“I look forward to the kids getting older and us being able to really explore the world,” says Vanessa Lachey, proud mother of three (Camden, Brooklyn and Phoenix), wife to one (98 Degrees member and TV personality Nick Lachey) and tireless entertainer to the rest of America. “Seeing so many different cultures at a young age was beneficial to me in so many ways, and I want them to experience that.”
Over the years, the Philippines-born, South Carolina-bred, L.A.-based Vanessa Lachey has done it all, including being an MTV VJ, Entertainment Tonight correspondent and Miss Universe co-host. This summer, she’s partnering with Holiday Inn for its family-focused Chocolate Milk Happy Hour. How she’s able to promote, participate in shows like Top Chef Junior and still remain a constant presence at home is hard to conceive but, Lachey’s been gracious enough to share some insight into how she’s able to juggle her calendar, de-stress her day and pack her bags.
This summer partnership with Holiday Inn sounds delicious. How did it come about?
I am so excited to partner with Holiday Inn for their Chocolate Milk Happy Hour because the moments we create with our kids are the memories that shape who they are and become. Holiday Inn is shining a light on taking time to enjoy things as a family. Finding something beautiful and fun in the unexpected. Just sitting and having a conversation with your kiddo over milk and cookies will surprise you on how impactful that small act can be.
Though you make it look easy on social media, juggling all that you do is no easy task. What does a typical “off” day look like for you?
That’s the beauty and curse of social media — it’s only bits and pieces of life. Most of the time, [it’s] just the fun stuff we all want to share. I am very fortunate to have a hands-on partner. Nick is a big reason why I am able to continue working and be a mom — and vice versa.
When he goes on tour and does his shows, I am holding down the fort at home. We always try and prioritize our schedule, putting our family first. In the end, we are happy with the result because we did it for all of us.
Your timeline is filled with visits to Chicago, Louisiana and numerous places in between. When you pack for travel, what are a few must-have essentials in your bag?
Traveling, for me, has been something I have done my whole life. Once I had kids, my packing game had to change. No more suitcases filled with fun handbags and different colored heels. Now I pack the kids first, then I’m lucky if I have a nice pair of shoes for a date night out with Nick. It’s usually sneakers and flats.
You’ve been on the go for a long time. What are a few tips you’ve learned over the years that have taken some of the stress out of airports/traveling?
One thing that has always helped me, whether I’m packing for me or the kids, is making a list then crossing off the things as I put them in my suitcase. For those last-minute things, I circle them and, right before we pull out of the driveway, I check the list one last time. There’s always the toothbrush you need or a favorite monkey that that baby was holding at breakfast that you don’t want to forget.
For the actual airport, I found it helpful to give each kid their own travel suitcase that has their own things. They help me pack so they have ownership and comfort in what’s in their bag. I let them pick their snacks, their books or toys they want on the plane and what comfort items like blanket or stuffed animal [to bring].
Also, for us, it is a time to not be so rigid with iPads. I let them pick a few movies and it keeps them entertained.
Where are some of your favorite destinations for a summer vacation?
We love anything where we can pack the kids up and drive. Lucky for us living in L.A., we are close to so many amazing places. We find that the journey is sometimes the most fun and, when you pack the car up, the kids get excited settling in.
What exciting projects do you have lined up?
I just wrapped Top Chef Junior, which premieres in September. I am so proud of this show and, truly, it’s like a dream job because it combines two things I love dearly: food and kids!
I am heading off to shoot a Christmas movie in Vancouver and I am excited to be able to sit with the kids and watch it over the holidays. My work environment has changed since I had kids — but in all the best ways. Being mommy is definitely my favorite job of all.