21 Dec Meet Julie Rivard, Mom of 2, Wine expert, Volunteer Extraordinaire!
What do you love to do with your children? How old are they? And what is your greatest wish for them?
Travel! As a child, I had the privilege of traveling the world several times a year with my family (both my parents were in the travel / hospitality industry) and I truly believe the benefits of traveling as a young child last a lifetime. The world becomes a classroom teaching generosity, compassion, tolerance, awareness and a sense of adventure. It opens children’s eyes and minds to the wonderful diversity of cultures, languages, food and people around the world. And, as an adult, to see the world through a child’s eyes is inspiring.
Our son, Grayson, is 4 years old and our daughter, Ava Grace is 2 years old. I will admit, at their ages, it’s not always easy traveling on airplanes, crossing different time zones. But, it does get easier each time. Most recently we took our kids to Provence and Paris, France. Grayson’s bucket list includes China where “they have lots of cars and lots of people” and Venice, Italy where “they don’t have cars, only long skinny boats!”
My greatest wish for my children is that they are happy. I hope they are confident, resilient, compassionate and have a moral compass. And, I hope they have a zest for life and a sense of adventure!
When and where are you the happiest?
At the gym. It’s always a daily struggle for me to get to the gym — whether my schedule won’t allow for the free time or if I’m feeling lazy and want to talk myself out of going. But, once I’m there, it’s hard to get me to leave.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Back to South Africa. My husband, John, and I spent two weeks in Cape Town, Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and Sabi Sands in Krueger National Park before we had kids. The country is breathtaking and offers beautiful beaches, magnificent mountains, luscious vineyards and incredible wildlife. The highlight of the trip was our 4 day safari at Krueger National Park. To be so close to the wildest of animals is a raw, emotional, primal and exhilarating experience. I’ve never in my life felt such a range of emotions in such a short period of time (excitement, fear, and curiosity just to name a few). To see first hand how we, as humans, exist within the “Circle of Life” is wild! There is no other rush quite like it.
John and I hope to return when our children are older and mature enough to experience and appreciate such a heart pulsing, mind blowing and life changing adventure.
Who has had the biggest influence upon you? And what quality do you most admire in a mother?
My mother has had the greatest influence upon me. She was the “bread winner” in my family and traveled for work extensively; yet, she was still able to manage, love, teach and protect our family. She was always there for us, with her loving, compassionate acts of kindness, unwavering support, unconditional love… and delicious home cooked meals!
I’ve always felt grateful for her sacrifices and proud that she worked so hard to not only meet, but exceed her family’s needs. In my opinion, she was a woman who really could “do it all” — and with such grace! Her boundless energy and ability to multi task are even more inspiring to me today.
The quality that I most admire in a mother is patience. I’ve always thought of myself as a patient person… until I had two young kids. Let’s be honest, children can push even the most patient person in the world! It’s a trait that I work on the most every single day. I try to remind myself they are children — they will color on your walls, they will mess up your clean house, they will melt down in the grocery store… but… it’s okay! I know I will miss these crazy times one day.
What do you like to do for fun?
To travel, to go out to dinner and to be with friends. Even better, to do all these things at once! I also LOVE to entertain. Whether it’s a small dinner party or a large, backyard lobster bake, I love the process of entertaining. From conceptualizing a theme, printing invitations and planning a menu to creating flower arrangements, and tablescapes, it is a process that I’ve always enjoyed.
What is one of your favorite books? Movies?
I LOVED the Stieg Larsson Trilogy. I also loved Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, Dark Places and Sharp Objects. Most recently, I found Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train to be riveting! I obviously like psychological thrillers.
Besides motherhood, what other careers/opportunities have you enjoyed? What are your strongest qualities?
Before having children, I managed operations for a boutique wine concierge and brokerage firm called The Barterhouse in New York City. My job was to help identify and import artisan wines from around the world. I logistically managed every step of the process — from shipping pallets of wine out of wineries’ cellars, creating US approved wine labels, getting pallets of wine cleared through customs (harder than one might think), trucking those pallets to a warehouse for storage, overseeing orders from and deliveries to restaurants and wine retailers to ultimately you being able to enjoy that glass of wine either at a restaurant or at home.
I LOVED my job because even though I was not able to travel the world like I once could, I felt connected to a world beyond New York City. I look forward to going back to Barterhouse to continue my career and my passion when my children are a bit older.
In the meantime, I have greatly enjoyed getting involved in my community. I’m honored and proud to serve on the board of my children’s school, to co-chair Junior League of Greenwich’s “Positively More!” program, to serve as event co-chair for Make-a-Wish, CT, and to serve as a co-president for Mothers for Others.
My strongest attributes include managing logistics and being detail oriented. My husband calls me “eagle eyes”… not sure if he means that as a compliment! 🙂
What is your favorite type of food and what do you love to cook?
I love to cook! But, it’s hard for me – Monday – Friday to prepare food for my young children at 5:30pm and then another meal for John and me once bath and bedtime have been completed. But, I try to make up for it by having a nice, home cooked meal on Saturday and Sunday nights. My favorite meal to make is a beef stew, especially at this time of year. I love that I can prep and slowly cook all day and the delicious smell that fills the house is comforting.
What is your favorite time of the day and why?
6:30pm. My husband and I love to watch ABC’s World News Tonight. To me, it signals the end of a hectic day; kids have been fed and bathed and are ready for bed (sort of). It’s the first opportunity I have to sit down on the couch, relax, enjoy a glass of wine and spend time with John. It only last 30 minutes, unfortunately, but… I’ll take it!
Where is your favorite place to Party with Moms and what’s your favorite drink?
French wines — red, white and pink! Friends call me the House of Rose because during the summer, when I entertain the most, rose always flows! Favorite restaurants in Greenwich include Harvest and L’Escale. Two newly opened restaurants, East/End and The National, have not disappointed!