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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Smarty Mom: Monica Casey

By Rachel H

Welcome to another Smarty Mom Saturday! Today we are happy to introduce you to Monica Casey. She and her husband, James, have twin daughters, Katie and Claire, who are 18 months old. Monica is a true mountain girl who was born and raised in Boone, NC. She went to UNCG as a freshman in 1990 and then after graduating, moved from Greensboro to Winston Salem.

Monica stays at home with her girls, but since starting her own business, she has the luxury of working as much or as little as she likes. She also still works in the radio business part time (since leaving her full time job as a radio personality at 100.3 The Buzzard after having twins) producing aggressive brand imaging from home for WQNS, which is a rock station in Asheville, NC. This is a fancy way of saying she creates all the sounds you hear in between songs that identify the station! Monica is a true Mompreneur who started Monkey Hooper Hula Hoops in May, 2009. She makes custom extra large hoops for adults and children and sells them online and at area festivals. She also teaches hooping fitness classes, hosts hula hoop birthday parties, and does special events at places like local schools, corporations, and The WS Children's Museum. She even started the website on her own!

She is involved in the TCMOMs group and serves as their PR coordinator. She supports organizations like 2nd Harvest Food Bank, St. Jude, The USO, and walks every year in the Women's Only 5K Walk and Run in the fight against breast cancer. Monica says, "Family time is the most important thing to me, and I feel like I'm accomplishing something big when my husband and I can get out and about with two toddlers in tow, and expose them to various new things.”

Let’s read more about Monica …

Working in radio always seems to interesting to me. Tell us what you liked most about it. Yes, it really was interesting, and I loved the fact that no two days were quite alike. For example, some days I'd go in thinking it was just a "routine" day, only to find out I was interviewing someone like Ozzy Osbourne that afternoon. Being on the air was just plain fun, not to mention theraputic....I was around music all day, plus I got to make fun of stuff (and people) as much as I wanted! Don't worry...they all had it coming. Access to countless live concerts was a huge bonus, and I also loved meeting people as part of the job. Whether it was celebrities, musicians backstage, or local listeners at live events, most of them were folks I wouldn't have had the chance to meet otherwise. Many listeners would say they listened to me for so many years, I had sort of become part of their family. That was really special and I still cherish that.

Any funny stories from your Buzzard days? Right away I think of the concert trip I hosted on New Years Eve a RV. Listeners won a trip to Detroit to see Kid Rock, Ted Nugent and Metallica, so we piled in and off we went, stopping at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along the way. Never did I think I'd be driving a massive home on wheels through the streets of Cleveland..much less on the Millineum New Years Eve! Writing and producing promotional contests was great fun, and I'll never forget the contest where listeners had to "Guess the Sex of Monica's Twins". We posted one of my actual sonograms at the website and listeners voted on the sex. The proud winner took home TWO 5 pound turkeys...just in time for Thanksgiving. Ahh, the things we would come up with. Other surreal things that come to mind would be interviewing tons of celebrities at the Radio Music Awards twice in Las Vegas...from Drew Carry, to Wolfgang Puck, to Night Ranger. I'll never forget hanging out with Gene Simmons from KISS while he was just kicking back playing an acoustic guitar before the show. Crazy times.

What inspired you to start your own business? Making extra large hula hoops was kind of a quirky hobby of mine and after people started requesting to buy them, I was inspired to turn it into a business. The timing was perfect in that I had recently left my career to stay at home with the girls, and was interested in a flexible way to make some income. Also, being able to design hoops with different colors and designs gives me a much needed creative outlet. I love being out and about working festivals with my hoops, and meeting all the different walks of life who enjoy them. A recent favorite spotting of mine was watching a group of nuns try them out. Even if I decided to quit the business now, that alone was worth all the effort!

Where can we see and/or purchase these hula hoops? You may have seen Monkey Hooper Hoops in various local papers and magazines (Relish cover story, June '09, Winston-Salem Monthly Magazine Sept. '09 issue, Winston Salem Journal, etc). You can purchase hoops at, or you can buy them at H2O Tie Dyes in Winston Salem. You can also find me teaching hoop fitness classes at Gold's Gym in WS, teaching corporate fitness classes in business around town, or spreading the joy of hooping this Oct.-Dec. with Clifford the Big Red Dog at the Children's Museum of WS. Parents can also purchase hoops for unique party favors with a Monkey Hooper birthday party!

What is the smartiest way you save money? Using cash rather than a debit card helps. Also, my family has cut way back on eating out, and I am a big supporter of clipping/downloading coupons. Triple Coupon week rocks. Try to use them on food items that are already on sale. Extra bonus!

What is your favorite family activity? As the girls grow and mature this is constantly changing, but I would say for now it's just quality family time together. That could be hanging out at home on a Sunday night, having a picnic with my whole family, or taking the girls for a wagon ride through the neighborhood.

Favorite “me-time” activity?

Favorite place to eat dinner as a family?
Waldo's Wings

Favorite date night spot?
Ryan's Steakhouse

Favorite book you have read?
The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

Funniest thing one of your children has ever done or said? They constantly crack me up, but one thing that comes to mind is how the girls have their own "twin speak" language with each other. It's a trip to sit back and watch them in action because once they start, they get loud quickly and don't stop!

Best place to eat lunch with the kids? I love sitting on the patio at 4th Street Filling Station with my girls on Mondays because it's relaxing, delicious, and kids eat free!

Favorite place to shop for children’s clothes? TCMOMS (Twin City Mothers of Multiples) clothing exchange twice a year

Best kept secret in the Triad? Flint Hill Vineyards, and the "upper" trail for walking and flying kites at C.G. Hill Park

What is the best birthday party you have attended? My great aunt Zeffa's 90th birthday party. It was outdoors at her home in the mountains and it's a wonderful memory I share with my mom.

What is your favorite mom’s must have item for around the house? My Blackberry cause I can keep up with email/business stuff from anywhere in the house.... and wine.

Favorite park? Pilot Mountain State Park, Salem Lake for riding bikes and walking, Tanglewood, Price Park in Boone, etc. My family spends a LOT of time having picnics. I think I was born with a marshmallow roasting stick in my hand.

Favorite or most helpful blog you have read on Triad Smarty Pants thus far? I have to shout out to my girl Jennifer Isaman for her recent blog on TCMOMS! All mothers of multiples are welcome and spreading the word about this fun and helpful club is a good thing. :-)

Best thing about raising a family in the Triad? The changing seasons, parks, festivals, and access to the beach and mountains.

I could not live without my...
Memory foam pillow...and my camera.

Monica is not only a Smarty Mom, but such a fun mom as well! Anyone who loves hula hooping knows how to have a good time! Thanks for sharing so many interesting things with us today!

Don't forget to register for this month's giveaway! You may be the lucky winner of a $50 gift card to Emma Jane's Children's Specialty Shoppe! Their clothing, furniture, toys and accessories are high quality and unique! Good luck!


Ashleigh said...

My kids went to a birthday party last weekend and Monica was there doing her "hula hoop thing". They had a BLAST and love their new hula hoops :)

jenisaman said...

What a great article about a GREAT Mommy! My family has enjoyed many hours hoopin' in the backyard, at parks and picnics with our custom made Monkeyhooper hula hoops. Thanks to Monica for turning us on to the wonderful world of "hoopin". So much fun!

maythi said...

I met Monica at the CBR sale and loved seeing her Monkey Hooper hoops in person! I love the idea of a hoopin' party! Monica is such a sweet spirit. Great article on a wonderful Mommy!

danawilmoth said...

Monica is doing hooping classes for us at work. It's such a fun way to exercise and gives you an extra kick to get through the work day! I look forward to it every week!

Anonymous said...

Monica and I became great friends in college. We have been to many music festivals and hooped them all! She gave me a pink and white monkeyhoop for my baby shower. It sure did help the pounds come off after the baby came- and it was fun!!!

Jenna said...

Monica is full of energy and has a general enthusiasm for life! What a super smarty mom!!!

Anonymous said...

I love hula hoops and I love festival hoops the best! How cool that you are making them. I will be ordering a Christmas present for me and... maybe one for the kids!

Lora Songster said...

Monica's hoops are awesome. She is a vibrant lady with fabulous energy. Whether you are trying to whittle your middle age waist or looking for a unique birthday party call her!

WolfGirlJack said...

What a great article! I carry my Monkey Hooper all over town, at Kickball games, Wake Forest tailgates, even inside Tonic! My friends have seen mine and gone on to buy Monkey Hoops as well. And I just bought one for my mom after finding that she was a born natural. I love my Monkey Hooper Hoop!!

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