Aspirational Chat with Mary Bubala
I’m excited to share our new Aspirational Chats series. These are conversations with local women who are making an impact in their communities. During our chats, in their homes, they share their aspirations, their interests, favorite rooms in their homes and fun facts with us. It's a look at how they live and what matters to them.
Our first chat is with Emmy award-winning journalist Mary Bubala, an evening news anchor with WJZ-TV and a self-proclaimed homebody. From our first call she was warm and friendly and graciously opened her lovely home to me and my many questions. Her home, like her, is warm and welcoming. It's the type of home that makes you want to put your feet up (which she encourages!), pour a glass of wine and have a great chat. Mary and her dog, Copper, met me at her door and after some initial greetings, we began walking around her home and chatting.
Here are the highlights of our chat. I hope you enjoy her as much as I did!
AFP: How long have you been in your home?
MB: We’ve been here 20 years.
AFP: What’s your favorite room in your house?
MB: My family room, that just's where I am all the time.
AFP: It’s beautiful! So tell me how you guys live in your family room? What's a typical evening?
MB: We are homebodies. We love to watch Nextflix. We are running Monday through Friday and I don't see my husband, Doug, that much with my new schedule. He goes to work at 5 a.m., he's an oncologist and does Leukemia research in Johns Hopkins. I get up with my son at about 7 a.m. and then he goes off to school. And so on weekends we are here in the family room.
AFP: Do you have any treasurers that means something to you in your family room?
MB: There are certain things that I'm tied to—artwork. What I love, because I always sit here at my desk, is this piece painted by my best friend. And I do love seascapes too, so I was at an art show and loved this I thought “oh someday I’ll be on the beach somewhere.” And it was a local artist and I love the colors.
MB: And I like my dining room. When I'm entertaining I like to to get out my china. Everybody comes casually-dressed but sometimes it's fun to have a fancy table. And through my mom and my relatives I do have china and I have silver from our wedding. And I love my family crystal.
AFP: Do you like to cook? I know you have a nicely renovated kitchen.
MB: Yes. I actually do. I cook my specialty—breakfast. I make special breakfast bowls or crepes. I love making crepes, I've perfected how to make them. And then all the fixings. I'll make apples with cinnamon, sugar and butter and then bananas with rum and vanilla. I love breakfast because I'm never rushed.
AFP: What are you proudest of in your home?
MB: I would say how I pulled the dining room together. I really like it with the roman shade and the chocolate brown color. It has something that's really sentimental to me. And I like the aesthetics and I did it myself. But it’s a work in progress.
I have this little quote that I say to myself when I want to blow everything up and change everything... “I'd rather have little and see the world than have the world and see little.” So I say that all the time because we travel a lot. But it is important to have a nice home that you feel comfortable in and so I value that too.
AFP: Let’s talk about life and lifestyle. When I think of design, the heart of what I love to do is understand how people live, their aspirations for their life and create spaces that support that. It’s not about the actual pieces. It’s about lifestyle.
I’ve started thinking of my business as bit larger than the design work. I want to talk to others about their aspirations, how they live, how they give back.
How would you describe your aspirational life and what it looks like and what it feels like? In all of its components, not just in your home, but what are you striving for your life to feel like?
MB: The essence of where I am now, close to 50 and having achieved a great professional accomplishment, is taking the time to sit back and enjoy things. In 2016 I won an Emmy which was something I always wanted. When I won the woman in the back said “you're the most excited winner we've ever had.” People don't get excited about this?
I'm really interested in connections. To me the connections with my family and with my friends and really focusing on those which I didn't always get to do. But I finally have time time to really reconnect. I guess maybe it's a reconnection with people in a different way.
AFP: What charities or organizations do you support?
MB: I was on the board of the American Diabetes Association for a long time and loved that. And now I'm getting asked to emcee things which I love because you get to connect. It's like the best part of our job, is when you get to present that charity to a group of people.
AFP: When you have free time, how do you like to spend it?
MB: Well currently, because I flipped my schedule, I went back to something I haven't done since I was a child—tennis. I am a very competitive person. And I played growing up and in high school and then really didn't have time to play at all.
And I love to exercise. I like yoga and I love to run with my husband. He's done a couple of marathons. I've done one. We will get up on weekends and run together, not very far but it's something we love to do together.
I also pack my weekends with volunteering—from events with Penn Mar, No Kid Hungry, Catch a Lift, There Goes My Hero, Second Chance, Johns Hopkins' Ride to Conquer Cancer, Johns Hopkins Women's Board fundraiser, Kennedy Krieger Institute, the American Diabetes Association & Baltimore Orioles Food Drive.
AFP: What is the biggest realization you have about your journey so far. About life or work?
MB: I really value everyday because of the reality that I have with my family and losing my mom. She got sick with brain cancer at 58 and I thought “that's not that young” but now I think that's so young. When we get caught up on “my house isn't perfect” or “my job's not perfect” I'm think “blah, blah, blah.” I also think those things sometimes, but I try to refocus ... let's go have fun. That comes from that knowledge of what it's like to see somebody leave the earth way too soon.
AFP: Okay so now onto the fun stuff.
Coffee or tea? Coffee.
Cake or pie? Cake. Chocolate, chocolate.
Netflix or movie theater? Netflix. What are you binging on now? Homeland.
Summer or winter? Summer. Really fall.
Online shopping or shopping in a store? Online. 100%.
AFP: You mentioned you use Rent the Runway.
MB: Yes. I'm going to wear something tonight from RTR. It is so easy and great. It's totally changed my life. For example, right now, if we were here and I didn't have anything to wear to work this afternoon, I’d have to think about what I am going to wear tonight. Now it’s taken care of!
AFP: Cats or dogs? Clearly I know you like dogs!
MB: Yes. Our dog, Copper, is my first dog. I grew up with cats. It's a quick little good story. I used to anchor the noon news with Don Scott and on Fridays the Maryland SPCA would bring in a puppy of the week. Every Friday I would say “I want this dog” and Don would say “whatever” as I went home dog-less. My sons, Nate and Matt, were around 8 and 10 years old and I was working full-time & we had no time. One Friday Copper came onto the set (his name was Gingerbread) and I said on the air “I think this is my dog. I think I'm taking this one home.” Don rolled his eyes and I said, “no I'm serious.” We surprised the kids and Santa brought him. What I didn't realize is how amazing dogs were. I had no idea. My husband grew up with dogs. I now realize this is why people are nuts about dogs—they are all love and heart.
I hope that you enjoyed learning more about Mary as much as I did. She and Copper were great hosts. We ended our chat with a selfie, which had us laughing all the way. I left her home dreaming of sparkly dinners in her chocolate brown dining room! Please let me know what you think in the comments. What was your favorite thing you learned about Mary and her life?