Amanda Vlastas from West University Moms brought The Local Moms Network platform to her Houston, TX suburb and we are so glad she did.  She’s been an amazing champion of The Local Moms Network and thanks to her enthusiasm we have launched in Katy, TX and have two more TX locations in the works.  Get to know a bit more about Amanda as she celebrates her one-year anniversary running West University Moms!

Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in town?
Amanda: I grew up in Los Angeles and moved to San Francisco when I was 20.  I lived in SF for about 10 years before moving to NYC and then coming to Houston in 2015. I instantly fell in love with Houston – it is such a family-friendly city with so many amazing restaurants, museums, galleries and attractions in such a close proximity.  The quality of life and southern hospitality is unparalleled!

Child(ren) and Age(s)?
I have two boys – Mattias, 5 and Emilio, 2.

Something people would be surprised to know about you…
I have traveled to over 55 countries. When I was in my 20’s I had a fierce wanderlust to see the world and to learn about different cultures.  I did a few trips where I spent several months backpacking through Europe, South America, South East Asia and India. I have also spent over 10 years studying the law of vibration and the subconscious mind. It is one of my favorite topics to discuss.

Favorite local things to do with your kids?
They are endless! We love all of the local parks and attractions like the many museums and Miller Outdoor Theater.  We love Colonial Park pool in the summer, free Prelude Music concerts and movies in Levy Park. My boys are fortunate to be involved in local classes and organizations like Rise Soccer Club and Elite MMA. We love food trucks, live music and any excuse to be outside enjoying the city!

Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the
corporate world? Please share!
Yes, I am the founder of West University Moms! I started the website last year under the parent company The Local Moms Network. As a mom with two small kids,  I had already been gathering resources and making lists of different activities, parks, schools, etc. on my own, so when the opportunity arose, it was such a natural fit. I fell in love with Houston the day I moved here, and I feel so proud to be able to share the local businesses, activities, events and resources with fellow moms.

One of my favorite aspects of the business is promoting other moms in our weekly Meet a Mom interview – It’s such an incredible opportunity to let moms share their voice and their businesses, projects or ventures. When you are a mom, your kids come first, and I have had so many moms comment on how much fun it was to be able to talk about themselves and their lives through these interviews. It has also been amazing to watch us grow throughout Houston, Katy Moms launched this summer and Kingwood Moms and Sugarland Moms will be launching this fall!

How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
I would never have imagined I would end up living in Houston, growing up in California – it’s just not somewhere that you think of. I like to say that Houston is the best-kept secret in the US (shhh don’t tell anyone)!

It is an amazing feeling to be able to greet my neighbors and have meaningful conversations with strangers. There is a feeling in Houston that I have not felt living in other cities. The sense of community is so strong and we are all rooting for our local businesses and entrepreneurs to thrive… we all want to see each other succeed. In Houston, there is so much abundance, it is truly a thriving city!

What is the best advice for juggling mommyhood and running a business (or volunteering, working, etc)?
I’m actually not sure about this one. I am still learning the ropes, I stay up late working while the kids are asleep and while my youngest son naps. It’s a lot to juggle… lots of coffee and lots of patience.

What would you tell the “You” before you had kids?
Cliche, but enjoy sleeping in and taking a shower in peace. I was 38 when I had my last child, so I am appreciative that I had a lot of “me” time before having kids.

Photo credit: Lauren DeFrehn

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