The Moms

Corey McCarthy

MarketingPhotography & Story by Lauri Levenfeld

I met Corey McCarthy years ago on the streets of San Francisco walking our beloved pups. I was always struck by the positivity, her inner confidence and strength, and her excitement and energy. Her knowledge of travel, food, and fashion kept and always keep me well informed from city to city, and her individual sense, passion for work, and commitment and love for her family keep me inspired and respecting. Corey is real about the juggles in life and she is open about how she pursues them in a elegant, but real manner. January celebrates the entrepreneur at TMP and Corey is a shining example.

I’m Corey…I am a loving mother who can’t get enough of her sweet little girl.  I am laid back, fun loving and loyal friend that is always ready to lend a helping hand or be a partner in crime.  I am an entrepreneur who is continually evolving.  My deepest secrets: I love hip hop and am a sucker for a good pun…ok any pun.

My career kicked-off in the world of magazine publishing and evolved into digital publishing.  My friends always thought I had a glamorous career because I was on the road non-stop visiting big clients in “fabulous” cities, and eating at all the top restaurants.  There was a time when I could give better recommendations on places to eat in New York than where I lived in San Francisco.  The truth was that there aren’t enough glasses of wine to make that much travel glamorous.  When I was back in San Francisco all I wanted to do was sit on the couch and order in.  But hey, I was living the dream.  

I woke up one morning and saw how vain my life had become. It was time to take action.  I went back to school while working, and graduated with my MBA…and then I got pregnant.

Fresh with an MBA and a new sense of family, I knew that the hectic travel that came along with the big job needed to come to an end. I was on a mission to reinvent my career so I could give as much to my kid as I possible as a working mom.

Testarossa Marketing was born.  Italian for “Red Head”, it was my calling card (might as well put my red mane to good use).  I had just created a position for myself that would allow me to work from home and call the shots on travel and family time.  I skidded into labor working with my first client and then enjoyed three months of bonding with my beautiful baby girl.

Come late January, it was time to get back to work.  My first day was a huge investment conference where I would be seeing people for the first time in my new role.  I felt like a stuffed sausage in my work dress. The spanks were cutting off the blood flow to my head, and my bag was heavy from the breast milk I pumped in the women’s room a few minutes before.

Walking in that event was one of the most frightening things I’ve done.  No safety blanket of a big company had me in knots.  All went well and I walked away with two new clients. Testarossa Marketing was officially in business!

The focus of Testarossa Marketing is a scalable marketing firm that fits into companies to compliment their current marketing departments, or be their marketing maven.

I help my clients formulate strategic vision, positioning and messaging.  My team creates graphics, web sites and custom content.  We manage PR, social media and advertising.  I am truly doing what I love.  My future goal is to grow my business in a way that offers moms the same opportunities I have,  to gain control over their career, finances and family time.  

My parents gave me this perspective on balance. They were the right amount of fun, full of support,  and the right amount of authority.  I remember bragging to my dad that I made it through high school without detention.  He smiled at me and said that if I skated through without getting in any trouble, I didn’t have enough fun.  I smiled back and told him that I just never got caught.  We laughed and never brought up the Jack Daniels Country Time Coolers he found in my trunk or the time I lost my drivers license because of too many speeding tickets.

When I was really little, we didn’t have much but it never felt like it.  I was taught to use my imagination.  The street curb was my balance beam, the basement was my dance studio, the woods next to the house was an endless village filled with adventure.

My parents were always able to show us life outside of our little town in northern WI.  We didn’t go to Disney World, we went to NYC, Boston, Chicago and Washington D.C.  My dad was a transportation guy so we were always taking the subway or “El” trains and learned very early on to pay attention to our surroundings.  The street smarts passed down on those trips have served me well.  

“ I learned how to work hard by the example my parents set.” 

I remember their college graduations, three really, my mom went on to get her masters. And my dad’s streetcar project is a perfect example of his brilliant mind and hard work ethic. I think of him every time I see a trolley rumbling down the Embarcadero, and my pride overflows.


My Five Inspirations

1. Stimulating conversations with good friends always get my mind working.  Other perspectives help me continue my quest to be a better person.

2. When I can, getting out for a run or long walk clears my head and keeps me grounded.

3. Traveling gives me a sense of freedom in a way that helps me completely unwind and remember what life is really all about.  This level of relaxation and distance from the daily grind is when my best long term planning happens.

4. As a Cancer, I nest. My design inspiration comes from sites like Houzz, and hotel design events.  Being able to see so many unique products in one setting is amazing and I come away with more ideas than I have space for in my house.

5. My daughter inspires me incredibly.  She pushes me to continue evolving as a person and a mom so that I can keep her cup full.


I’ve learned from the best.  My parents were hard working and fun loving people that poured all they had into our family.  Now, I am a hard working, fun loving mother who is trying to set a good example for my daughter just as my parents did for me.

Ellery Katherine McCarthy Shaw, One year old!!  Way too long but I love the name and wanted to have a tie back to the McCarthy side.


Child: Ellery Katherine McCarthy Shaw-age 1

Ellery’s favorite book is Where’s Ellie?.  These days she is trying to stuff it into her purse along with her “cell phone”, keys and “credit card”. Her favorite comfort is a hot pink and zebra Swankie Blankie that is never too far. And her room is a modern blend of Ralph Lauren and Pottery Barn.

As for fashion, this girl is set.  Dee Dee has been spoiling Ellery with fancy shoes and perpetuating a long-standing family love affair of pretty shoes that dates back to my great grandmother.  She is up to 12 pairs of Stuart Weitzman’s, a pair of Uggs,  and baby Chuck Taylors. My fashionable friends keep her spoiled with Janie and Jack dresses, Tahari fur vests, and sweet dresses from Tea Collection.  Faux fur vests and tutus have become everyday attire in our house.

“ I’ve arranged my career to be there for Ellery as a parent and a role model.”

I am in tune with what she really needs by putting down the iPhone (when I am not taking photos) and really paying attention to her.  I could watch her endlessly!  This seems basic but with all that life throws at you these days, it is essential to not let yourself get distracted with all of the outside noise and focus on what is truly important.

What I have learned from Ellery, perspective.  I have a new understanding of what is really important in life.  I have been focusing on what is real and cutting out the things that don’t serve my family and me well.

I’ve re-learned the joy in little things, like the excitement of a hot shower, no matter what.  Ellery loves them so much that she snuck in one day fearlessly in her teal skinny jeans and pink socks, loving every minute of it.  My first instinct was no!  You’re in your clothes!  Once I took a step back and realized nothing was really wrong with what she was doing, I laughed harder than I have in years.  She knows no rules, only what feels good.  I have a lot to learn from these moments as I continue to unwind from my fast-paced and pre-kid life.  She makes me a better person.

Shoes have always been a weakness.  I remember sleeping in a new pair out of sheer excitement as a kid and then 6 months later skidding them on the pavement on my bike at full speed trying to wear them out so I could get another pair.  I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to my mother.  She always said I should have been born a Kennedy because of my innate ability to go into any store and pick out the most expensive thing there.For most of my professional life, I’ve worked from home. My wardrobe consisted of Paige jeans, Marc Jacobs  flats, and J Crew cashmere sweaters.

AGL flats are my latest obsession.   As a new mom, I’ve regressed to yoga pants and a tank top from Old Navy. Not all of my trendy daytime faire fits yet post baby but this isn’t all bad considering the amount of food and drool that is wiped across my knees and shoulders.  I’ve promised myself that I will find my way back to casual chic and in the meanwhile have upgraded my yoga pants to Lululemon to save a little street cred.

Because I work from home, I have a tendency to overcompensate when I go out.  When I am going out with friends, it is a fun All Saints cocktail dress or great Hudson jeans, killer Jimmy Choos and a fun Tory Birch top.

My beauty regime is simple.  I try to eat well, I am religious about sleep,  and I spend money on products that count.  I use Cedaphil as a face cleanser to save money for Dr. Sebagh Eye Primer Lift, Clarins SPF 40 during the day and La Mer Moisturizing Cream at night.  Less is more, you could spend all night getting gooped up before bed.  I would rather sleep.

For make up, I swear by my Dior BB SPF 50 Crème, DiorSkin Concealer, Dior Show mascara, and hand tinted lip-gloss from Fresh.  Although I might be in yoga pants and a hoodie, I will never leave the house without the basics.

This all said; I am not high maintenance.  I can turn around a full going out look in 10 minutes flat.  My husband has witnessed friends of mine who have daily beauty routines worthy of prom night and he appreciates my quick and easy style more after having seen the other side.


And we both appreciate your amazing ability to live life in the moment and to the fullest Corey. You are an inspiration in putting your energies where they matter with family and work. While enjoying some frill and fun, you keep the perspective on what grounds you most. And that is worth more than a closet full of Jimmy Choos anyday!

A Day in the Life

We try to be a productive mix of scheduling and go with the flow so there’s flexibility for Ellery and I. Our days start when I bring Ellery back into bed with me to see if I can talk her into going back asleep. This works about half the time and I am able to catch another half-hour of blissful sleep cuddled up with my baby girl. The other half of the time, she runs around my bedroom trying to cuddle with the dog.


We head to the kitchen and kick it with some Adele Radio on Pandora and breakfast. I’ve started juicing in the morning and she joins right in! Our blend of Kale, cucumber, celery, ginger and pineapple puts us in a good mood. I am still cracking up that my kid will actually drink this concoction…I will run with it while I can!


Miss Taylor comes to help me get some work done. We switch the play list up to Salt N Peppa radio and get the day rolling. I “head to work” and Ellery and Taylor head to the living room to play.


Brings snack time, usually consisting of freshly made hummus or pumpkin muffins. After snack time, “Miss Thang” goes down for a nap and Taylor and I kick it into high gear at Testarossa. One of the best parts of working at home is being the one to get Ellery when she wakes up from a nap. I love the bright-eyed smiles from my well-rested little girl. Once I have Ellery dressed for the day, (in something fabulous, of course), I get back to making client phone calls and get projects done while Taylor plays with Ellery. More often than not, their playtime includes teaching her how to make cupcakes.


I take the opportunity to get out of the house for lunch to meet up with friends and maintain some resemblance of a social life.

During the afternoons, we’ve been known to have Tutu days where even Ellery’s beloved pooch Miss Maggie participates. Another perk of working at home is having Ellery walk over and sit in my lap for awhile as I work. This has become our afternoon ritual. Once she is done, she hops off my lap and totters off to find Miss Maggie.


After a snack, Ellery is ready for another nap. I use this time to speak with my clients on the phone. I try my best to keep my work life very professional, although all of my clients expect to hear Ellery in the background and always ask about her.


When she wakes up from her afternoon nap, Ellery heads to the park where she swings and plays in the sand. This is when I try to fit in a few errands or a workout. I hate missing a minute of her while we are all home.


We wave good-bye to Taylor and start on dinner while we wait for Mike to get home.


After dinner we start to wind the day down by reading.


A bath rounds out the day.


Bedtime for Ellery, then Mike and I have time to catch up and relax after we put our little angel to bed.


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5 thoughts on “Corey McCarthy

  1. What a fabulous photo shoot. Mother and Daughter are both extraordinary. Love to see motherhood represented so professionally.

  2. I’ve had the unique opportunity to be one of Corey’s clients in her career prior to Testarossa Marketing. I simply must say, she is an amazing person and I’m so proud to have known her. I’ve purchased services from countless vendors and when I worked with Corey I also did and still do feel like I’m talking with a friend who is genuinely trying to help me grow professionally as well. She has always truly had my best interests at heart. She’s convinced me to make decisions I otherwise never would have and have since learned to treasure. Were it not for Corey my company would not be where it is today. I’ve learned much more from Corey than she could have ever imagined.

    Wouldn’t couldn’t help but have profound respect for her and the courage it takes to go out and start up a new business. It’s not an easy road to do on your own, much less with a newborn. I’m so happy she shared this story as I could read every word and hear it from her kind and gentle voice as it was intended. If you haven’t met Corey or had the opportunity to work with her, I would highly encourage it. She truly is One-Of-A-Kind!

    I wish her the best of luck in her endeavors!

    P.S. Learning of her shoe fetish is a new revealation … but I always did notice how fabulously they complimented her look every time I saw her. Keep up the great work!!

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