'Mod Mom' gets a makeover | August 1, 2007 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |


Palo Alto Weekly

News - August 1, 2007

'Mod Mom' gets a makeover

Surprise win for a Silicon Valley mom returns some sparkle to cancer survivor's days

by Arden Pennell

Raising an energetic toddler while battling an aggressive form of breast cancer left Kristen Dimont, known online by her handle "ModMommy" or "ModMom," depleted and frazzled.

"After completing cancer treatment ... I don't want to be the hag mommy," Dimont wrote in an essay that recently helped her win a complete style and fashion makeover sponsored by the Silicon Valley Moms Blog.

Dimont spent a recent Saturday afternoon being pampered in a hair and personal-appearance makeover at LaBelle Day Spa in the Stanford Shopping Center, capped with a romantic dinner for two, among other goodies.

Dimont, a Sunnyvale resident, hadn't expected to win and was thrilled at the change of pace.

"Instead of spending five hours in the chemotherapy chair, I'll be spending five hours in the salon chair," she said Saturday morning. "It's the complete opposite, and it's wonderful."

The contest was organized by SVMoms.com co-founders Jill Asher and Tekla Nee of Palo Alto and Beth Blecherman of Menlo Park, who sifted through more than 40 entries documenting the aesthetic ravages of the early years of motherhood. The popular Internet site caters especially to professional women who became mothers.

They read self-descriptions from "imperfect silhouettes" to "clown pants" to completely ignoring appearance while caring for sick, or sometimes just active, children.

After selecting 10 finalists, the trio turned to regular Moms Blog contributors to whittle the list down to six. SVMoms.com readers chose their favorite.

"We had thousands of page views while the contest was going on," Blecherman said. "It was neck and neck for awhile."

For Dimont, the chance to spend a day getting pretty, including learning how to style hair (which grew back surprisingly wavy after chemotherapy-caused baldness) was a departure from her usual low-key style.

"I never do anything like this," she said. "I even had to let my nails grow so the manicurist would have something to clip today!"

Dimont is no fashionista but rather a member of a network of tech-savvy mothers turning to the Web to share information about topics from the best electronic family planner to organic cooking. She discovered the SVMoms.com site while producing her own blog, mod*mom (http://modmom.blogspot.com/), which focuses on modern, child-friendly design. In between raising her 4-year-old daughter and combating cancer, she keeps mod*mom updated with posts about new products and advice for other moms.

Fellow blogger Blecherman founded Techmamas (http://techmamas.typepad.com) to help parents swap tips about raising children in the online era.

Blecherman credited not just Internet know-how but also old-fashioned, folksy friendliness with making the contest happen.

"Local businesses have been incredibly generous. They said, 'Sure, we'd love to help a mom!'"

Businesses that sponsored the makeover were conveniently located near each other on Emerson Street in downtown Palo Alto, including Vivre, a gym that offered membership and training sessions; Romi Boutique, which provided a new outfit; and Mantra restaurant, which contributed dinner for two. LaBelle Day Spa at the Stanford Shopping Center also provided a facial and make-up services, as well as manicures for Dimont and the runners-up.

Dimont was already familiar with Vivre, having taken exercise classes for cancer survivors run there by Stanford Hospital. Gym owner Shawn Mackenzie donates the space twice a week, and Dimont was excited to use the facility more often.

"This part of the makeover is going to have a long-term impact," she said.

But even moms who didn't win the fitness and beauty makeover package can feel special, Blecherman said.

"All moms should be pampered. Even if it's 10 p.m. and the kids are asleep, there's time to apply a facial mask or do your toenails," she advised.

For those who never got a chance to enter the contest, Blecherman promises more.

"This is just the first one. We also want to do a back-to-school contest. There are a lot of moms out there, and we want to keep it going," she added.

Last year, the Moms Blog organized a fashion show for the often fashion-challenged moms, with a Nordstrom fashion show of practical but stylish clothing that could replace the sweats some new mothers wear. (See the Sept. 27, 2006 edition of the Weekly, "Mommy bloggers go fashionista.")

The Moms Blog was launched in April 2006 and currently has several thousand members.

Editorial Intern Arden Pennell is can be e-mailed at apennell@paweekly.com.


Like this comment
Posted by mod*mom
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 31, 2007 at 9:04 pm

thank you for writing about my wonderful makeover arden!
+ thank you again to the fabulous vivre gym at Web Link
+ mantra restaurant (the seabass is fabulous),romi boutique (lisa the manager is very nice), la belle spa(ruth gave me a fabulous facial), the silicon valley mom's blog members + especially the beautiful, sensitive beth blecherman Web Link for personally arranging, escorting, shopping, advising, reassuring + being my press agent.

special thank you to the magnificent + lovely nancy mau, 7-year breast cancer survivor, for generously creating the cancer survivor's exercise program at vivre gym, teaching the classes free of charge + creating a community of cancer survivor's overjoyed + excited about integrating mind, body + spirit. you're our hero nancy!

p.s. mod*mom is at Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Beth Blecherman
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 31, 2007 at 9:37 pm

I have been reading the Palo Alto Weekly for years because I grew up in Palo Alto. Thank you for covering our Makeover Story. We can't wait to do our next Moms makeover.
Beth Blecherman