Hello friendly faces! It’s that time of the week, time for CNSMoms’ Meet a Mom spotlight brought to you in part by Mary Gifford of Gifford Law*. This week’s Meet a Mom feature is the lovely Lindsay Meltzer, Highland Park born, raised and returned mom of three and owner of Bright Bowls, a dairy-free yogurt bowl boutique featuring clean eating! Lindsay tells us how she went from a career in sports marketing, to stay-at-home-mom of three, to taking a chance in life at her true passion of spreading the love, joy and beauty of clean and healthy eating for any picky eater! Welcome, Lindsay!
Hi Lindsay! It’s so nice to finally meet you! Please introduce yourself.
Hi! My name is Lindsay Meltzer and I was born at Highland Park Hospital and lived in the Highlands until college. My husband grew up 2 minutes away from me (I know that because we used to time how long it would take so he would get me home in time for my curfew). After we married, we lived in Bucktown with our 2 boys and when we realized we didn’t want to deal with the city school situation, we started looking to move. We looked everywhere; Glencoe, Deerfield, Denver, but it felt too weird to come back to Highland Park. The inevitable happened and we found our perfect home, 30 seconds from where my husband grew up in in Sherwood Forest…and as long as we were heading to the burbs, we threw in 3rd baby and a minivan. We now have 3 kids: Lucas (8), Ari (6), and Molly (4).
I am the Creator and Owner of Bright Bowls in Highland Park! The Bright Bowls mission is to provide high-quality and purposeful ingredients through delicious and beautifully crafted bowls. Each bowl is filled with beneficial components that help your body function in a healthy and efficient way, while fighting off disease and inflammation.
You’re not only a business owner but you’re definitely in the thick of it! What is your least favorite mom job?
I have such a love/hate relationship with bedtime. I hate the process (showers, brushing teeth, etc), but I absolutely can’t get enough of bedtime cuddles.
Agreed! What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I hate running but I ran a marathon in 2009. I did it for the charitable organization I was working for at the time and it was the most amazing experience of my life…until I had my kids, of course ;). I also hate zucchini.
Do you have any favorite local places you like to spend with the family?
This was way more exciting pre-covid. We frequent the local parks due to a busy soccer and baseball schedule. We love Rosewood Beach in the summer….we’re so lucky to live near such a beautiful beach! We order in Backyard Grill every Wednesday per our middle child’s request. Finally, in the winter, we head up to Wilmot, Wisconsin to go skiing as often as possible. To have a nice ski hill in the midwest only 45 minutes away is an amazing pick-me-up in the winter.
When daily life gets tougher than normal, what’s something you do or tell yourself that gets you through it?
I always think “whatever comes out of my mouth right now could be the one thing my kids hear over and over in their minds as they grow up.” So I take a deep breath, take a sip of wine (or tequila), make a joke, and carry on. I also find that when emotions get too big, getting outside can cure, or significantly diminish the severity!
You are a mompreneur! Tell us about Bright Bowls!
Yes! I am the creator and owner of Bright Bowls, a boutique serving delicious and beautifully crafted dairy-free and gluten-free smoothie bowls. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 9-years-old and always ate differently from any of my friends or family. During college and my early professional life southern California, I was in heaven with the constant fresh produce, amazing farmers markets, and exotic superfoods! For fun, I would travel far distances to check out new grocery stores, and I frequented food festivals like the Lemon Festival and the Avocado Festival.
When I moved back to Chicago I perfected my own version of an acai bowl which led to many other experiments with exotic flavors and ingredients. When my youngest began preschool, I invited neighbors and friends to order Bright Bowls out of my kitchen and my orders multiplied each week. After 3 months, I realized I needed to either shut it down or open up a brick and mortar location. My husband and I signed a lease at 777 Central Ave in Highland Park in January of 2020…
… And then the pandemic happened.
Yep. If it wasn’t for my 200 local followers on instagram at the time, I’m not sure I would have gone through with opening. The frequent DM’s asking when we were opening or comments of encouragement, expressing excitement about our storefront really pushed us through those really challenging days. We opened the doors on June 15th, 2020, and have been having the time of our life ever since!
Bright Bowls also has a studio space where you cater to parties and celebrations as well as children’s and adult classes. Do tell!
Yep! We love hosting celebrations and right now our studio is available for rentals on Sundays. Customers can customize their experience with our party packages or go all out with our list of talented vendor partners! From Bright Bowl decorating and yoga, to meditation and detox bowls, your event will be memorable and BRIGHT!
And, also yes! Our Bright Studio is host for some of the most talented local teachers! Classes range from HIIT, to Kids’ Yoga, to Scholastic programming! For example, Robin Taxman of Movement Junkies (recently featured on CNSM Meet a Mom series) teaches Kids Yoga on Monday and Saturday mornings! Keep in touch as more classes are added to the calendar!
Lindsay, what was your career and life path before you opened Bright Bowls?
I began my career in sports marketing and quickly pivoted to the nonprofit sector. I’ve always loved cultivating relationships, creating hope, and empowering people to help themselves by giving them the information and resources needed to succeed. After giving birth to my oldest, I had an overwhelming feeling that I needed and wanted to be a full-time stay-at-home mom. One of my much older colleagues guided me on that decision when she told me that I would never get another chance to spend my baby’s first year with him. Then of course I felt guilty not doing the same for the other two, so I stayed home with them as well. No regrets. It led me to where I am now!
What was the inspiration behind your uniquely beautiful bowls?
I wanted to teach my kids how eating healthy could be fun! So, I took my original acai bowl and created more colors, more designs and introduced fun and colorful foods. I taught them how important it is to eat all of the colors in the rainbow because each color provides different benefits. I threw their Bright Bowls up on Instagram and my friends and neighbors wanted some for themselves and their families.
What are some of your proudest moments with your business where you said “wow, I did that”?
We’ve had a fair number of customers who were undergoing chemotherapy and having trouble eating. They came frequently for healthy and clean nourishment because our bowls are clean, healthy and the only foods they were able to eat. That took my breath away! On a daily basis we have small kids who “don’t eat anything healthy” according to their parents but love to eat our bowls that are filled with cauliflower, spinach, bananas, etc. We also have much older customers who are very set in their ways and believe they won’t like our “healthy food”. Those are the customers who have turned into our daily visitors!
What is one thing you really want people to know about Bright Bowls?
I always say “Healthy doesn’t have to be ugly.” Healthy food can be beautiful and sexy and taste divine! Even if there is spinach in the bowl, we make it in a way that is delicious. Eating healthy should be fun, not a chore. If you make it fun and enjoy it, then you’re more likely to repeat it. Some people just come because it’s beautiful and delicious and don’t appreciate the health benefits. A Bright Bowl is a meal. Each bowl was carefully designed to have enough protein and fiber to carry you through until the next meal.
Where are you located, and can we order online?
We’d love to see you! We are located in the heart of Highland Park at 777 central ave, Highland Park. Yes! Customers can order online here. We are open Monday – Saturday 8am – 3:30pm, closed on Sundays.
What’s next for Bright Bowls?
We have been approached by developers and franchisers to open new locations. Restaurants frequently fail in the first year and if not, the “sophomore year” is often the killer. We are still a young, fragile business in the middle of a pandemic. We’ve had the greatest success by listening to the customers and staying true to our values and mission. We’ll continue this path and see where it leads. Follow us on Instagram @bright_bowls and Facebook for current information!
About our Meet a Mom Sponsor:
A very heartfelt thank you to CNSMoms’ sole Meet a Mom sponsor, Lake Forest mom of three and owner of Gifford Law, a solo Estate Planning Firm. Mary, we appreciate your support of local moms in our North Shore communities! Learn more about Mary by visiting her Meet a Mom profile here!