Meet Audrey Leary, better known as @homerunballerina on Instagram. With over 150,000 followers Audrey shares her outfits and glimpses of her busy life as a mom, restaurant owner, pastry chef, home decorator and lover of all things colour and style. We sent her a few questions and asked her to capture some photos of her life in her unique home in Canaan, Connecticut.
What’s your sun sign? Moon sign? Which one do you feel you connect with the most?
Ok, I had to look this up so that probably tells you how much I know about this haha. I know I’m a Gemini - born in early June - and I have a Sagittarius moon. I have never really related to a Gemini - at least as I have understood it, it seems like you have dual personalities?! But the bit I saw about Sagittarius, I resonated with more!
What’s your connection between Brooklyn and Connecticut?
I was living in Brooklyn, attending culinary school, when I met my now-husband by chance one night at a friend’s house. We moved in together a week later (!) and ended up moving to northwest Connecticut a couple of years later to open a bakery.
What inspired you to open a restaurant?
I’d finished culinary school, and worked at a couple other bakeries, helping set one up for other folks, and when we got married we made all the hors d’oeuvres and desserts, and started thinking about trying to open our own place.
How has your love for fashion design art influenced your food?
I went to culinary school for pastry arts, basically to learn to be a pastry chef rather than a savory chef, mostly because I love the control you have over the final appearance of baked goods. There’s so much design that goes into decorating a cake, baking a pie, plating a dessert. I think my aesthetic kind of spans everything I love, be it fashion, interior design, or food.
What’s one fashion rule you live by?
Oh man. I don’t think there are any! Wear what makes you happy!
Who’s your favourite fashion designer and why?
Oh, that’s hard too. Honestly, I’m not a big designer person, but I love any clothing that has some whimsy or sense of humour. Loewe, I will probably never be able to afford anything, but I admire it from afar. I love Gucci’s pattern mixing and vintage influence.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what are the three pieces of clothing you would want with you?
I think probably a comfy dress with pockets, some solid sandals and a big puffy down coat for sleeping. Practicality wins on a desert island.
Your IG style reels are relaxed and fun. You like to build your outfits, drinking your morning coffee, while your children run around. Tell us a little about this process.
Oh, thanks! It’s pretty much just what it looks like. Often I pick out what I’m going to wear the night before - it helps me fall asleep to plan it out. I’ll start by thinking of one piece I want to wear - something I haven’t worn in a long time, maybe, or something new to try, and then style around that. I film for 4-5 minutes while having my morning coffee and then edit for a few more. It’s fun!
Typically you pair your reels to music from the 90’s. What’s the first song that jumps into your brain right now?
Haha, ok this is embarrassing but you know that cartoon where a frog puts on a top hat and sings a song, but only when one person is watching? I’ve had that song stuck in my head all day. I taught it to my kids this afternoon.
It’s obvious you love colour based on your IG feed, where do you get your inspiration from? What’s your top favourite colour and why?
Oh, everywhere! We live in such an incredible time for garnering inspiration from all over the place. I love the color palettes of the 60s and 70s, and I save images constantly from instagram, mostly of interiors with inspiring color combinations. I think my favourite colour is green; it’s so beautiful and represents so much of the world’s beauty.
It looks like you do a lot of DIY projects at home, is there a project that you are currently working on right now? What’s your favourite room in your house right now?
There are ALWAYS a million projects. Right now the one I think I’m closest to finishing is one I started months ago, a giant paper mache pencil I made just for fun, to lean in our sitting room. My favourite room changes all the time, but I love our main room - I just put up some wallpaper behind the couch, and it’s so bright and pattern-filled and has two giant paintings of my sons on the wall. It makes me happy.
Do you decorate your home for the holidays? Is there a particular theme you stick with or does it change from year to year?
Very little! I decorate the restaurant, too, and I only have so much time or bandwidth for seasonal decorating. We’ll get a tree in a day or two and really go out on that, but that’s pretty much where it ends for me. Lots and lots of handmade orders, and I found a bag of cool vintage ornaments at the goodwill this past year that I’m excited to pull out.
Do you do Christmas trees? If so, tell us about that process.
Yes! We go to a farm and pick one each year. We let the boys pick and shove it in front of our bookshelf, right in the middle of the house. I love it.
Do you have a favourite family holiday tradition?
The holidays are usually a completely hectic time for us, honestly, because owning a bakery means crazy cookie/pie/yule log baking every minute you can find. This year should be a bit quieter, so I’m hoping we’ll be able to start some traditions - I’ve been wanting to take the boys into Manhattan to see the shop windows and just walk around and feel the energy of the city around the holidays, it’s something I loved so much when I lived there.
Can you share a couple of your go-to holiday recipes with us?
Sure! I’ve got a couple - I make Sarah Keiffer’s Cruffins for Christmas morning. It’s a new tradition - her cookbook just came out last year - but my kids have not stopped asking for them all year.
I also make a really simple shortbread cookie topped with jam - You use a muffin tin, push some of the dough in, and then just spoon whatever jam you have on top. I always make a few different jams and marmalades to get different flavours and colours, but it works great with leftover cranberry sauce or whatever you have in the fridge too!
Muffin papers (optional)
(Optional) zest of one orange
Sea Salt (like Maldon)
Cookie batter: Beat butter, sugars, salt & vanilla (and zest, if using) in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Scrape down bowl and add egg yolks, one at a time, barely mixing. Dump in the flour and slowly mix until it’s just combined. Set aside.
Streusel: Mix flour, brown sugar & salt together in mixing bowl. Add cold cubed butter and vanilla and mix just until clumps form. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350. Using either muffin papers or non-stick spray, line the muffin cups and spoon a heaping spoonful of cookie batter into the bottom - about 1/3 of the way full. Use your thumb or a spoon to create a well in the middle and spoon your jam inside, then top with streusel & a pinch of sea salt. Repeat until muffin cups are all filled, then bake for 12-15 minutes or so, until the streusel has browned and the cookie batter has set.
Be sure to follow Audrey on Instagram at @homerunballerina for fashion and baking inspiration with a heavy splash of colour to bring some happiness to your feed.
All photos provided by Audrey and edited by our team.