Is This The Bay Area's Chicest Mother-Daughter Duo? (Yes)

Hi everyone, I’m so excited to introduce you to Helen Yu Kuo and her adorable 13-month-old girl, Marni Kuo, on my playdate today! I first connected with Helen on Instagram when she was pregnant with Marni. I was pregnant with Hadley at the same time and found out later our daughters’ due dates were only two days apart.
I thought Helen had the most incredible style. She was a total inspiration for me because she embraced that bump like nobody else’s business! Here are my few favorite looks from her pregnancy, just to name a few — all eyes, camel leopard, wearing blue, smooch brooch. Good, right?
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It's pretty obvious that Jeanne Chan, curator of ShopSweetThings, has a keen eye for cool. But, when she's not searching out new, must-know shops in her native SF, the bona fide Pinterest whiz — and mother of two — plans playdates with her equally stylish mom friends. The good news? We're tagging along!
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Photo: Ashley Batz/Courtesy of Shop Sweet Things.
Helen is currently a Senior Director of Product Marketing at SmartRecruiters, a personal style blogger at What Helen Wore Today, and a devoted Yelper since 2005. Aside from her eclectic mix of chic high-style, you can probably discover the latest baby fashion (through Marni’s closet) as well as the latest food scene in SF. When Helen picked B. Patisserie for our playdate, dare I say SF's best bakery, I knew I picked the right mama! Helen and Marni even showed up wearing matching camo, how cute! We ended the playdate with a little tour at their crib. Let’s check it out!
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Photo: Ashley Batz/Courtesy of Shop Sweet Things.
The most challenging part to having a career and being a mom?
I think it’s a common challenge but I’ll say it anyways — finding balance. It’s definitely a personal choice about how you want to balance your career and your personal life, and what’s worth it to you both short and long term. For me, I knew I wanted to do the best/hardest work of my life now so I can enjoy the later years leisurely with Marni when she’s older. Of course this is what I say now – what I find reassuring though is that no one has quite figured it out 100%. Everyone seems to be constantly adjusting their schedules to make it all work. So maybe it’s less about balance and more about compromise.
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Photo: Ashley Batz/Courtesy of Shop Sweet Things.
Where do you go for tips/advices for motherhood and parenting?
Definitely word of mouth from my mommy friends, Oh Joy’s blog, and a local Facebook group for cool moms.
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Photo: Ashley Batz/Courtesy of Shop Sweet Things.
Why is B. Patisserie your favorite place to go with Marni?
Marni’s still young enough that I can take advantage of bringing her to some of my favorite places! B. Patisserie opened in my neighborhood last winter and I remember getting Marni’s first month’s birthday cake from here (it was a raspberry cake from their special Valentine’s menu). Since then, many kouign amanns, almond cakes, chocolate chip cookies, sables, 10-hour apple tarts and even a buche de noel have been consumed. It’s safe to say this is our go-to pastry shop. And, the store’s opening will always remind me of Marni’s birth date. As for some of Marni’s favorite places to go…she loves any park with a swing. “Marni’s her name and swingin’ is her game!”
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Photo: Ashley Batz/Courtesy of Shop Sweet Things.
Adore this photo of Marni & her daddy!
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Photo: Ashley Batz/Courtesy of Shop Sweet Things.
Do you own a diaper bag? If so, which one do you use?
I’ve never owned a diaper bag. I just use any large tote bag that’s in my closet. Lately it’s been my new black on black Goyard St. Louis PM tote that my hubby got me for Christmas. It’s a fancy “diaper bag,” I know, but it’s so easy to just throw everything in there because it’s roomy enough to hold a lot of stuff. I also just got a new kanken backpack in putty color. This is a good option as it’s unisex so the dads can carry it with style.
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Photo: Ashley Batz/Courtesy of Shop Sweet Things.
Your favorite thing to do when you have time alone?
Take a long, hot bath surrounded by Diptyque candles (baies and feu de bois are my favorite scents).
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Photo: Ashley Batz/Courtesy of Shop Sweet Things.
Where do you shop for Marni’s clothes?
Marni’s “designer” wardrobe includes Mini Rodini, Bobo Choses, Stella McCartney Kids, Seed Heritage, Little Marc Jacobs, and Mini Boden. For more affordable trendy items, I shop at Zara mini/baby/kids, Gap baby/kids, and H&M kids. Love all the Gap baby/kids collaborations too (e.g. DVF, Peter Rabbit and most recently Paddington Bear – on sale!). I’m also a big Instagram fan and have found some awesome baby items from mama shops posting pics on IG like A Tiny Arrow for unique feather headbands, Duchess and Lion for unique rompers, head wraps, and dresses made from awesome vintage prints, and Freshly Picked Moccasins for the coolest moccasins in the prettiest colors. Yes, I’m sharing my baby fashion secrets with your mama readers!
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Photo: Ashley Batz/Courtesy of Shop Sweet Things.
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Photo: Ashley Batz/Courtesy of Shop Sweet Things.
Where do you shop for yourself?
Online! My favs are Zara, J.Crew, The Outnet, La Garconne, Net-a-Porter, Farfetch, Moda Operandi and Shopbop — just to name a few. But, I also enjoy shopping at special boutiques. My favorite ones in San Francisco are actually both in my neighborhood (dangerous!): Elizabeth Charles (for Isabel Marant and Carven) and Curve SF (for unique designer pieces and accessories). MAC Modern Appealing Clothing in Hayes Valley is great too! My favorite Union Square shops with the best sales staff include Barneys New York, Mulberry, Prada, Chanel and Madewell in the Westfield mall.
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Photo: Ashley Batz/Courtesy of Shop Sweet Things.
Where do you find inspiration for your personal style?
I find inspiration from just about anywhere — from street style images to my ultimate girl crush and fashion icon Natasha Goldenberg. In fact, my camo coat is by her label “Tzipporah by Natasha Goldenberg.”
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Photo: Ashley Batz/Courtesy of Shop Sweet Things.
Hayden loved the Pixie Dust Camera by Oh Joy + Twig Creative! And the little ones found the staircase to be the best entertainment!)
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Photo: Ashley Batz/Courtesy of Shop Sweet Things.
Click here to get the outfit details for both mommy & baby!

NEXT: Check Out Our So-Chic Playdate With Jennine Jacob
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