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For Ritz Clinging, traveling with her racecar-driving husband and attending parties for the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow isn’t out of the ordinary, in fact, for this Abbotsford resident, it’s all in a days work. But for all the jet setting and celebrity clients, Ritz is really a country girl at heart. Ritz, who immigrated with her family more than 30 years ago, grew up on a farm in the Fraser Valley, while her husband JP, born in Ireland, also grew up in the Valley. The two met at a Halloween party twelve years ago and today, both are enjoying equally dynamic and exciting careers.


JP, a former racecar driver, travels across North America and sometimes internationally to teach the sport for brands like Porsche, BMW and Spyker. Ritz, an entrepreneur herself, owns and operates a four-year old beauty business, a line of premium feminine hygiene products. A veritable success from the beginning, the line made its first debut on the shelves of the New York-based luxury retailer Henri Bendel (no less). Produced locally, the all natural line is popular with waxing boutiques and the likes of Tracy Anderson, you know, the A-List celebrity trainer whose clients include Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow.


Between traveling and running a thriving business, for both Ritz and JP, the choice to raise their 20-month year old son Cooper in Abbotsford was a natural decision for the two. “We contemplated moving, but family is our priority and Abbotsford is where our family lives.” Being close to them is important,” Ritz shares. Adding, “For my business, it allows me to have that work/life balance. It works really well for us.”


Living just minutes away from Highstreet, Ritz and Cooper can often be spotted here taking their mid-day breaks. “I love it here, I feel Abbotsford absolutely needed something like this.” Ritz smiles saying, “I like to go to Pinkberry, we do a Pinkberry treat night with the family! We also take Cooper to the playground and I love David’s Tea. I’m a big tea drinker, I love a chai blend.”


Another stop on Ritz and Cooper’s visits, the new two-leveled H&M that recently opened in late October. With close to 3,000 stores in 43 countries, there is something for everyone, including Mommy and baby. Although when quizzed about her own style, Ritz is quick to point out that being a mom hasn’t really impacted her style. Case in point: Ritz arrived wearing her own Marni heels (“I love shoes, they make an outfit!”), and an oversized black poncho. Thumbing through the racks at H&M, with baby in tow, Ritz did confess that the one department she now gravitates towards is accessories: “I love great statement necklaces,” Ritz tells us, sporting one herself. “You can wear them with jeans and a t-shirt and suddenly your outfit feels that much more special.”


As for Cooper’s personal style, we had heard of his love of hats prior to the photo shoot, so it was no surprise when he showed up wearing his favourite fedora. “He also really likes jeans with suspenders and he has a big shoe collection,” adds Ritz, “he has about 20 pairs.” We had to know, how many did Mommy have her in closet? Ritz laughs, “let’s just say more than that.”


Asked about the best part of motherhood, Ritz replies, “The best thing is just seeing him and seeing him smile. The best thing is hearing him laugh, when he does, babies have that belly laugh. There’s nothing greater.”


Photos by Tanya Goehring


ROCK ON: Rolling Stones sweatshirt ($17.95) spotted on Cooper


DECKED OUT: Cooper & Ritz are both decked out in H&M. Ritz's star patterned sweater ($29.95) and quilted sleeve jacket ($69.95) can be found in the ladies department.


THROWBACK: Ritz's H&M varsity jacket ($59.95) is sporty chic.


STOMP: H&M hiking-inspired boots with red lace detail ($24.95) from the boy's department.