Elizabeth Antonia's New Publication, Early Riser Companion
I love that your career has so many elements.
Can you share each of the different pieces of what you do right now?
Every year has so many new projects. I find that my work as a Creative Director is very much like that of an orchestra conductor. Working with others to bring a vision to life is what makes a project sing. Over the summer, I launched a new line of children’s rentals to add to Yeah! Rentals furniture collection. For the summer shoot, I collaborated with some of my favorite women - namely Kristin from Moon Canyon, Morgan Pansing for photography, and a local clothing designer Cynthia from Devon’s Drawer. I am currently collecting vintage children’s pieces to add to the assortment and dreaming up another photo shoot. I also lead women’s circles and am finishing my family resource book, Early Riser Companion. That is taking most of my attention these days.
Why do you choose to work with your partner?
I only work on special projects for Yeah! Not the day-in and day-out, so we actually have very little overlap in our days.
What is the most special thing about working together?
In all the projects we have, we have always seemed to have a shared vision for it and for our future. I am realizing more and more how rare this is.
If you were to name it, what would you say your life’s work is?
I would say my life’s work is to bring more beauty into the world and to be a light worker. The world can feel so bleak and complex but the truth is we are all connected. I want to remind those around me of that.
What are you passionate about?
The planet. My community. My health. Travel. Creating a sanctuary of home and guarding childhood as a most precious gift.
What are you most proud of?
I am proud that I have learned to surrender to where I have chosen to be and not wish it were any other way. I hate to call my dad out, but he said I earned a degree in “I’ll never get a job” (it was a liberal arts BFA after all) and I have since worked as an Art Director/Creative Director for Coach, Lucky Brand, J Brand Jeans, Apple, Ergobaby, etc.
When I had my girls, I made a decision to really ebb and flow with it so I could be at home with them as much as possible. We spend so much time judging or second guessing our decisions, and I have come to a place of total ease knowing my next step will be the right one for myself and my family. I am also grateful that I have a partner that has pursued his dreams and always wants me to pursue mine.
Do you have a favorite element of your work?
I have such a vast number visual references and interests that guide what I create, and it feels like my library just keeps expanding with the people that I meet and the projects that I am folded into. I love feeling nervous before a shoot - again, it is a bit like conducting an orchestra - it is a live performance with so many variables. I love that I feel proficient in my work and can make decisions without second guessing them. That is a very satisfying feeling.
I’ve long admired the intention and care you infuse in your role as a mother. How has being a mother informed your work and the way you show up in the world?
There isn’t a manual when you enter into your “householder” years. You just have to do, do, do until it’s done. I had this question I used to whisper to myself when things were hard in the first few years of being a mother, “If not the mama, then who?” When you are a mother, you are naturally spending a lot more time in a connected space. It really forced me to shift my boundaries and be more deliberate with where I focused my attention. I also have a deep yoga practice from before my children were born. When I do things that are life-giving, I can connect back into my body and then serve outward much more effectively. When I am depleted, I half-ass everything. I don’t want to be a half-ass, so my practice truly has been prioritizing and being crystal clear with my time. It isn’t something that I can put on auto-pilot. It takes work. If I look at my work path, it has unfolded in a way where I was able to sync up my interests as a mother. I started a blog in 2011 and through it and the work I was doing at Apple, I was offered an opportunity to be Creative Director at Ergobaby. I honestly look forward to the next phase of my life to see where my work will take me as my interests shift.
Please tell us all about your newest project, The Early Riser Companion. Why did you want to create it, and why is it special to you?
Early Riser Companion is a beautifully illustrated family resource book with rhythms, rituals, and ideas for traditions that take you through the arc of the day and the seasons of the year. It is a book for the new parent, a treasure for someone already along the parenting path, a spark of inspiration towards more growth and perspective.
The parenting journey can be an isolating one. There is so much in the culture surrounding us that is ready to tell us who we should be as parents. I believe that a lot of how we parent comes from an unconscious remembrance of how we were raised. I wanted to really question our limiting beliefs and started writing articles on topics around this and collaborated on photo stories with some of my favorite photographers. Each story is not only beautiful to look at but also probes deeper in the essays.
In addition, there are some of my favorite recipes, self-care routines, and ideas to make our daily transitions smoother. My biggest inspirations for this book are The Farmer’s Almanac, which I used to love to read when I was little as well as Ram Dass’ Be Here Now and the children’s authors Richard Scarry and Shel Silverstein.
An unexpected happening while I have been working on the book is that I’ve started leading conscious parenting circles in LA (and as far away as Seattle!) So much of what is now in this book has sprung forth from working with other parents. I cannot wait to share this work with others.
A question for Elizabeth’s daughters —
What is your mom good at?
Elodie and Francesca: Staring contests. Making pumpkin pie with us. Singing loudly. Reading me stories. Cuddling. Taking us to the ocean. Being awesome!
Two questions for Elizabeth’s husband, Michael —
Who is Elizabeth in a song?
Mi Vida - Manu Chao
Elizabeth introduced me to this artist when we first met; on the surface it seems like a fun “world music” record, but it’s deeply complex music in 4 or 5 different languages about love, politics, struggle, and the sweetness of life. Manu Chao’s music is Elizabeth embodied.
What is your favorite thing about Elizabeth?
Michael: Elizabeth sees the positive in everything, but she doesn’t take it too seriously. She is our North Star in travel, in day-to-day life, and she brings a sweet, simple joy to everything she does, whether it’s something as simple as lighting a candle or keeping fresh flowers in the house, or expertly curating a day of one-off experiences, food, and entertainment in Stockholm. She shows us the very best that life has to offer while laughing and goofing all the way through.
You can learn more about Elizabeth’s new book,
Early Riser Companion, and get a copy right here.