Mama Muse | No. 2

Mama Muse | No. 2

Meet Stephanie! Amongst other things, she’s a mama to her sweet little baby girl, Penelope, and a small business owner. Check out her cute curated shop and @tinydreamerco for the best baby basics. She is also a creative, a traveler, a photographer and just a real down to earth person. @aysteph is where she shares her family life, travel adventures and real conversation about pregnancy and motherhood.

As I read through her posts, I really feel like I am talking to a friend because she is sharing the good along with the bad but in a positive upbeat way that’s just so relatable. In one post she says, “remember that people only show you what they want you to see. So don’t compare your body milestones with theirs, don’t compare your journey or experiences." In another post she explains what's going on behind the scenes of what appears to be her having it all together sitting in her favorite corner of her house. "The reality of this photo was, baby in front of me on her swing crying every 2 min because her Binky fell out. Me getting up putting it back in, then the WiFi disconnecting on my phone which was the controller. So I couldn’t click to take the photo, had to get back up and connect it. Then going back to sit down and the zipper on my jumper snapped. I swear I look nice and peaceful but I was a hot mess lol!”

First off, I have to say congratulations on being a new mom! You came into it during a crazy year, to say the least. How is motherhood treating you and how was it like giving birth during a pandemic?

Thank you so much! So far motherhood has had its ups and downs but it's been so rewarding and has brought my husband and I so much love, fun and entertainment. Having a mini human that is all yours and a reflection of you, truly makes my life complete. Having my daughter during the first stages of the pandemic was pretty hard. Being in the postpartum room just hours after giving birth alone is not only daunting but also lonely. I was exhausted, alone, in pain, and on top of that having to care for myself and my newborn without my husband being there due to the pandemic rules was very sad for me. 

"To me motherhood has made me feel like my life is just beginning. Everything I’ve ever done is nothing compared to what I’m about to do! ️Let the fun begin!”
I know you mentioned you had a corporate job working in an LA fashion company before starting your own business. What made you want to branch off on your own? Has it always been a dream of yours and was there any fears or hesitation to start it?

So I did have a corporate job, the company I worked for, for 6 years was doing layoffs and I was actually part of the layoffs while I was pregnant. I believe it was a true blessing in disguise. I have been able to focus on myself, my family, my business and side hustles. I know that I have always wanted to work for myself in something that I enjoy and love. When I was laid off I was given a fresh start to go for it and take the opportunity. I knew I had to use my time wisely and get busy planning. I had no idea i ever wanted to start a children's clothing line, until i had my daughter. I loved dressing her and i think its adorable seeing babies and toddlers dressed like little grownups, so fashionable and cute. I have a certain sense of style for myself and how i wanted to dress my little girl. I knew that there were other mommas like me out there and i wanted to cater to them.

You have great personal style and of course in your brand, @tineydreamco, where do you find inspiration and what was the main idea in doing baby basics?

Thank you so much I'll take that compliment haha. I find my inspiration from so many things such as architecture, different color palates on Pinterest, Women's fashion, and style. A lot of times I also find inspiration in graphics and art. I also find tons of ideas and inspo on Tik Tok and IG. The main idea behind doing baby basics is that sometimes it's really hard to find basic clothing for children. A simple white or tan tee shirt or sweatshirt can be so hard to find. These items should be easier to find than most fashion-forward pieces. I love the idea of keeping everything somewhat simple because you can always accessorize.

We know you like to travel, what’s your favorite place you been to and how was it traveling for the first time with Penelope? Any advice, tips or gear you can mention for parents out there? Your pictures from Yosemite and Sequoia National Park looked like so much fun, by the way! And I have to admit, after I saw them, along with so many other people's pictures from those National Parks this year, we went as well, so thank you!

I think my favorite place of all time is Japan. Japan is just one of those places where I felt at home I know that's weird to say haha. I love Asian food and the cities were so clean and the people were so nice. Plus it's one of the safest countries to visit with tons to see and do. I would def recommend.

Thank you so much it makes me so happy that I inspired you to visit with your family. Yosemite and sequoia are a few of my favorite national parks! The first trip we took Penelope on was actually sequoia national park. Since it was her first time I picked a place that was somewhat close to home. I was not sure how she was going to handle the trip it was either going to go very well or very bad haha. Luckily it went well. She was only 3 months, because she was so small we made a few stops and also made sure we parked close to where we were going to walk around. I think that's key, you don't want to go on a 2-3 hour hike with a young baby, because if they need anything you aren't very close to your car or sometimes even people.

A few tips for traveling would include starting off with a local trip if it's your first time and observe how your baby handles it. The more trips you do the more your baby will get custom to it and you'll start to figure out how many stops to make or even predict what they'll need. Some outdoor baby gear can be expensive but it's worth the splurge so you and your baby are comfortable. I know a lot of parents are scared at first to take their little ones on trips. You just have to try and recognize that it may not always be perfect and that's okay, you are traveling with a baby.

Last, why do you feel it is important for people, especially moms, to be real and transparent on social media these days?

We sadly live in a world of constant comparison and perfection. Which is not real life, we don't always look great, our bodies don't always bounce back how we would want them to. I remember when I first found out I was pregnant, I honestly knew nothing about pregnancy or even how to care for a child. I looked at new moms I followed on IG to see if they posted any information that was useful to me or even gave me an idea of how labor was going to be etc. I found a hand full of accounts that were helpful honest and true. Once I had my baby girl I realized how much women actually go through emotionally and physically and I just wanted to show a little bit about my experience in the hopes of helping any new expecting mothers, like I once was. Motherhood is defiantly not glamours it's a lot of hard work and I think we need to normalize looking and hearing about these things expecting mothers and current mothers go through. Plus social media is shifting and people are tired of seeing this picture-perfect idea of others and people are now more interested in seeing the real you.

For more about Stephanie you can follow her on instagram @aysteph and shop her brand at All photos courtesy of Stephanie Castellon Salazar.