Talking with Tanya-

I have been so incredibly lucky in the motherhood phase of my life to meet a handful of incredible women- and this one is a real cracker!! A world acclaimed concert Pianist, and the director of the Alpenkammerusik festivaland a woman as beautiful as the music she plays inside and out- plus she SMOKKS!! It does not get better than that..Tanya Bannister is sweet music in OH SO MANY ways!

How many countries have you lived in? 

Have lived in 4 countries- Hong Kong, UK, Italy and the US.

Tell me about your day-
I like slow mornings and don't have the best discipline getting up with the clock and being on time. When I have my son and we are getting ready for school, it's a lazy 30 minutes of coffee and breakfast before a 15 minute regular panic of tooth brushing, getting dressed and running to school.
I spend the day practicing, running my festival and am starting a non-profit with my friend Xheni Rroji called ArtsStance.
I teach in the afternoons or ferry my son around to lessons and torture him to practice piano and cello daily.
I think like most parents, I am very ready to put my son to bed for some quiet time at the end of the evening.

What being a mother means to you?
I genuinely adore spending time with my son. Since he is with his dad half the week, I really appreciate every moment with him. He is my first priority and I am lucky enough to have flexibility as a musician. I work my schedule around his activities after school so I can support him and make sure he’s doing what he needs to. I vacillate between being a tiger mom and being a goofy and embarrassing parent.

At what age did you know you wanted to be a pianist?
I was four and I just knew from the bottom of my soul (sorry if that’s corny…that’s how it was) that I wanted music to be my life.

Beauty routine?
I am obsessed with my Nu Skin ageloc products. I take good care of my skin and also regularly use the galvanic machine with the ageloc gels. I also always use sunscreen.

New York or London and why?
Both…I love the U.S. as you can go for your dreams and never feel shy about what you achieve. I miss London as it feels more international in that you can quickly get to a diverse number of countries very quickly.

Top 5 things your suitcase must have in it?
My NuSkin products-
Makeup - almost always last thing I pack-
Smokk! - so easy- 
My cubed suitcase organizers - make packing and unpacking so much easier-
My multi vitamins-

Best thing about your job?
That i am studying and spending time with music that stretches and challenges me intellectually, spiritually and physically all the time. The work is never done and I do love that. My life is also pretty flexible and I like having periods of intense work balanced with more chilled out periods.

What does comfort mean to you?
Having people I love near me that have a shared view of the world. I am comforted by people that have humor, humanity and humility.

Why do you love smokks?
I LOVE the colors and prints…I love my Japanese printed floral smokk as well as my rope tying summer dress.

How do you like to feel in clothes?
I love to feel effortlessly chic. I don’t like to feel too done up.

Darling Max’s favorite habit?
My bed is his favorite place and he will relentlessly bargain to spend a night there. He may never speak to me again for mentioning this…let’s hope he will never read this blog.

How many Pianos have you owned?
1 lovely Steinway B and an upright that has electronic capabilities that are good for nocturnal work sessions.

Summer must haves?
Sunblock and a hat! Got to preserve the youth…it’s slipping away.

Tell me about being the director of (you need to give me corect spelling again) festival-
I founded Alpenkammerusik with some friends 11 years ago and now I am the only one left and run it with an incredible baritone and person…Randall Scarlata. It is a chamber music festival set in a very untouched part of the Alps with a rich tradition of folk music. It never gets old going there and is one of the highlights of the year spending time with so many wonderful people over an intense 10 day period. Musicians come from all over the world to play music and perform. You can check out how beautiful it is!

Favorite country and why?
Africa, only place I have ever cried leaving. Unforgettable landscape, sunsets and wildlife.

Best travel tip?
Try turning off the phone and be present! Except when there is a beautiful picture to take!

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Meet Pompie-

She is all mine and what a perfect imperfection she is! And how I love her so..My Miss Pompie Winter! In all her 7.5 years of fierceness love and affection she asked me "Mummy can I do an interview with you because I love SMOKKS so much?." How could I resist..So here is my greatest love and little Buddha..Take it away Pom Pom.... xx

Describe your perfect day?

It would have streamers and ice cream cake with all my friends and oh what am I thinking about - that would be my birthday and we would go bowling and have Hibachi and balloons!

What does SMOKKS mean to you?
It means everything to me because my mum runs it and because I really love the dresses and the treats are so good! (When i get my photo taken.)

Favorite thing to do?
Um- to play shop with my parents and I love playing dress ups with my mum and reading every single book that I have. I’m moving onto Harry Potter and the big fat book of Lord of the rings. And cooking..I want to be a chef!

What does summer mean to you?
I don’t really like summer because I’m sort of allergic to Pollen but I love swimming and SMOKKS and I get to stay in Hotels and read books, and love visiting my Grammie in Australia, even though my Summer is her Winter.

Why do you love smokks?
I love the way the feel because they feel silky when I put then on, and now I can't wear anything without pockets, I just can't. NEVER!

5 favorite things?
1- reading
2- wearing pajamas and going to sleep
3- african dancing at Alvin Ailey
4- making music on my parents iPad
5- and I like to say BOOYAH PEOPLE

Describe what smokks comfort means to you?
Comfort means being able to do gymnastics in smokks!

Why do you love to travel?
I love the pretzels on the plane and I like buying gum packets so don't feel sick.

Favorite game?
Just dance and gymnastics!

Pool or Snow?

Best trip ever?
Going to see my Grammie on my birthday in Australia.

What you love about being a kid?
Being flexible and learning and doing crazy dancing and beautiful art.

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Meet Laura-

Laura and I met 11 years ago in Riverside Park, New York. We were with our first borns- Owen and Maxi! Both Princes and both very furry! We had no name just Maxi and Owen's moms! 

Years later we realized we lived in buildings that backed on to each other, and shortly after that shared the news of being pregnant with each other! Our beautiful daughters are 6 months apart and have been friends their whole lives!

Laura is an amazing, colorful and incredible friend! A joy in my life. She is smart, clever, kind and really really funny! She sings- acts, dances and writes a fantastic web series called ONE TRUE PAIRING which is MUST on youtube. (She even wears a SMOKK in it!)

We meet on Fridays for Pizza still to this day even though we moved. It's a double whammy playdate (of course the date includes wine!) -and I wouldn't want it any other way.

I can't praise her enough - Every woman needs a friend like Laura!

Happy Mothers day my dear wonderful lovely sincere authentic friend. xxx

Meet the Divine Laura Lewis. 

 What’s your day job?

Actor/writer. Also, actually looking for acting and writing work is a job, lol.

Greatest Passion?
I love feeling and being creative. I can literally feel my soul slowing down like a wind-up toy when I'm not fulfilled in that way.

What being a mother has taught you?
Patience, flexibility and to not sweat the small stuff - it's a marathon, not a sprint. You gotta choose your battles.

Best teachable moment?
Whenever we see someone behaving rudely I always say "are they making a good choice or a bad choice?" I know, so dorky and annoying! But I think it seeing it play out when she is not involved personally helps her understand how our behavior has consequences and how making another choice can make all the difference. Also, observing situations rather than being in the middle of them lends a very helpful objectivity - it's a little challenging to try to "teach" when your kid is hysterical, lol.

Why Smokks?
1. They have pockets!!!
2. The fabrics are gorgeous and the styles are incredibly sophisticated and versatile, which is brilliant for someone like me who wants to look as if I spent a lot of time getting ready while actually spending as little time as possible.
3. Basically, you just show up for your day and Smokks does the rest.

Movie or Tv Series?
A good tv series is the gift that keeps on giving. Plus nowadays the writing/acting is so brilliant on tv! If you're asking me WHICH TV series I like, I'm gonna have to go with BILLIONS on Showtime or the old warhorse that is GAME OF THRONES on HBO. I like 'em dark and edgy.

What does comfort mean to you?
Being with people that I love and laughing.

Favorite mom and me moment?
The times that she and I head out for the day with no plan and come back eight or nine hours later, having done who knows what. It's a real treat to have no agenda and just live in the moment the entire day.

5 things in your handbag you can’t live without.
I never use a handbag if I can get away with it. I carry my wallet, which is a tiny little one-pocket thing with my driver's license, a couple credit cards and my metro card, and my phone in my pockets. The only other thing I always have on me is some kind of lip balm. (It's when I'm with my daughter that things get complicated...and heavier. We have different ideas about what we "can't live without", lol.)

The thing that’s most important to you to pass on to Audrey?
Don't worry too much about what everyone else thinks.

Summer reading?
I just found an old copy of I, CLAUDIUS I didn't even realize I had! It's a book I remember loving but I don't recall most of the details (well, other than some of the obvious things). I've already started it and man, there is nothing like a well-written book to make the time fly by.

Most inspiring Quote you go to over and over?
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. Eleanor Roosevelt.

Can you share your love of sci-fi?
There's something inherently optimistic about looking at the sky and thinking "I wonder..." Space represents endless possibilities - it's the perfect mirror to reflect our hopes, desires, imaginations...and fears, of course! I absolutely have a soft-spot for the scary stuff. I find various visions of humanity's future, especially the pessimistic ones, fascinating, and the idea that we got it together enough to send people into space only to have things end horribly, well...that's a delicious one-two punch!

Best child hood memory?
Performing in The Music Man at the community theatre with my entire family when I was in the sixth grade. That was one of two shows we were all in. The other one was that same theatre's production of Aristophanes's THE BIRDS. What, you've never heard of that old gem?? It lit the theatre world ON FIRE 2,400 years ago! PAY ATTENTION, PEOPLE.

Lots of Love to you Laura xx

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