Before babies and marriage, the rapid rise of influencers, Instagram, filters and ever fleeting stories, Santa Clara grad and cheetah/leopard obsessed gal Alicia Lund was simply in search of a creative outlet, thus Cheetah is the New Black was born. Fast forward ten years, two beautiful kids, a hunky husband, a stint at ELLE as fashion editor, a successful store and more than 88,000 followers later, and the OG fashion blogger is basically a household name for anyone who knows anything about style. We caught up with the boss babe to chat the evolution of fashion blogging (and CITNB), how motherhood has changed her and why she’s currently taking some time off. PLUS, find her fave photo editing apps, must-have “mom uniform” staples and go-to kid’s brands all below!
Q: You just welcomed a new baby girl, Willow, to your brood…congrats! What’s it like being a mom of two now? Any things you’re doing differently the second time around?
A: Thank you! I would say life with two has been easier than I anticipated, however, also a new juggle for sure of figuring out our family of four rhythm. I don’t think I’m doing anything differently. Willow has been a very chill / happy little baby so I’ve been super thankful there! She’s easier to lay down at this point and is happy as long as she can see me, which makes things nice as I really need to focus my attention on Rex right now. He’s definitely been going through some emotions and jealousy since she’s come along, but he loves her so much too. I’ve loved watching them together and only know it’s going to keep getting better. I’ve taken things super slow this summer and didn’t take on any new projects so I could really focus on being a mom. I want to jump back into more this fall, but it’s been a bit more of a juggle with two. It really takes a village!
Q: Stylish baby gear/must-haves you can’t live without?
A: Any kind of baby-wearing wrap! Solly or WildBird are my faves.
Q: You work from home, which is madness with two kids. How do you prioritize time with your children versus Cheetah is the New Black? What’s your typical work day like?
A: I slowed down a lot this summer so I could focus on my babies because I really wanted to have this time with them. I love photography and love creating content so I knew taking some time for myself would re-energize me to jump back in again this fall. I really have been more inspired about this space, now more than ever, after slowing down through the summer months. I will say I haven’t figured out a great routine yet. I have Rex in a morning preschool program two days a week and I have a nanny who helps us as well, but I’m still nursing Willow every 2/3 hours and Rex wants a lot of my attention right now. It’s okay though because I know it’s just a phase and I’m only taking on what I can at this time.
Q: CITNB started out as more of a fashion blog ten years ago (serious OG here!). As you’ve grown up and gone through major life changes though, so has your blog. What are you most interested in/inspired by right now, and how has that translated to your brand?
A: Yes I can’t believe I’ve been on the internet for 10 years this fall! As I’ve grown up I’ve naturally been gravitating toward more lifestyle content, but style will always remain at the core of CITNB. I love interiors / home decor, entertaining and lifestyle elements like gardening now just as much, if not more, than fashion, but I am trying to find the right balance for my readers. I’m still trying to figure out how to navigate this and better understand what my audience wants.
Q: Social media was no where near the beast it is now back when you began blogging. How has Instagram, etc. changed the game for you professionally?
A: Instagram has definitely changed the game. At times I often miss old school blogging, but I’ve just tried to stay true to myself and more than ever am just sharing and posting what inspires and makes me happy. I love sharing things that interest me, collaborating with other creatives and making this space exactly what I want. I think we often complain about Instagram, but also how cool is it to be able to connect with people in such an inspiring way across the world? I love the community I’ve found on IG.
Q: As a blogger and an influencer, did you feel a certain pressure to “snap back” after having your babies, both physically and professionally? Were you able to take any maternity leave?
A: I think I unknowingly put a little pressure on myself with Rex to keep up with work. With Willow though I really wanted to give myself some kind of maternity leave, or rather, a super slo-mo summer. I just talked about this a bit more here.
Q: If someone only knew you from social media, how would they describe your life/experience as an entrepreneur? If they could see the reality behind the scenes, what would they see instead?
A: Oh gosh, I don’t know…ha! I hope that I come across as genuine / authentic to who I am in real life. I really capture my life as it is, but I also love styling and there’s so much more behind the scenes. Running CITNB is a true business that comes with a lot of annoying admin stuff and emails, which I’m kinda terrible about as of late!
Q: Fellow mom bloggers you love and follow?
A: My girlfriend Sam of Could I Have That?
Q: Three style staples you can’t live without.
A: Denim! Jeans and denim jackets. A cozy knit camel or black sweater and a shorter heeled suede boot.
Q: One thing you said you’d never do before becoming a mom, but totally do now.
A: Listen to baby music. I now catch myself singing along too! OMG!
Q: Most recent #momfail?
A: This summer we spent an afternoon at Ocean Beach, and I thought I had diapers in my bag but I didn’t. Newborns go through diapers constantly, as you know, so that was a major fail.
Q: Okay, let’s talk fashionable but functional shoes! Do you have any faves for outings with the kids? Sneaker brands you love?
A: Yes! Veja and Golden Goose sneakers. Also love Isabel Marant boots (comfy and the heel is lower) so it’s ideal.
Q: Diaper bag you’re currently carrying?
A: I don’t use a diaper bag. Just whatever purse I’m carrying. This was my go-to this summer.
Q: In general, how has your personal style (home and/or wardrobe) transformed since having kids? Are there any pieces/styles you miss (may they RIP) from your pre-baby days?
A: Nope! I still wear whatever I want, although I guess I don’t wear as much silk. I lived in silk blouses but now reserve those for date nights.
Q: New York or California?
A: Both! But over the years I’ve realized I’m still such a Northern California girl at heart.
Q: Your Sacramento home is absolutely stunning! Do you have any go-to stores/boutiques (online or local) you like to shop for home decor and furniture?
A: Yes, I bought a lot of our furniture locally from Design Alchemy. The mother-daughter duo helped with our house remodel. Also, anything Jenni Kayne!
Q: Favorite local restaurant?
Q: Fave local kid’s or family activity?
A: A low-key picnic day at a winery.
Q: Fave date night spot?
A: Kru for sushi
Q: You have 3 hours ALONE! What do you do?
A: Read all of my books and magazine that are often neglected. Go to a yoga class!
Q: You always look so effortlessly chic! What are some of your fave mom-friendly womenswear brands? And how the hell do you manage to look so put together with two little ones at home? Tell us your secrets, please!
A: Aw! Well first off, I definitely don’t look put together everyday, but I think having a semi-uniform that I grab helps (i.e.: fave jeans and go-to tees)! I’ve actually been working on editing my wardrobe so it’s completely filled with items I only and absolutely love–a handful of basics that are the foundational pieces and then I can mix in my trendier pieces each season. My mom-friendly brand faves are Dôen, which has a great selection of pretty maternity and breastfeeding-friendly dresses / blouses, The Great for tees and sweatshirts that are easy but stylish too, AGOLDE and Citizens of Humanity for denim (they just fit me the best) and Jenni Kayne for stylish classics.
Q: Fave kids brands for your boy? For your girl?
A: Rylee + Cru for both babes. Also loving your edit of Misha & Puff lately for Willow!
Q: Your Instagram feed is serious goals! Any photo apps you use and love? Tips for taking gorgeous, organic pics of kids? You make it look so natural.
A: I love VSCO for editing iPhone snaps. And love playing around with Unfold as well, but warning, it’s addictive! As far as kid photography, I think I take the best photos of my kids because I catch them in their element. Kids aren’t always comfortable with a photographer around. I just snap them as they’re playing as if the camera isn’t there. Making them feel comfortable, getting down on their level and giving them activities to play with and that are entertaining are the best ways to capture kids in their natural state.
Q: What makes you feel sexy?
A: Ha! “Sexy” is so not me. I feel my best in a tee an jeans, and that’s what my husband always prefers me in too.
Q: Five years from now, where do you see yourself?
A: Happy, collaborating with like-minded women and pursuing creative projects–whatever that might be!