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Q&A: Hilary Phelps Shares Her Pride in Genuine Joy

Hilary Phelps with her yoga guru Yogi Hari
Hilary Phelps with her yoga guru Yogi Hari
Hilary Phelps favorite quote comes from Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world."

It's the inspiration behind her interactive lifestyle website Genuine Joy. Launched two-and-a-half years ago, the site explores Phelps' passion for fashion, fitness, culinary adventures and cultural experiences. Phelps insists that she is not an expert in these areas, but she’s sharing her experiences with readers in an effort to be better today than she was yesterday.

The site features a blog, her TV appearances and recipes, all of which highlight the many interests of Phelps, a certified yoga teacher and Ironman competitor, baker and a regular at New York Fashion Week. She has more than 9,000 Twitter followers @HilaryPhelps
Phelps chatted with BmoreMedia writer Diane Macklin about fashion, food, family and her plans to expand Genuine Joy.
Diane Macklin (DM): What’s next for Genuine Joy?

Hilary Phelps (HP): Everything as it relates to the overarching concept of Genuine Joy has been organic. From a blog to an integrated website, featuring third-party content and even on-air network appearances. The entire content and tone of the website has evolved naturally.
I expect to see more network appearances across a variety of topics and mediums as well as eventually doing not just on-air analysis, but my own editing and production work as well.  I can't place a timetable on this process, but when you ask what I see on the horizon those are the blurry shapes that are gradually coming into focus.

DM: What inspired you to create Genuine Joy?
HP: I was finding myself in a rut, wearing the same skinny jeans and black turtlenecks. As we get older we stop asking, "Why?" I wanted to wear something new, try new recipes and with Genuine Joy.
DM: Why is yoga/meditation so important to the site?

HP: Yoga and meditation are an important part of my life and therefore my site as well.  The practice helps me to be in the moment and enjoy each and every experience as it's happening.  It's a reminder to slow down and enjoy the process, the journey, and not focus on arriving at the final destination.
DM: What makes your culinary section unique?

HP: I don't have one specific focus, meaning I cover all areas of the culinary spectrum.  I've shared recipes that include raw, vegan, vegetarian, dinner, dessert, baking and party foods.  I like to have fun and experiment with food, and most of all I enjoy sharing it with others. To me, creating meals and enjoying them with friends and family is an expression of love.  Most are quick and easy to make, and come from whole, nutritionally dense foods. The desserts can be calorie dense, but again, use quality ingredients.  I don't like the "good food/bad food" concept. I'm a believer in "all things in moderation. I have recipes on there for post -workout smoothies and even donut holes.

DM: How many readers do you have?
HP: I have hundreds of people that have it delivered to their emails and a few thousand hits daily on my site. (You can sign up on her site to receive Genuine Joy delivered to you.) I like to keep people guessing and vary what I write about; what's interesting that day.
DM: Is Michael supportive of your blog and website? Do you think he sneaks a peek at them?
HP: (Laughs) I had someone tell me recently “Michael tells me how great your site is.” He’s very supportive of me. Even though my site and blog is geared toward women, I do know there are men that read it.

DM: I know you went with your family to watch Michael compete in the Olympics this summer. How amazing was that experience?
HP: It went by really quickly. It was great to travel as a family. When we weren’t watching the games, we spent time at the hotel. I loved the English desserts. We enjoyed the very European style of morning espresso, latte and cappuccino.
DM: You have become a real “fashionista” and I know you attended New York Fashion Week, tell me about it!
HP: I love New York Fashion Week, The trends this year for spring 2013 include florals, leather details, gold and other metallics, sequins on long dresses and even sweatshirts. Also, winter white carries into spring. I love white. I find it a perfect alternative to black to use as a neutral color.
DM: Where are your favorite places to shop in Baltimore/Washington Area?
HP: I love J Crew, Urban Chic, Sassanova and Nordstrom Rack. You can get great deals on high end products. It’s important to educate yourself on prices before shopping at places like Nordstrom Rack or Saks [Fifth Avenue] Off Fifth in Arundel Mills. You can get formal wear and designer glasses at great prices if you know what to look for before you go. 

Diane Macklin, a.k.a. “Downtown Diane,”  is a Baltimore area food, travel and entertainment reporter. You can follow her on Twitter @DowntownDiane and visit her website.  

All photographs courtesy of Hilary Phelps
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