Kim Burns’ day sounds like the perfect mix of whirlwind and ease. I’m sure you’ll relate! Some aspects are pure and simple, while other moments seem straight out of the Jetsons. As the founder of Fresh Baby Bites, she makes fresh baby food for the masses. Simple and sweet, right? She also orders her dinner groceries and laundry and other delivery needs right from her phone. Ahh, modern convenience!
You’re going to love her charming attitude, too. Especially when it comes to her explanation of how they chose their children’s school, and the plus side of her husband’s crazy work hours. (It is a pretty good plus!)
So please help me welcome the very lovely Kim. I hope her day brightens yours!
Morning duty is all me! My husband, Brendan, works New York hours so he is long gone by the time the kiddies and I are waking up. He heads the equity sales trading desk for a major bank here in San Francisco, so he is out the door by 4:00 am each morning. The beauty is he is finished at 1:00 pm, which is perfect for family life! It affords him the time to go to the gym, take client meetings, take a well deserved nap, but also pick the kiddies up from school.
I selfishly love his hours, and I think he would agree it is pretty nice to have the afternoons free.
My husband and I moved to San Francisco ten years ago from NYC when he was transferred for work, and we have never looked back! We have two children — Anna is seven and Gus is three — and live in a one bedroom apartment in Pacific Heights. By the way, my name is Kim and it’s very nice to meet you!
Yes, our family lives in what is technically a one bedroom apartment. When we rented the apartment, we were newly engaged and had just moved from NYC, so the apartment seemed huge compared to our tiny one-bedroom New York apartment. Also, it had outdoor space! What more could we possibly need?
We unfortunately did not have the foresight that we would eventually add two kiddies to the mix, and that San Francisco real estate would sky-rocket beyond our means. We are fortunate to be in a rent-controlled situation and we have gotten creative with our space; we are making it work.
We hired an interior designer to reconfigure our space cosmetically and make it functional and comfortable for our family. Anna and Gus share what used to be the dining room, and have a double over double bunk bed. They actually sleep in the bottom bunk together — their choice — which I find adorable!
Our neighborhood has beautiful-sweeping views of the bay, Golden Gate Bridge, and Alcatraz, fabulous playgrounds – Lafayette Park and Alta Plaza are two of our favorites. We are also surrounded by great cafes and shops on Fillmore Street, Polk Street, and Chestnut Street. You can usually find me at Saint Frank coffee shop on Polk Street in Russian Hill on any given morning!
Neither Anna nor Gus are early risers, which is lucky for us come the weekends.
This morning, I rouse them by 7:00 am. I sing them a good morning song that I made up, open the blinds, and kiss their little faces and tummies until they jump out of bed. We have to be out the door by 7:40 so our morning routine is quick and precise. Oatmeal with fresh spiced fruit puree from Fresh Baby Bites — this month it is roasted apples and golden beets with cinnamon, and it’s so delicious I mix it my own oatmeal, as well — is served as I get myself dressed and ready for the day. Showering at night is my new normal!
Anna is able to dress herself these days. I have learned to give up control of the perfect outfits; she is a leggings and tee kind of girl lately. I dress Gus at the dining table in between his bites of oatmeal. Teeth and hair are brushed and out to door we race to get Anna to school by 8:00.
Gus needs to be at school by 8:45, so this morning he and I stop at the local coffee shop for an almond milk latte for me, a milk for him. and we share a croissant. A lovely little Mommy and Gus time. I cherish these moments we have together. Once at Pre-K, we get a few minutes on the playground and then he always has me carry him into his classroom. It’s a very sweet tradition, and I know I won’t be carrying him much longer. My baby is growing up!
The kids’ school, Chinese American International School, is pretty intense and it’s a long day. Since we aren’t Chinese and don’t speak it at home, they stay for the extended day program to do homework and after school activities, usually taught in Chinese. They are picked up around 5:00 pm.
I like to think we chose their school because we realized how influential China is and will be down the road, and how insightful it was of us to think to send our kids to a Chinese Immersion school. However, that really isn’t the truth at all!
When we started looking for care for my daughter when I was heading back to work, we were torn between hiring a nanny and finding a daycare situation. Literally the minute after I posted an ad for a nanny, my neighbor knocked on my door and asked me what my childcare plans were. She was in the process of opening a new daycare with a friend and wanted to know if I would be interested!
Interested?! Heck yes, and sign us up!
She also mentioned that they were going to speak Mandarin to the little ones, and wondered if we would be okay with that? “Sounds like a fabulous idea!” I said. And so it began.
Once it was time to think about preschool, we knew we had to keep the language up — what a waste it would be not to! — so The Chinese American International School was a logical choice for us. Little did I know the process was going to be harder than any of my college application experiences, but we were very fortunate and were admitted after our first year of applying. The truth is, my daughter really thinks she is Chinese! It’s amazing to hear her speak, write, and read Mandarin, and have a true affinity for the culture. Not only will our kids be bilingual, but they will also be bicultural — such a gift! I am jealous!
As an owner of two local businesses, Fresh Baby Bites and Beauty Brigade, my days are pretty busy. Production days for Fresh Baby Bites are Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I help with operations in the kitchen on these days, as well manage the day to day business aspects. I am fortunate to have strong kitchen and marketing teams working with me.
After a career in medical sales that culminated in selling a cosmetic filler and a Botox competitor to plastic surgeons and cosmetic dermatologists, I realized after making my daughter’s baby food and considering the limited store-bought options that there was a void in the baby food market. I figured if I would pay for this type of service, maybe others would as well. And thus, Fresh Baby Bites was born. Now five years in the making, the business has grown to include food for babies, toddlers, and bigger kids.
As if this wasn’t enough to keep me busy, I have teamed up with another mompreneur and launched a new business which also arose from another self need: Beauty Brigade. Beauty Brigade brings hair and makeup services to your home, office, or hotel.
I started Beauty Brigade for my own selfish time saving reasons. I could never find time to book an appointment at the local blow dry bar; why wasn’t someone coming to my house for a reasonable price? After experiencing Glam Squad on a trip to NYC, I knew this business idea had to come to San Francisco.
I partnered with Lori Costabile, the owner of Tease Salon, and we launched Beauty Brigade to bring hair and makeup services to homes, offices, and hotels. It is such a great time saver for busy moms. I primarily run the business side of things, but since we are a two woman show, we both wear many hats!
After volunteering at my children’s school this morning, I checked in with my kitchen team. Things were well under way, but we needed some kitchen and packaging supplies. So off I went to pick up the items, stopped at the bank to get payroll, then off to Good Eggs to pick up our returned jars before hitting the kitchen.
My role is all operations at this point; I get the packaging all labeled, pack up the toddler bites, lid the jars, and pack up the items to be sent to Good Eggs and Grub Market where they will be sorted and delivered right to the customers’ doorsteps.
The team and I have lunch together and discuss the new menu we will be whipping up for next month. Our menu is based on what is available locally and so this changes every month. Honestly, this is one of my favorite days in the kitchen. I love planning the menu; we get to think about what would we like to eat and what would we like to feed our kids, write it up, and then I will review again later and make any necessary tweaks — but it truly is a team effort.
After a few hours in the kitchen, I switch gears and spend some time on my new business project, Beauty Brigade. I love this new concept of bringing super talented hair and makeup artists right to your home, office, or hotel for blowouts, UpDos and on-trend makeup looks. I know there are many women, super busy like me, that just don’t have time to get a blowout done. With Beauty Brigade we make it super easy — no need to look for parking, no need for a babysitter, no need to leave your office, no need to go out in the weather.
My business partner, Lori Costabile, is a mom of a newborn and a three year old, and is also the owner of a salon here in San Francisco. I had mentioned the idea of Beauty Brigade to her, and serendipitously she had the same idea and already had a business plan in the works! She was just in the need of a partner!
With Lori’s expertise in the beauty world and owning her own salon, and my experience running a business, we have been able to divide and conquer the many roles involved in operating the business. We hope to have an app built as well as expand to additional cities, but for now we are servicing San Francisco and have a mobile-friendly website that customers can book their appointments through. Today I was working on a project to feature our highly talented team. I hope it will be a fun interview format with great pictures of them and their work.
I sneak in a late afternoon lunch date with my husband. He finishes work at 1:00 pm so when we can, we love to sneak off and have an afternoon date. Our favorite late lunch spots are Spruce, Zuni, Mission Oyster Bar, or Palm House. We get a date in and don’t need to hire a babysitter, which is a major bonus as all you parents out there know!
I make a few calls to my family after lunch. They’re all on the East Coast so I always try to call one of my family members each day as I am driving all over town! It’s nice to just take a break and reconnect.
I outsource as many errands as I can! We truly are fortunate to live in such an innovative city!
Instacart is a life-saver and my go-to favorite service today. I can’t tell you the last time I stepped foot in the grocery store because I utilize their service several times a week for both personal and business shopping. I am able to have dinner ingredients waiting for me when I get home, which is amazing!
My daughter has her Chinese tutor at 6:00 pm, so it’s a tough night for us to get dinner together. I decided a sautéed shrimp over brown rice pasta would be quick and easy. Even better, Instacart did the shopping for me and picked up the rest of my grocery needs AND delivered them within two hours. Life-changing!
Good Eggs is another favorite, and I’m not just saying that because it’s where you can order Fresh Baby Bites! They have the best produce, specialty food items, and yummy handcrafted baked goods and prepared foods. The chocolate chip with sea salt mini cookies are a family favorite.
I also utilize Washio & Rinse for laundry and dry cleaning service. There’s Shyp for package shipping, which is so awesome for returns as I do most of my shopping online, and another huge time saver.
Soul Cycle is where I steal my me time several times a week. You can’t beat the workout! It’s a 45-minute class, I sweat like crazy, and it is a full body workout! I have been doing it for over a year now and love it. It’s a must for the body and mind. Right now, I am doing the Soul Cycle 20/30 challenge, which is riding 20 times in 30 days. I did this in the spring and the timing right now is so perfect as on day 30 I will be boarding a plane to Jamaica!
But I have to admit it is not easy to fit into my crazy schedule…but it is something I do just for me! I know you are supposed to clear your mind during the ride, and I am successful for part of the class, but I do find myself thinking about work.
I am at a point with Fresh Baby Bites where I need to figure out the next step. Am I going to keep this going as it is, which is honestly an expensive hobby at this point? Am I going to go down a new path with some new concepts? Or am I going to throw in the towel and walk away? All big thoughts that I found myself thinking about in Soul Cycle today.
I pick the kiddies up from school around 5:00 pm and have a list of 25 questions I pick from to get my daughter to talk about her day. The standard “How was your day” never gave me any real answers. Now I ask things like “What was the best thing that happened at school today?” and “What was the worst thing that happened at school today?” I ask her to “Tell me something that made you laugh today.” and “If you could choose, who would you like to sit by in class and who would you not want to sit by in class? Why”
It really gets her to open up and gives me some real insight as to what is happening at school.
Homework with my second grader is always interesting. I have her go over her Chinese homework with me, and I have no idea if it’s right but it always sounds and looks good to me! It is amazing to see her Chinese writing; her characters are amazingly neat and detailed — a big contrast to her English writing. If I didn’t know better, I would think she was Chinese.
My son loves for us to play trains and puzzles with him, then we settle in for story time, now lead by Anna. We try to get the kiddies to bed by 8:30. My husband is in bed this time himself as he needs to wake up at 3:30 am. I am not too far behind myself.
At the end of mostly every day, I think “Phew! What a day!” I ask myself why I do it, whether I want to give up the businesses, and wonder if I’m doing right by my family. Do I need to be a better mom? A better wife?
I look over at my peacefully sleeping husband, hear my children sleeping soundly down the hall, and realize…all is exactly as it should be.
Thank you so much, Kim! You seem like such a problem-solver to me, always thinking about ways to make life a little easier…and then opening up a business to make it accessible to all of us! Friends, tell us your favorite Jetson-esque businesses that save your time on the daily, will you please?
Those end-of-the-day wonderings are sometimes the worst, aren’t they? Some nights, it’s easy to stop the wheels from turning the wrong direction, but others — if we’re lucky — end just like Kim’s. All is exactly as it should be. I love that, don’t you?