: Advantages would be creating my own schedule and being able to be with the kids as much as I am. Disadvantages would be the lack of structure. Those two contradict themselves I guess.  I kind of feel like I’m always in between working and being a mom. I’m figuring it out, creating a system, giving myself space. Other people don’t immediately respond to an email or text, why do I have to? I think it comes with confidence and owning your craft. I feel a shift in this next year. Knowing my worth, more intention, quality over quantity.