This Sunday’s Share Your Story is unusual in that I bring you a PAIR (pun intended) of incredible women, rather than just one. Lisa Loyet Schmitz and Jamie Wells are a dynamic duo at Walking Cradles. Jamie, Shoe Designer, and Lisa, Creative Director, of Walking Cradles women’s shoes combine their mutual love of fashion, graphic design and marketing to provide and promote what they believe are the most comfortable, stylish women’s shoes on the market. Their friendship and working relationship is a beautiful illustration of age doesn’t matter when there is connection, respect, and genuine admiration for another. Whilst Kuel Life is a dedicated platform designed to celebrate women in our Second Act an exception has to be made for these two women.
Enjoy Week 25 with a delightful double dose of very, very Kuel Women – I bring you Lisa & Jamie!
KUELLIFE: What are you pursuing now, at this stage of your life, that surprises you or might appear to others as if it comes out of left field?
LISA: I’ve had such a hard time answering this one. My husband responded that half the shit I do seems to come out of left field, so he couldn’t pinpoint any one thing either.
JAMIE: Arm knitting. I am not really a yarn craft kind of person, but I really want to make one of those beautiful huge knit throws.
KUELLIFE: What’s a typical day like for you?
LISA: Coffee with my husband, Craig, first thing in the morning – even if it is only for 10 minutes! Then I do a 30-minute home yoga session before showering and heading to the office. At work I juggle a number of tasks with our wholesale and retail divisions, but all centered around the amazing Walking Cradles shoes! A typical evening consists of making dinner and then working on some sort of home or art project.
JAMIE: I wake up, get myself ready and either my husband or I get my son up and ready. Then I head to the office, sometimes dropping my son off en route. I get a hot cup of coffee and start with emails. Any number of things can follow that depending on the time of year: trend research, sketching, prototyping, sampling, fit trialing, pattern corrections, photography, graphic design, a marketing piece here and there, a brainstorm session, a Facebook Live. I eat lunch at my desk so I can head home earlier. My husband and I share drop off and pick up for our son and we share dinner duty. I may go straight home and make dinner or I may pick up our son while he gets dinner going. We have playtime, then bedtime. After, my husband and I hang out together. If he has to work, I exercise or arm knit or whatever other random thing I am up to at the time.
KUELLIFE: With what do you struggle?
LISA: Balance. I am a yes person. Many times I overextend myself because I love doing things with people – whether it is work, friends or family related. I have been trying really hard to keep balance between these and not only create some downtime, but embrace it. I’ve also been trying really hard to get to bed at a decent hour so I can get 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
JAMIE: I am transitioning from that, “I need to work-work-work to get to where I want to be” mindset to the, “I have arrived!” mentality. Now I need to make sure I am living in the moment and soaking up every second. It is time to redistribute all of those extra working hours from the past decade to my life outside of work.
KUELLIFE: How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?
LISA: Motivation is my middle name! Most of my life has been centered around motivation. If I want to do something and I’m passionate about it, the motivation is just there. I’m a results driven person, too, so when I start something I won’t be content unless I see it through to satisfactory completion!
JAMIE: I could not ask for a better life, and so my motivation tends to come from a place of gratitude, as well as a “To whom much has been given, much will be required” outlook. Additionally, my job can be extremely rewarding. Some people really need specialty size and width shoes, and are genuinely ecstatic when they find the pair of Walking Cradles that fits their foot and their style. To witness such joy and realize one has contributed to it, I mean, what is better than that?! I hold those women and those moments in my mind and revisit them all the time. Having the potential to solve a real problem for people and to make their lives a little bit better is extremely motivating.
KUELLIFE: What advice would you give fellow women about aging?
LISA: Stay active. So many women ask me how I stay so energetic and upbeat, and my answer is that I stay active. I’ll never forget our GiGi (my kids great grandma) once saying, “You only get old and tired if you sit around on your butt too much!” (Note, she lived at home until she gracefully passed away at age 94.)
JAMIE: I wouldn’t! But I would be willing to take some…
KUELLIFE: What does vulnerability mean to you? What has the ability to make you vulnerable?
LISA: Ooh, this is a tough one! Vulnerability means letting your shield down in order to be your authentic self. It opens up our deepest held fears, but with a true and loving support system, we will be safe and the experience will be liberating. I am vulnerable to negativity. Negativity infuriates me and I too often allow it to work its toxicity on me, as well.
JAMIE: To me, vulnerability is humility lived in relationship. It is exposing our deficiencies or our capacity for ‘woundedness’ for the sake of acknowledging that we need each other. As creative people, we open ourselves up to critique all the time by putting our ideas out into the world. Rarely do we arrive at the best version on our own. We must trust each other to give and receive other ideas knowing that we are working toward the same goal. We might be able to do something on our own, but we can do it infinitely better with other people.
KUELLIFE: What are three events that helped to shape your life?
LISA: I have four. 1) My parents adopted me. 2) Becoming a mother. 3) “Breaking Beige” at age 30. 4) Meeting my soulmate/husband/best friend at age 39.
JAMIE: Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage
KUELLIFE: Who influenced you the most in life and why?
LISA: It may sound cliché, but it’s not. My parents. They’ve been supportive of (almost) everything I’ve done. Having tremendous amounts of energy meant that I joined everything: sports, groups, activities. I have always been an extrovert and love being involved in different types of groups with different types of people. My parents always encouraged me to be involved, but to stay grounded. Be respectful of others. Lift people up, don’t break them down. Be kind. Treat others the way you would like to be treated. Take credit for your accomplishments, but own your mistakes. Be faithful – in every sense of the word.
JAMIE: My mom. She has never let anything distract her from what is most important, and exemplifies the rewards of hard work and discipline.She works full time and has always managed to make our home so warm and happy. Now I wonder every day how she does it and how she has been doing it so consistently well for so long. She is one of those best kind of people who are not obvious in their greatness, but if you are lucky or smart enough to dig a little deeper, you know you have found a real gem. She is the kind of person who can change your life in ways you did not even know needed changing… so annoying. ☺
KUELLIFE: What is the best advice you’ve been given from another woman?
LISA: I truly wish I could remember who said this, but it was at FierceCon this year:“You can’t see the painting if you are in the painting.” I hope the person who said it reads this and reaches out to me so I can thank them.
JAMIE: Keep it simple, Sweetheart. This is the advice I need to hear Every. Single. Day.
KUELLIFE: What woman inspires you and why?
LISA: I simply cannot name just one. Each day I am given the opportunity to be inspired by women. To name just one, I’ll say my mom. My father passed away in 2006 after a very short bout with cancer. My mother has amazed me how she has continued to be so strong and independent even though is isn’t what she wanted or expected. She embodies fierce!
JAMIE: My mom! Sorry, can’t help it! From her I learned that vulnerability is the precedent to courage. To love genuinely often means you have to do the hard thing, to tell or accept a hard truth regardless of consequences to self. She is a prime example of how much happiness living one’s life for other people can bring.
KUELLIFE: Are you grown-up?
LISA: Depends on the definition of “grown-up.” If it means losing my zest for life and sometimes silly behavior, then no way! If it means taking ownership of my responsibilities, failures and achievements, then yes!
JAMIE: Yep. I have responsibilities that I must fulfill and there are consequences for me and for others if I do not hold myself accountable.
KUELLIFE: What do you do for self-care?
LISA: 1) Exercise. 30 minutes of something active every day – usually every other day an intense shred yoga workout, filled in with either restorative yoga, walking or even doing yardwork or house work on the “off” days. 2) Healthy eating. We try to make meals at home most nights. A balance of meats, vegetables and other plant-based foods. Clean, whole foods. I love food and I love to cook, so eating healthy is a choice that is easy to accomplish. Also, plenty of water! I have a hard time drinking a lot of regular water, but sparkling waters with a hint of fruit are the bomb! That being said, I am a sucker for chips & salsa, a big bowl of ice cream, an ice-cold beer or a glass of full-bodied of Cabernet Sauvignon! 3) Sleep. 7-8 hours a night. It can be a challenge, but it is SO worth the effort! 4) Creativity. My job is to be creative, but I’m talking about artistic expression outside of my professional life. I love expressing creativity in cooking and decorating. Recently, I returned to painting – which I forgot how much I truly love!
JAMIE: I go to Mass, I spend time with my family and I exercise.
KUELLIFE: And last but definitely NOT least: What are the top three things on your bucket list?
LISA: Sail the Greek Islands with my husband. Be a fun, involved (not controlling, though) Grandmother (note: no grandkids on the horizon at this point). Own and drive a 1968 Camaro.
JAMIE: See the northern lights, learn to surf and travel abroad with my family.