All posts by Modern Boca Mom

MOMpreneur Monday: Lily Ojea, Ballet Palm Beach

MOMpreneur: n. defined as a female business owner who is actively balancing the role of mom and the role of entrepreneur.

Happy Monday Modern Boca Moms! Welcome to our next installment of MOMpreneur Monday, highlighting Florida businesses and brands that were founded by female entrepreneurs and fellow Mommas.
We’re working to bring busi-moms across the state of Florida together to start a MOMpreneur Movement!

Meet South Florida MOMpreneur, Lily Ojea, principal dancer and instrumental builder of Ballet Palm Beach.

Ballet Palm Beach Header Art WM

If you ever had big dreams of being a ballerina (or a princess) growing up like I did, then I’m excited to introduce you to real life dancer, teacher, mom and developer of professional ballet company, Ballet Palm Beach.
She calls it the “little company that could” and loves what she does so much that she was back in the studio just 9 days after having her first baby. Read on for her complete story…

Welcome to MBMom, Lily! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your professional background…

I have been a ballet dancer for a little over ten years. I began my training when I was 3 years old and started my career at 18 in Birmingham, Alabama, with Alabama Ballet. After five years of moving up the ranks and doing a couple of dream roles, I moved to South Florida where I was born and raised to work for a brand new professional company which is now called Ballet Palm Beach.

The company happens to be affiliated with the ballet school I was trained in (and at which I also teach part-time), called The Esther Center. Both businesses also happen to be owned and operated by my mom, an ultimate MOMpreneur, Colleen Smith. 

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And then motherhood came calling…

When I married my husband, we had no specific plan for children, but God did!

I found out I was pregnant in May of 2012 and wondered what that would mean for my career?

We had just gotten our little “company that could” on its feet and I hated the idea of abandoning the dream. Before then, I had never dared to think that I would endure a pregnancy and all of its effects on my body and then go back to dancing. But it turned out to be a much smoother ride than I imagined!

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The ballet company was gracious enough to keep me on payroll and in rehearsals until the moment I went into labor (I danced as well as I could in the later weeks of pregnancy, though it did become quite difficult). When my son, Wesley, was born, the entire company came to my house to see him. Nine days later, I was back in the studio, baby in tow, and Wesley and I have been clocking in every day since then! He is almost two now and I can’t imagine life without the support and involvement of the dancers and staff at Ballet Palm Beach.

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How do you handle being a principal dancer and mom these days?

For my part, juggling mom-hood and ballet dancing in one building has had its challenges, but I love that Wesley is watching people do something creative, and simply that he can be by my side.

I never knew how quickly I could switch gears until I sprinted from a diaper change to a Juliet cue (in the ballet Romeo and Juliet), getting into character on the way! Those kinds of demands alone have driven me to greater things in my career.

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Omigosh, that is crazy! Bravo! How did Ballet Palm Beach originally start?

Ballet Palm Beach’s director, Colleen Smith, began the company out of a desire to create quality ballet productions in our area and abroad, and to foster a healthy work environment for dancers and collaborators.

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Just as we opened our doors, a local ballet company which had existed for over twenty years folded. This meant good things and bad things for us. If that company, which was highly reputable and had served the area for so long, couldn’t stay funded, why would we be able to?

We weren’t sure, so we had to hope. But their tragic closing did mean that we had no competition. Perhaps there would be ballet fans out there who would come to the theater and give us a chance, since their go-to brand was no longer performing?

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What makes your company different from others?

The leadership of Ballet Palm Beach gives us an edge. Inside our four walls, our director and our coaches are careful, precise, informed, and talented. They are humble and therefore have open eyes. These qualities, I thank God, rub off. And from within the company you get your performance quality. I thank the leadership for the environment, which breeds unity and success.

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Why should MBMoms and their kiddos check out a Ballet Palm Beach performance? 

We love dance and want to share that with you! We are highly trained, and well rehearsed, and that’s cake. But mostly what you are going to get from a performance is the icing. The love, the artistry, the nuance, the story. That’s the life and breath that you experience at the theater. Come to the theater because you might feel more alive. You might find yourself dancing in your kitchen…

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What’s coming up at Ballet Palm Beach? 

This February we will be performing one piece on our mixed bill with the Fog City Guitar Duo from San Francisco, CA. We are also scheduled to return to Europe this summer for our seventh trip over seas. Budapest or bust! I am excited about that as well.

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And I always ask- why do you LOVE living and working in South Florida?

It is warm, and people are friendly (but not fake), and all of my family is here. I love Floridians because they don’t have a seasonal dress code but tend to be stylish. I love raising my little boy here because he can go outside anytime of year. This is my home!

 Ballet Palm Beach Logo Modern Boca Mom

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The season heats up with a burst of new and original works with Simple Symphony & Other Works.

Ballet Palm Beach performs this mixed repertoire program with music by Benjamin Britten on February 27 -28, 2015.

See more at:

Enter to win 2 tickets below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

South Florida Science Center Now Features “Hall of Discovery”

Modern Boca Mom Featured

On February 2nd, the South Florida Science Center & Aquarium debuted the first phase of its “West Wing” improvements.  The “Hall of Discovery” contains new exhibits, along with old favorites, which have received a modern twist.  All exhibits are highly interactive and focus on hands-on, minds-on science. The opening offers 5,000 additional square feet of exhibition space, with more exciting improvements to come later this season!

A highlight of the opening included the Science Center’s first bilingual exhibit, which explores nano-scale science such as atoms and molecules. The first and only nano exhibit in the state of Florida, the exhibition presents the basics of nano-science and engineering, introducing real world applications while exploring societal and ethical implications.

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According to Lew Crampton, Science Center CEO, “Our community and our tourists deserve a world-class science center and we are happy to rise to the occasion.  In addition to this first phase, we have plans for an early childhood education room, improvements to our planetarium and observatory – the only public observatory in Palm Beach County – and a brand new 18-hole miniature golf course, all on track to open this year.”

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As an incentive for old and new friends to see the expansion, the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium is lowering its entrance fees to celebrate the “Hall of Discovery” opening.

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Admission to the Science Center is $16.95 for adults, $12.95 for children ages 3 to 12, and $14.95 for seniors over the age of 60. Science Center members are FREE.

The South Florida Science Center and Aquarium, recently named the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches’ nonprofit of the year, features more than 50 hands-on educational exhibits, an 8,000 gallon fresh and salt water aquarium- featuring both local and exotic marine life, a digital planetarium, conservation research station, Florida exhibit hall and an interactive Everglades exhibit. 

For more information, please call (561) 832-1988 or visit

Which Boca Mom Stereotype are You?

As a New York City turned South Florida Mommy, I realized after a short time that there are MANY a different Boca Mom Stereotype out there.

You’re as shocked as I was, I’m sure.

There are truly amazing moms in our fair city. I mean, I personally work with so many fantastic Modern Boca Moms. Tons of voices. Cool chicks. In fact, several even collaborated with me on this post!

Buuuuuuttttt…you always meet a few interesting and funny stereotypes along the way. 😉 This is Boca Raton after all.

Have a laugh on me today MBMoms…

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  1. The FREE Mom: This is the Boca mom stereotype who refuses, on principle, to take her children to any activity that’s not complimentary. I get it- money doesn’t grow on trees! And Boca has amazing parks and libraries funded by our tax dollars (we are spoiled). But…maybe spending $5-$10 on an art or music class every once in awhile is a good investment in your child’s educational development (and that teacher who’s taking off time on the weekends to entertain or teach your kid)?Boca Mom stereotype -

  2. The Starbucks Mom: It’s either coffee or wine time (all of the time) for this Boca Mom stereotype! Starbucks by day. Mizner Park Happy Hours by night (or late afternoon). She’s lives for anything iced with a green straw.Boca Mom stereotype -

  3. The Seasonal Mom: Year-round Boca Moms primarily meet the Seasonal Mom stereotype between the months of January and April. These are the moms visiting their parents (aka the #modernbocagrandparents) in East Boca. They join multiple classes and playgroups, never to be seen again after the temperature rises above 82.Boca Mom stereotype -

  4. The Commuter Mom: This is the mom who doesn’t live in Boca…but comes to town to take advantage of the best children’s programming our town has to offer! She drives an SUV (hybrid) or minivan and is easily angered by the “FREE Mom” because Boca classes and amenities are “the best in South Florida.”Boca Mom stereotype -

  5.  The Lululemon Mom: Workout clothes are this Boca Mom stereotype wardrobe staple…in fact, they seem to be all that’s in her wardrobe. Lululemon is the label of choice, of course. Starbucks Mom wonders why she never gets sweaty. Does Lululemon Mom go to the gym or not? (Spoiler: Not.)Boca Mom stereotype -

  6. The FOMO Mom: aka the “Fear of Missing Out” Mom is the one who pops up at every Mommy & Me and Little Gym class, birthday party and playgroup. She is EVERYWHERE, ALL THE TIME. She’s a stay-at-home mom who doesn’t stay at home. Commuter Mom has no idea how she can drive all over the city (and county) of Boca Raton and still make it home in time to whip up organic snacks for the next days’s activities plus a family dinner served promptly at 6PM.

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  7. The Town Center Mom: “Because the mall is kinda like a park, right?”  Plus, the kids won’t get a sunburn or heat exhaustion according to this Boca Mom stereotype. The Town Center Mom shops every sale (it’s a math lesson, really) stashing her finds in her designer stroller. Her BFF’s tend to be the Starbucks and Seasonal Moms.Boca Mom stereotype -

  8.  The Green Mom: Cloth diapers, breastfeeding (til their Boca kid is 3) and essential oils are at the top of the proper parenting list for this Boca mom stereotype. Television (for the kids) and non-organic food (for the family) is forbidden. She spends her weekends at Bedner’s and The Girls and enjoys countless conversations over (organic) coffee about attachment parenting with FOMO Mom.

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Which Boca Mom stereotype have you encountered lately? Or is there a funny one that MBMom missed? Comment below!

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