Hey, Cool Mom! with Tricia Hyland

Hey, Cool Mom! with Tricia Hyland

Drum roll, please...

She's down-to-earth, she's classy, and she's got great taste.  She's been a thrifting wizard since high school.  Her beautiful home is filled with unique finds and personal treasures, which she displays in careful and deliberate ways.  She knows a ton about art and design, but she's more concerned with what YOU'RE into.  She's been making me feel cool since college...

I give you, my kind and tender friend, Tricia Hyland. 

1.  Tell us about your family.

My husband and I started dating when we were 18 years old. Through many stages of life, we have shared so much - everything really. We have graduated, lived alone, lived together, lived abroad,  traveled, started first careers, started new careers, graduated again, married, bought a place to call home, and are raising our two children together.  The older I get the more I am convinced that the privilege of growing up AND growing old together is the epitome of good fortune.


Our son Henry is 4 years old. He loves music, museums, chocolate, superheroes, his "buddies", and talking...lots of conversation! Our son Will just turned 1 year old. He loves anything his older brother loves and has more energy and perseverance than anyone I know. He started crawling at 3 months and walking at 9 months. He keeps us on our toes and is as charming as can be.


We live in a condo in Chicago. We spend a lot of time out in our neighborhood to be sure to get as much time outdoors as possible. This is more about fresh air than exercise as we love morning donut and evening wine walks. These little luxuries are key to balance during a hectic week. Most people cringe when we tell them we live in a condo with our two little, energetic boys. While more space would always be nice, we love living in close quarters with one another (for now!). My husband is a self-proclaimed minimalist and is vehemently against all forms of clutter. While I would prefer to hoard small, albeit adorable, objects, this makes for a good balance and use of our limited living space.


2.  What do you do most days?

My last year was incredibly busy and full of adjustments as we welcomed our youngest son to our family and my husband and I both started new jobs simultaneously. Interviewing 9 months pregnant was an unexpected and new experience for me. However, I was fortunate to receive the job offer and started a new position after nine weeks of maternity leave. This was a big shift in all of our family routines as I left a position where I worked from home 1-2 days a week. All in all, it was the right choice, but required extra endurance to get through the adjustment period.  I'm pretty sure that I went about 6 months without sleeping more than 4 hours in a 24 hour period…which was brutal.

The silver lining was that I learned my little family is not one to shy away from challenge and that our foundation is strong enough to sustain lots and lots of transition! My job is in development and the work is interesting and locally relevant as I work for a regional planning agency. Being a lifelong Chicagoland native, the local aspect is important to me. My work is focused on making the place where I am from and where I am raising my own children better.  Of course, working full time with small children is a constant balancing act.


While at work, we have a nanny who watches our children four days a week. We are also lucky to live close enough to family that our moms alternate watching our sons one day a week (hooray for moms!). Preschool, park trips, grocery store outings, swim lessons, naps, long walks, baking cookies, and zoo visits are all staples of our daily lives. Meal planning, meal prepping and a detailed family calendar are also key to keeping our family from becoming a case study of dysfunction.

While I feel super busy and have many different roles in my life right now, it comforts me to think that young children seem to see their mothers pretty one-dimensionally as “their mom”. As adults, we often look back with admiration for all that our parents did while we were young – maintain careers, volunteer, build family traditions – but that lens is only in hindsight. There is something magical about maternal love that in spite of so many distractions our children know they are our top priority. That is comforting to me on many levels. 

3. Who/What is inspiring you these days?

I am in a phase of life where I am never doing just one thing at a time. Efficiency and organization are huge. My friend recently gave me “The Kinfolk Home: Interiors for Slow Living”. The book is an inspiring collection of beautiful photography and essays about “slow living”. The book includes essays from all over the world and is calming experience to just sit and read. I try to keep the perspective that there is joy in slowing down and simplifying in spite of the demands of work and raising young children.

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Page from Kinfolk Home

Page from Kinfolk Home

4.  What books are you reading?

This is an embarrassing question to answer as I am not reading any books right now. I have a stack of books on my nightstand that are getting dusty in their new function as bedroom décor and I make mental notes of people on the train who seem to be enjoying their read as I'm ordering diapers off Amazon. Currently, my reading mostly includes reading news updates or New York Times articles on my phone. One day I will make good on my self-promise to read more books and go to the gym more often, but until then I will continue to crash at 9:30 pm each evening.

5.  What's your favorite song for 1) feeling sad  2) a dance party

1)  For feeling sad, my “go-to” is Soloman Burke’s “Cry to Me” 

2)  I would have to revert to my love of Shakira for a dance party.

6.  What artists or designers do you like?

A few years back I started a small business called Dinner Party with one of my closest friends selling, styling, and renting vintage dinnerware. The idea was to add character to event styling and home décor in a way that was sustainable and beautiful with an heirloom aesthetic.

from a feature in  Chicago Mag  (Dinner Party vintage dinnerware and styling)

from a feature in Chicago Mag (Dinner Party vintage dinnerware and styling)

We spent a lot of time studying and rethinking the function of antique dinnerware and researching culinary traditions to develop new purposes.

from the same  Chicago Mag  feature

from the same Chicago Mag feature

At that time, I developed a massive appreciation for Julia Child. In spite of being completely nontraditional in her marriage (i.e. no kids in the 1950’s) and career (a woman in a male dominated field), she was incredibly successful with her “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”.  Just recently, I came across Paul Child’s (Julia’s husband) book of published photographs from 1948-1954 entitled France Is a Feast. The photographs are very candid and personal. The compilation is described as “a husband’s loving record of his wife and their life in Paris” which only added more depth and relatability to Julia Child. Even though the photographs are from the 1950s, they feel very modern. So I guess the artist I am currently into is Paul Child and, of course, his muse Julia! Check it out!  

Look at Julia Child being such a badass babe!  Preview more awesome pics  here .

Look at Julia Child being such a badass babe!  Preview more awesome pics here.

7. What trips are you planning?

I am slightly obsessed with planning trips and love the app Hopper for watching flight prices. At this point in my life, the trips never really happen, but it is still fun to plan. I see trip planning as my grown up mechanism for daydreaming. To harness this energy my husband and I have a working document of places (from local to international) that we want to travel to with our children over the next twenty years. We are also hoping for a big trip in 2020 for our ten-year anniversary. In the meantime, I am content with the shores of Lake Michigan for weekend getaways.

 a little peek into what Hopper can do for wanderlust.

 a little peek into what Hopper can do for wanderlust.

8. What clothes are making you feel good?

My wardrobe is a mix of “wear to work” and “wear to the park” clothes. Blues, greys, browns and blacks are my comfort colors. I have navigated towards wearing more monochromatic outfits as it’s just easier. The downside is that black shows every bit of yogurt, applesauce, or whatever else my 1-year-old son has on his little hands as I'm attempting to walk out the door. I keep my jewelry simple and, of course, easy. My “jewelry uniform” includes gold stud earrings, my wedding bands, and a simple gold necklace.  Here are a few other items that are my current and/or steadfast faves.

This Madewell/J. Crew bag is perfect for work meetings, inconspicuously transporting breast milk, or using as an ad hoc diaper bag. It is a multi-purposeful “everything bag”.  

I have a pair of shoes similar to these but with an ankle strap that I wear a few times a week. I am thinking of updating to this mule version soon.

These Banana Republic Sloan pants are a great fit. My sister opened my eyes to them. They are versatile for wearing to work and meet the demands of my daily walking/public transportation commute.

Crew neck sweatshirts have always been a favorite. Most of mine are pretty old, worn and comfy, but this looks like the perfect upgrade.


Don't you just love Tricia's perspective on everything?  She's just so darn thankful, and thoughtful, and authentic about her experience as a mom.  She's real special, inside and out.  

Thanks for being the coolest, Tric.

Stay Cool, Mom on Cup of Jo!  Links to capsule wardrobes and work uniforms

Stay Cool, Mom on Cup of Jo! Links to capsule wardrobes and work uniforms

Weekly Culture Report:  Cooped Up x Infinity

Weekly Culture Report: Cooped Up x Infinity