A Conversation With: Melissa Sonico

An ongoing series of conversations with friends, collaborators, and creatives to explore a dialogue on inspiration, passion, community, travel, and life in general.
In celebration of friendship and connection in this time of collective solitude, my friend Melissa Sonico and I decided to interview one another.  You might recognize her from our Instagram feed.  She's a jewelry designer, professor, writer, mom, and sometime FUGGIAMO model based in Redlands, CA.  What initially drew me to Melissa is her innate sense of style.  But as I've come to know her personally, what I've also come to admire is how effortlessly she balances the different aspects of her life while showing up for her passions, family, and community. 
Meet Melissa.

Hi Melissa, can you tell us more about yourself?
I am a writer and professor of writing. I got my masters in short fiction and teach English composition. I also design and sell my jewelry and sell vintage clothing as well. I live in southern California with my husband and my four-year-old son and baby girl.

How has sheltering at home affected your family of 4?  How are you navigating this shift and creating some sense of normalcy?
It’s been an adjustment for us but we’re lucky enough to be able to work from home even though it comes with its own challenges. My husband teaches 6th grade and it’s been a bit stressful managing our respective courseloads along with our son’s schooling and just caring for the two little ones while maintaining our “normal” routine.

What does your new daily routine look like?  How do you balance your work, creative pursuits, and family?
We’ve woken up early ever since Harrison was born and that hasn’t much changed haha. So we’re up and dressed and had breakfast by 8 and get ready for Harrison’s lessons (he goes half day to Montessori usually so we have activities for him until then) while Johnny gets some work done with his students online. Then he takes H outside to play while I let Johanna nap. We finish up H’s school day, have lunch, and then I get a chance to grade and work with my students. We usually have some outdoor time or tv/read/write or exercise and then it’s time for making dinner. Once the kids sleep, more work (answer student emails, work on campaigns, writing, etc.).

Where do you find yourself seeking inspiration of late?  What's something that made you smile recently?
I've been finding inspiration outside! I rarely would spend time in my backyard but lately that’s the only place I can go so the change of scenery is inspiring and motivating. My kids always make me smile, but also TikTok. It’s a ridiculous guilty pleasure of mine.

How do you keep yourself centered and nurtured? 
I’ve been getting into ballet again. I took it a million years ago and wish I had stuck with it. I love dance and took dance classes in college as well. A few different ballerinas that I follow on Instagram are offering free beginner classes for adults so I do those, and also Dance Church LA! ALSO also, I’ve been cooking and baking. Johnny usually would do all the cooking but I’ve been having fun experimenting and trying new things.

It's clear you're an amazing friend/advocate of independent fashion brands.  Why is supporting small business important to you?  What kind of values do you look for in the partners that you work with?
I love supporting independent brands and shops like yours because I respect their transparency and sustainability. Everything is made and designed and sourced more thoughtfully and in turn everything lasts much longer and is friendlier to the environment. I want everyone to realize that a seemingly higher price point assures quality and care and longevity.

How would you describe your personal style?
Not as minimal as it’s been in the past. I still love neutrals and that won’t change, but I’ve been experimenting with more pattern and color. Still very classic silhouettes mixed with some romantic elements.

What is your favorite:
Easy, go-to recipe? Pork Adobo 🇵🇭 and apple cinnamon galettes
Show? I just finished Kim’s Convenience on Netflix.
Album? Fiona Apple’s new album is so good.
New family ritual? Slumber parties in the living room every Friday night
Indulgence?  Salted chocolate chip cookies

What's next for you?  Has Covid changed or re-prioritized what you want to do next? 
I have a couple things in the works. At the top of my list, I’m working on a short story collection, and I have some big jewelry news I can’t quite share yet. Things have changed trajectory because of covid, but I’m still excited for what’s to come and hoping things out in the world work themselves out soon. 



Thanks, Melissa!  To read my profile, you can check out our conversation on her blog.