Friday Femmes: A First-rate Mom from the Second City


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Friday Femmes: A First-rate Mom from the Second City

It’s Friday, friends! And today’s feature on Friday Femmes is another gem of a lady who’s made the hashtag #fromonlinefriendstorealfriends a reality for me.
Last year, my husband and I were trying to figure out where to go next for our family vacation. And while my constant answer is Paris, my husband was a bit wary about the long flight for our then year and a half daughter.  While scouring Instagram a in the Spring, I had “met” Leyla. We followed each other on Instagram and went back and forth with comments and support virtually.  At first glance, we had a couple of things in common (right off the bat) : Super cute half Asian babies, the love of Paris, and CHANEL people – Chanel.  I loved perusing through her instagram because of the very colourful and beautiful way she highlighted Chicago. It was that of a local, sharing her resident city with such pride and with a tourist’s earnest eye with all the great restaurant and kid-friendly places posts.  I showed my husband, and from Leyla’s posts, we decided to hit Chicago.

Before we did, I privately messaged Leyla and asked her for some tips that only a native Chicagoan can give.  Her response was immediate and her truly generous tips and suggestions were incredibly helpful.
 It so happened that there was an instagram meet happening in Chicago while we were there and I was lucky enough to meet some incredibly fun and creative women during that time. Leyla was one of them – whom upon meeting, felt like a long lost cousin with her warm and genuine hug and beautiful smile. We found out even more similarities that we had, from cultural – we were both third culture individuals; she, being born in Vietnam, with parents emigrating to the US, and me, being born in the Philippines with parents emigrating to Canada; to some coincidences – our struggles with fertility; to the random – our disdain for shipping costs with online shopping and our husbands’ annoyance for having wives obsessed with our ‘stop-everything-and-take-a-snap’ way of photography in our daily lives. I also love that she gets my sarcastic humour. I’m telling you, it’s like we’ve known each other forever. 

It was even hilarious how we pulled out our DLSRs and had an impromptu photoshoot of our little ones at Starbucks – which Starbucks eventually posted on their Instagram page.


Here friends, is dear, sweet Leyla.
Friday Femmes: LeylaTran
Name: Leyla Tran

Profession/Vocation: CPA (yikes!) and part time blogger.

Online Presence if any: (url, twitter, instagram, facebook page)

Instagram: @secondcitymom

Facebook page: Second City Mom


1. Where are you from/where do you live?

Born in Vietnam, grew up in Albuquerque, NM, moved to New Orleans, LA in high school and attended college there. Currently living in Chicago, IL.

2. How long have you been doing your profession/vocation?

16 years

3. What are your challenges in your line of work?

Technical accounting and sitting in a cube all day. Blah!

4. What do you love most about what you do?

It’s consistent. I think like an accountant but I sure don’t look like one. It feels safe to know I have a paycheck every two weeks. The consistency of the day helps with my creative side. I sit and daydream some days… so it helps fuel my desire to go out there and take pictures and funds my travel budget. Haha.

5. Can you tell me about your ideal reader/subject/student/patron?

I’m like the sitcom “Seinfeld.” My blog is about nothing. I started it to blog about “mommy stuff.” You know…what moms like to do, what works best for them, etc. I realized that I wasn’t good at that or giving advice. Then I decided to blog about places to eat in the city that are kid-friendly. It was fine when Luke wasn’t mobile but started getting harder as he got older. I realized I wasn’t having fun taking pictures of food and holding a toddler back from running around the restaurant. Then, I decided to just take pictures of our weekend/city adventures since I love photography so much. Then I discovered Instagram and I’ve been posting pictures on Instagram a lot more than blogging. It’s a fun way to show people what we’re doing but in an artistic way. And to show people the Chicago I live in. – the hidden treasures, the beautiful architecture, the wonderful restaurants, and the different neighborhoods.  So I guess my ideal reader/subject/student/patron would be someone who loves photography, exploration, and the city of Chicago (and sometimes travel photography).

6. What surprised you most about being a {mom}?

Being a mother is hard. No one said it would be easy or glamorous, but being a mother has opened my world to so many new people. They say it’s harder to make friends as you get older. But I say, it’s so much easier and more fun to make friends when you’re a mom. I’ve met so many women who are so positive and supportive. I feel like this “new” generation of moms is about a sisterhood, a village. We’re all in this together. Let’s help each other. Let’s support each in whatever we’re doing. I have a list of “mom” friends who I am email and texts about problems or rant about something. It makes me feel good.

7. Where/Whom do you find your inspiration from?

My current inspirations are photography and my son, Luke. I’m a huge fan girl of photographers who take photos of things that are often overlooked. I really enjoy “Paris In Four Month’s” blog and Instagram. Although she lives in a beautiful city, she has inspired me to take pictures and show people what I see in my city.

I love taking Luke on adventures and I love dressing him up for those adventures. He inspires me to be a better mama stylist.

8. How do you foster your inspiration and creativity/productivity/talent?

I would say Instagram has helped me do that. I love the feedback I get and I love sharing what I find.

9. Who/what helps you fuel the fire during your least inspired days?

My son, Luke.  Before, I had him, taking pictures was just taking pictures. Taking pictures of him is so fun and seeing his reaction to something for the first time is the greatest reward. I want to be the one that shows him all these extraordinary things…so that it fuels his creativity when he grows up.

Also, like my answer in #4, sitting in a cube all day really gets me to daydream. Someone told me I’m both right brain and left brain. I somewhat believe them now.

10. What would you tell your 21 year old self today?

Laugh…as loud as you want. Cry…whenever you need to. Don’t buy that Gucci bag, buy the Chanel bag instead.

Bonus – last thoughts, anecdotes, tips you are willing to share:

Don’t stop traveling because you have kids. Travel with your kids.


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Meet Aggie

Hello! I’m Aggie; I make photographs.I loved the idea of capturing a snippet in time and elevating it into more than just an instant.