AM/PM: A day in the life of Haeley Giambalvo from Design Improvised


AM/PM chronicles a day in the life of busy mothers to explore how all different types of moms juggle their responsibilities — from stay-at-home moms to moms who work full time outside of the home. If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “I don’t know how she does it” about another mom, read on!

Today we’re talking motherhood with Haeley Giambalvo of the DIY decor blog, Design Improvised. A creative crafter with a penchant for pom-poms (check out her super easy pom-pom balloons here!), Haeley’s work has been featured on Babble, Apartment Therapy, and BHG Style Spotters, among other blogs.

Haeley and her family relocated to San Antonio this summer, and shortly after they arrived in Texas, Design Mom featured a tour of Haeley’s old digs back in Chicago. What a farewell gift! Since the move, Haeley has been busy turning their new house into a beautifully decorated home.

Read on to learn how Haeley juggles all of her responsibilities!

day in the life of haeley giambalvo from design improvised #AMPM

Q. How old are your children?

A. I have two girls – Stella who turned 4 in September and Hazel who is 2.

Q. What’s your occupation? Do you have the same job that you did before becoming a mom?

A. I stay home with the girls and spend 15-20 hours a week on my blog, Design Improvised. Considering I don’t make much of an income from it, I’m not sure I can call it a true occupation. It might be more of a very time consuming hobby!

Prior to having Stella, I worked at a management consulting firm called Monitor Group (now part of Deloitte). I was in the marketing strategy practice and helped advise Fortune 500 companies on growing their brands, launching new products, etc. It was a 60+ hour a week job that was very fulfilling but stressful at the same time. The fulfilling part I miss, the stressful part I don’t!

Q. What’s your dream job?

A. It would be doing the same type of projects and collaborations I am doing with my blog right now, but taking it to the next level. I absolutely love blogging and coming up with DIY décor and entertaining projects for Design Improvised. It has been the perfect outlet for me to explore my creative passions while still leveraging my business background to grow my blog.

I’m not sure exactly where this blogging journey is taking me (and sometimes I wonder if it is worth all the time and effort), but I do feel like each step along the way is getting me closer to a full-time dream job, whatever that might ultimately be. For now, I just feel very blessed to be able to stay home with my girls and have fun with my blog on the side. If nothing else, it helps justify all the money I spend at Joann Craft Store.

day in the life of haeley giambalvo from design improvised #AMPMQ. Walk us through a typical work day… What time do you and your kids wake up?

A. My girls are typically early risers (6:00am!), but somewhere over the summer they started going to bed later and getting up earlier. Now they wake up around 7am on average. They share a room so sometimes they wake up at the same time or sometimes the other might sleep into 8am on a good day.

Although I consider myself a morning person, I never get up before my kids now. In the rare chance I wake up before one of them, I savor a couple quiet moments in bed before one of them starts calling for me!

Q. What does your morning look like?

A. Despite being early risers, we get around slowly in the mornings. I always like to get the girls out to do something (run errands, library, play date) but it is hard to get out of the house before 10:30. The girls eat their breakfast at their little table in the living room while watching their favorite shows and then they typically play in their playroom for a while. I try to sneak in 20 min. of computer time while they are eating their breakfast and playing.

Q. What time do you eat lunch?

A. We usually eat around 12 or 12:30. We all eat together and it is usually a gourmet lunch of turkey and cheese sandwiches and fruit.

day in the life of haeley giambalvo from design improvised #AMPMQ. What does your afternoon look like?

A. Hazel thankfully is a good napper and typically does a solid 3 hours. She goes down to nap around 1pm. However, Stella decided at 2.5 years old that she was done with napping for good and hasn’t napped a day since. It was a bummer to lose that downtime at first, but now Stella and I have our own routine during Hazel’s nap. I often work on my computer for an hour or two while Stella watches TV or plays computer games next to me (I’m not very good at limiting her technology time!). If I’m working on a DIY project, Stella will often help or do her own craft alongside me. I try to carve out a little one-on-one playtime with Stella before her sister wakes up too.

Once Hazel wakes up around 4, we all play together in the playroom or outside until dinnertime.

Q. What time do you eat dinner?

A. My husband Ross typically gets home from work around 6pm, and we eat around 6:30. Then he and the girls often play in the backyard for a bit.

Q. What does your evening look like?

A. The girls are typically in bed by 8pm. By the time we finishing cleaning up from dinner and the general chaos from the day, we typically don’t sit down for the night until 9pm. We’ve been renting a lot of Red Box movies lately but otherwise watch our favorite shows on the DVR. A couple nights a week each of us might have to work on the computer in front of the TV.

Q. What time do you go to bed?

A. With the girls going to bed later, we’ve been going to bed later. Usually by 11:30 (but I wouldn’t mind if it was closer to 10:30)

day in the life of haeley giambalvo from design improvised #AMPMQ. What do you most look forward to doing on the weekends?

A. Having family time together – making a special breakfast at home, trying a new restaurant, or spending time in the backyard. I definitely appreciate the extra set of hands with the kids. Ross typically gets up with the girls one of the mornings so I can sleep in, which I definitely enjoy!

Q. How do you de-stress when you’re feeling overwhelmed?

A. The most relaxing thing for me to do is read my favorite magazines over a cup of coffee (usually on the weekend) or sit outside with a glass of wine after the girls are in bed. The girls are starting preschool 2 mornings a week this month, so I am really looking forward to some solo time. Knowing me, I will spend all the time on my blog because I do love it so much, but I’d really like to start taking a regular yoga class while they’re at school.

One thing I have to remind myself when I’m stressed about the blog is that it is all self-induced! I am the one determining how often I post, what projects I take on, etc. And I have the full ability to cut back on those commitments. For instance this past month I’ve only posted 2 times a week vs. my usual 3 because that’s all I’ve been able to manage.


I can definitely relate to some of Haeley’s challenges as a mom/blogger. To start, I never get up before Levi either! I also sometimes wonder whether blogging is worth all the time and effort. However, I’d feel a lot more confident in my journey if I had Haeley’s business background!

Know a mom who (seemingly) does it all? Suggest new AM/PM interviewees by sending me an email!

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