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Monthly Heroines

family life & style blog

The One Who Keeps It Real

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

It's been almost a year since the last time I did an article on inspiring mothers. With the sickness (back in June) and everything that happened in between, I just haven't been able to do interviews and photoshoots in the past few months. But I've realized that "Heroines & Badasses" is one of my favourite article to write because I am not writing about me, I am writng about other people! Now with the rise of "#momsoninstagram", it's not easy to find someone who is real let alone relatable. Some are too staged with their photos on instagram, some are too 'up there and unapproachable', and many just don't even try (I'm sorry, I know we all have struggles, but I needed someone who has the right balance between being stylish and being real for this article, although not all mothers whom I've interviewed for this section is a blogger). So I was excited when I found a fellow Dallas mom-blogger, Camille Elena.


You know, when you see someone and you go, "I think I can get along with her." Yeah, that's how I felt looking at her photos on instagram. Not because we are so alike, in fact we're not. But because she seemed stylish without trying too hard, very casual, and relatable as a mother. She's not like one of those fashion bloggers who are just 'up there' you know. So yeah, I decided to reach out a few weeks ago and we ended up having coffee together last week. And, she brought little Zara with her!

     There was no attitude, she did not try to overcomplicate her answers, she turned out to be exactly how I thought she would be.

Motherhood in 3 words for you : Learning, stretching, and moving.


Have you always wanted to be a mother? Why? Not necessarily. The thought of having kids horrified me, especially since I was trying to finish up my degree at the time. My plan was to have kids at 30, or none at all. That is, until I met Robert.  


Why did you decide to become a stay-at-home mom? I worked part-time at ISP Studios as a production assistant and book-keeper while I was in college. Soon after having Zara, I graduated and tried working while being a new mom, but it was hard taking a newborn along. So I stopped for a while and decided that being a stay-at-home mom was best for the time being. She won’t be this little forever.


The best part about being Zara's mom?  Having a stand-in cuddle buddy when Robert is at work.




How would you describe your style? Clean, classic, chic but with hints of however I’m feeling that day thrown into my outfits. I like to add elements of bohemia, the 70’s, and edge. I also love neutral colors, but I’m not opposed to color either.


How do you make the time to dress up nicely and do your make up with a kiddo running around? (I honestly need some tips on this haha) One thing motherhood has taught me is the art of distraction. Most of the time Zara just simply wants to be with me, so whether I’m taking a shower or putting on makeup, I’ll usually let her hop in with me (clothes and all) or let her play in my makeup bag so she can feel as if she’s participating. It takes twice as long, but it makes her happy!  


As Zara continues to grow, how would you teach her about balancing between loving fashion, and having an inner-beauty? How do you do it with yourself so far? Well, the first thing I want to instill in her is to be confident in who she is and that inner-beauty is what matters the most. I also want to teach her that being herself in her love for fashion is also important and not to get too wrapped up in trying to be/dress like everyone else. Being different is what’s beautiful!


Who inspires you to be a fashion/mom-blogger? My mom of course! I sincerely believe if it weren’t for her, my sense of fashion wouldn’t be as keen as it is today. She is such a fashionable woman who has always dressed smart and appropriate for her age. And to be honest, she has always been more fashion-forward than me. She has always told me to wear what I want, because when I’m old I won’t be able. I am also inspired by other moms who are going through similar situations as me. In a sense, it’s as if we’re going through it together when we share stories and when we connect.



I've seen a lot of blogger post about the struggle to stay sane in this social media-crazed world, because as you know, we often find ourselves comparing ourselves with the other bloggers. Honestly, I feel that way too every now and then. What do you do when you feel that way? Any words of encouragement or tips? I try not to compare myself to others simply because I wasn’t taught to compare myself with anyone growing up. Instead of comparing, I like to see what I can learn from other bloggers on how they style their outfits or engage with their followers. I also keep in mind that they’re people just like me who are not perfect and who are just trying to put their best foot forward. So my word of encouragement to anyone reading is this: No one will ever be as good at being you than YOU.


How is your Mr. doing so far in terms of supporting your passion for fashion and blogging, what does he think of it? I think at first he was a bit skeptical and annoyed when I would ask him to take pictures, but he’s coming around to it. He’s not into social media at all, so he doesn’t quite understand why I have to take so many pictures, but he does understand that I enjoy doing it. I balance it out by blogging at night before I go to bed or while Zara naps, so it doesn’t interfere with family time. Now, I don’t think he minds it so much.


Fall is coming soon, any must-have fashion item for fall? Because I am a lover of shoes, the item that I am lusting over is the cut-out leather bootie! I recently purchased some Dolce Vita brand booties and I just can’t get enough and I certainly can’t wait to incorporate them into all my summer outfits, because let’s face it, the summer heat isn’t going anywhere for a while in Texas. And I am a firm believer that getting a new pair of shoes is like getting a whole new wardrobe, so the possibilities are endless!


She also encourages us mothers to know what we can and cannot pull off in terms of wearing fashion items and trends. "Lady Gaga can pull off just about anything because she's Lady Gaga, but what she got on might not look good on us! So make sure you know what works best for you, find your own style," she said.

Since we brought our kids that day, the chit-chat and photoshoot surely didn't go as smoothly as they might seem in the photos. I had to bring an iPad, a spare car key, and some blackberries to calm J down. Camille had to nurse Zara in between shoots, Zara bumped her head in my car when I hit the brake (because I thought the traffic light went green when it actually went red), I mean it was crazy! But it was real. And that's what I love about meeting up with real mothers.



When asked about the message she wants to convey through social media and blogging, Camille simply answered, "Be relatable."

Well said, mama.