Cutie pie Carrie isn’t even around to see her big debut on the blog, but I know all of you loyal readers will give her the warm welcome she deserves and swarm her with sweet, sweet comments. She’s a love and serves this amazing company well.
Oh, and sorry for the delay on the last Candid Keeper contest. Elizabeth Hummel, please email Kiaraa@matildajaneclothing.com with your little ones size. She always sends something yummy!!
Q: Hi there, Carrie tell us a little bit about yourself.
A: My name is Carrie Kochel, I’m 32 and have been married to my husband, John, for 3 years now. We are proud parents to a black lab named Sadie, a 2 year-old daughter Isabella, and we have another little one on the way that will make his/her arrival this November! We live in Capistrano Beach, CA, but I grew up in Southern Illinois and my husband grew up just outside of Philly. Between the two of us, we have both lived a lot of places, but right now we are happy to call Southern California home. This is my first season as a trunk keeper and I am also a Registered Nurse in the NICU at Children’s Hospital of Orange County in Mission Viejo, CA.
Q: How did you meet your husband and what was it about him that “sealed the deal?” 😉
A: When I was just finishing up Nursing School, I was a cocktail waitress at a nightclub in St. Louis. I was one of those gals that carried around the big tray of shots. John decided to buy my entire tray of shots for him and his friends just to get me to stay and talk to him a little longer. We hit it off right away, but when he started speaking to me in Italian that sealed the deal ; ) In all seriousness though, John and I were together for about 5 years before we got married and during that time we got to experience some of the ups and downs that life can throw at you. He has shown me what it’s like to be loved for who I am, all of who I am, exactly how I am-the good and bad. I know that he will always be there for me when life is easy and when life is not so easy….that AND he gives a pretty mean foot massage which is very important to a nurse that works 12 hours shifts : )
Q: How do you envision spending your days after you both retire?
A: We will definitely be traveling the world as long as we are both healthy enough to fly and get around! Also, I’m sure my husband will be doing a lot of fishing and who knows maybe I will finally learn how to cook!
Q: Tell me about Bella. What is it you love most about her personality?
A: I think the one thing that I love most about her personality is probably the same thing that test my patience on a daily basis, LOL! Some may call it stubborn, but I prefer to call it ‘Determined.’ I think that trait will take her far in life and I definitely will not need to worry about her being pushed around. With that said, she is also a very empathetic and kindhearted little girl. Whenever someone is hurt or sad and crying it really affects her and she goes out of her way to make them feel better. She can be very sensitive to how other people are feeling and easily picks up on and responds to the emotions and moods of people around her.
Q: When you think of her as an adult, how do you imagine her? Married with kids? An independent business woman? Both?
A: Oh wow, that is so hard to think of her as adult! Right now we are just thinking about how we are going to prepare her for being the ‘Big Sister.’ I guess I imagine her doing both, but maybe that is because I juggle being a mother/wife, and having a career. I definitely wouldn’t try to sway her either way. I just hope that she chooses a life that makes her happy. I am really looking forward to discovering what her talents and interests are as she grows up!
Q: What is the first thought that comes to your mind when I ask, “What was your BEST DAY EVER?” A day you would like to relive if given the chance.
A: My wedding day instantly comes to mind, but that wasn’t just the BEST DAY EVER. It was the BEST YEAR EVER! There were so many exciting firsts for me that year. I got married in Costa Rica, got pregnant 2 weeks later, traveled to Europe for the 1st time and became a mother to the most beautiful baby girl I have ever laid eyes on…all in less than 12 months!
Q: If you weren’t a Trunk Keeper, what do you think you’d be doing?
A: I’m sure I would be working more hours as a nurse at the Hospital. I think most people are lucky if they find one career that they really enjoy and feel passionate about. I feel so fortunate to have not just one, but TWO jobs I truly love. I absolutely adore babies and although my work in the NICU can sometimes be sad, it is truly rewarding to see these tiny babies grow, get healthy and finally go home with their parents.
Q: Do you have any hobbies or passions? How did you discover these?
A: I think that I mentioned before that I LOVE to travel. It is actually the one hobby that both my husband and I share. My interest in seeing the world was probably ignited by my father’s love of traveling. My dad was a coal miner and I am the baby of 5 children. Needless to say, money was always tight in our family with 5 mouths to feed on a coal miner’s salary, but my father always managed to save up enough money to take us on a 2 week vacation every summer. We only traveled with in the country, but boy did we see some of the most amazing places that America has to offer. I know we visited at least 40 out of the 50 continental states, all the major National Parks and several of best U.S. beaches.
Q: Do you consider yourself a country mouse or a city mouse?
A: I am definitely a city mouse. I grew up in a small town in Illinois surrounded by cornfields with a population of 5000 people. Don’t get me wrong, I do love small towns and many of my closest and most treasured friendships started in the small town that I grew up in, but I just feel like everyone seems to know everyone else’s business in small towns andonly half of what they say about each other is ever true. So, for me, I prefer to live in a larger metropolitan area where there are more things to do, more people to meet and less time to spend gossiping about other people : )
Q: What is your all time favorite food?
A: This is not a easy question to answer for a pregnant woman with a zillion different cravings….My favorite food probably comes from my favorite country to travel to: Italy! I would love to indulge in some Chicken Marsala, Margherita Pizza and a glass of Chianti right now, but that will be a while ; ) For dessert, I would have Tiramisu, chocolate gelato or anything that you put Nutella on!
Q: Have there been any moments in your life that have defined who you are as a person?
A: The most defining moment of my life happened the moment I became a mother. I cannot think of any other event that has instantly changed who I was and totally rearranged my priorities. Everyone always tells you how much your life will change when you become a mother, but you cannot even imagine how much until it actually happens. From that moment on, your baby and family always come first and every thing else is secondary. I know that may sound like an easy answer, but I really cannot think of any other event that has changed me so much and shaped who I am today.
Q: Sweet or salty?
A: I definitely have a sweet tooth and will openly admit that I am addicted to Nutella!
Q: How did you find Matilda Jane?
A: I was shopping on ebay one day and ran across Matilda Jane. I went to the Matilda Jane website to try to make a purchase & was a little confused when the I couldn’t check out. Eventually I figured out I needed to write in to the company to get in touch with a trunk keeper. Shortly after, I started hosting trunk shows & the rest is history!
Q: In your opinion, what is it that makes this company so special and draws so many people it?
A: The beautiful designs that Denise and Sam create are what make this company so successful in my opinion. I have been buying Matilda Jane for over 2 years now and to me it is still the cutest, most unique girls’ clothing line out there. I even have the entire Serendipity rack staring me in the face every day & I never seem to get tired of it! I also think that sticking to their roots of being a trunk show line and not mass producing or selling in stores has kept Matilda Jane exclusive and has contributed greatly to the success of the business. Part of what makes Matilda Jane so special is that you do not see it everywhere on everyone.
Q: What do you love most about being a Trunk Keeper?
A: There are a few things that I love most about being a trunk keeper.
1) The amazing friendships I have made through Matilda Jane
2) Being able to be at home with my daughter or take her along with me to trunk shows and still be ‘working.’
3) I agree with what another Candid Keeper said a few weeks ago: Getting to see the samples and knowing all the secrets of what’s coming up is another nice little perk of the job!
Q: What is your favorite Matilda Jane item?
A: Oh, for the girls line that is a toss up between the knot dress and the ellie halter top…I will have to go with the Knot dress because you can where it by itself or layer it up for the winter. It is good for any season. From the Adult line, I live in my long-sleeve tees or the Xanadu dress. I think I have probably worn my Xanadu more than any other momma piece. I probably should buy another one before this one wears out on me!
Q: What do you do with Bella’s Matilda Jane clothing when she has outgrown them? Sell them, save them or divvy them out to friends?
A: All of the above! She recently grew out of a lot of her 12M-18M Matilda Jane & I took the used items to a local consignment shop in San Diego. There were a few pieces that I couldn’t part with yet and I am holding on to them until we find out if our next baby is a boy or girl! I had quite a few pieces that were new and she never had a chance to wear before she grew out of them & those went to friends.
Q: Will you be going to Art Fair this year? Have you ever been to Art Fair?
A: Yes and Yes! I went to Art Fair for the first time last year and it was so much fun : ) I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make it this year because I have to go back to Fort Wayne in July for Dress Rehearsal, but it just so happens that I have a wedding to attend back home in Illinois on June 20th. Fort Wayne is only a 6 hour roadtrip from where my family lives in Illinois so I decided I couldn’t be that close to Art Fair this year and NOT go! Also, I won Untamed Heart Photography’s Habitat for Humanity charity auction so I obviously have to squeeze in our photo session while we are in the midwest. I absolutely adore Michelle Huesgen’s work & if any of you out there reading this are in the St. Louis area, you need her take your little one’s pictures! She has such a silly, spunky, goofy talent of bringing even the most camera shy little gal out of her shell.
Q: Besides Bella, what is your greatest accomplishment or proudest moment?
A: That would have to be the day I received my BSN in Nursing. Nursing school was tough and I worked extremely hard to get that degree. It was such a relief knowing that I did it and that I would always be able to support myself in a career with great job-security.
Q: Do you have a favorite blog or website you visit everyday?
A: I have friends scattered out all over the globe & rely heavily on Facebook to stay in touch with them. I see all these cool things that my friends post from their Pinterest to Facebook & always think I should check it out, but I don’t because I’m afraid I’ll get sucked in and I honestly don’t have any more time to waste on the internet LOL!
Q: What is your favorite Summer time activity?
A: Going on Vacation of course…In fact, we leave for Cancun this Saturday! We will probably be squeezing in as many trips as we can this year because we know it is going to get much harder to travel once we have two kiddos to tote around with us!