Keep Showing Up

My last blog post was March 8th – more than 6 weeks ago. Ironically, it was about a fabulous talk I heard about beating burnout.  If you know me, you know that to write, I need to be in the right mind set. I need space in my head, in my heart. And well, March and April have provided a dearth of said space.

I love what I do, all of it, and I am grateful for every single day I get to do what I do. And still, sometimes, I get overwhelmed.

Perhaps it’s because the weather feels like it’s stuck in February.

Perhaps it’s because I have worked most recent weekends.

Perhaps it’s because someone close to me experienced a life or death situation (she thankfully lived).

After all, the why does not really matter. So I spent some time this weekend reminding myself to take my own advice. When my girlfriends call me and share that they are overwhelmed, these are my recommendations – which I am now acting on!

  • Focus on choice. I am choosing everything I am doing. No one is forcing me to travel as much, to work as much, to do what I do. I make these choices every day. And, well, while I don’t have the power to choose the weather or prevent accidents that happen, I choose how I react to things out of my control.
  • Look extra hot. One of my mottos is to always be overdressed, and there is no time that is more important than when things feel off. For me, that means kick ass heels and an extra bright red lip. It’s hard to have a horrible day when everyone keeps complimenting my shoes.
  • Make room for alone time. Which in crazy times means canceling two commitments per week.
  • Be kind. First to myself, which means exercising more, drinking less, eating healthier, sleeping more. And to others, because more likely than not, they are feeling the same way I do. A smile goes such a long way.
  • Be inspired by others. This morning’s encouragement from the Universe came in the form of an email from my friend Marc Ross on Boston marathon winner Desiree Linden. His concluding words were:

“Linden’s ability to persevere and succeed in exceptionally miserable physical circumstances is remarkable.

Linden’s ability to persevere and succeed in exceptionally challenging mental circumstances is remarkable.

To succeed in 2018, Linden had to find a deeper gear to compete.

Her pinned Tweet displays where she finds this deeper gear:

“Some days it just flows and I feel like I’m born to do this, other days it feels like I’m trudging through hell. Every day I make the choice to show up and see what I’ve got, and to try and be better.”

My advice: keep showing up.

#MondayMotivaton #TogetherForward”

I don’t think any advice can be more profound.

Make a choice to show up and keep showing up.

You might just achieve your goal.

So keep showing up. Today and every day.

Entering my 40th year… with serenity and gratitude

Today is my favorite day of the year. Today, I turn 39. Today is filled with love, family and friends, champagne, home-made cake, purple roses, calls, texts, Facebook messages, and unexpected gifts.

This morning, as I sipped coffee from my favorite spot at home, I sent thanks to the Universe as I would not want to go back to a different age if I could. I wouldn’t go back to high school (a perm and braces… I don’t think so), college (when I thought I knew things I didn’t), my late 20s (when I thought I was all grown up and wasn’t), or even my early 30s. I am grateful to be 39. I am exactly where I want to be. I feel stronger than I ever have, more serene than ever before, forever youthful, and excited about the future. And I still get carded sometimes.

This morning, I realized that what makes my birthday so special is indeed what makes my life so special – a husband that loves me for who I am, 3 sisters whom I cherish (Cyrille sent me this image and message), family I am so close to despite geographical distance, a run by the Potomac, trees with leaves of gold, lunch with a best friend, a glass of pink Moet, dinner with my god-children, a wonderful team and business partners that support my vision and dreams.

Today, I am entering my 40th year. With serenity, gratitude, and anticipation of all that lies ahead. And with a little bit of extra Tightening eye contour gel.

Catahoula Hotel, New Orleans

If you have 36 hours in New Orleans… Part Deux

I am fortunate to spend about third of my time in New Orleans, LA, also known as The Big Easy. Three years ago, I shared my favorite places to eat, sightsee, and shop, if you had 36 hours in New Orleans.

Two weekends ago, I experienced my first staycation – in said New Orleans. Which gave me a completely new perspective on this amazing city that is New Orleans, specifically on the emerging neighborhood known as the CBD / South Market District. So here are my recommendations if you have 36 hours in New Orleans – part deux.

Where to stay
At the Catahoula hotel. Granted, I was biased before checking in because my amazing sister-in-law Amy works there. She is the Director of Sales and Guest Experience, and in charge of the hotel’s social media – and does such a great job that the Catahoula was just named as one of the world’s top 9 “most instgrammable hotels” by Vogue.

Where to drink
At the Catahoula hotel – Sally (pictured above) makes amazing cocktails, as delicious as her smile! And the roof-top terrace transports you to another world, filled with Tiki culture and cocktails, and live music.

At The Lobby Bar at the Ace Hotel. The scene is completely different from that of the Catahoula. This feels like the beautiful people of NYC, a scene filled with fancy people wearing stiletto heels and logo-d belts.

Where to eat
At Willa Jean, the latest John Besh creation. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this place might be best known for its “F’rose” (frozen rose), but it really should be on your radar for the breakfast cocktails (only in New Orleans do coffee-inspired vodka cocktails sound perfect for breakfast). Or the biscuits (they are square instead of round, and taste like amazingness). Or the Intelligentsia coffee. Or the service (which was impeccable at 7:30 am on a Saturday).

At Company Burger. BYOLT. Bring your own lettuce and tomato. As in these burgers don’t have any. They taste like the best McDonald’s burger, but even better. The double patty might be the secret. Or maybe the secret is the “secret sauce.”

At SeaWorthy. An oyster bar that now rivals Black Salt (in DC) as my favorite oyster bar. Complete with oyster (that comes with cornbread blinis) and champagne. In the most amazing décor, an old townhouse that has been renovate just enough, but not too much.

At Domenica. Yes, another John Besh concept. Named after Sunday (la domenica in Italian), the best day of the week. The pizza is to die for (try the Prosciutto), as is the roasted cauliflower (trust me).

Where to shop
At Hattie Sparks. I couldn’t help but walk in this boutique when I peaked through the window and saw a purple dress. I have been needing a purple dress (more to come on this later this week). As the card says, this store is filled with “cool stuff for you and your home.” The brainchild of Hattie Collins Moll and Kelly Lore Merry, this boutique’s style and its wares are both minimalist and whimsical. Perfect to shop for hostess gifts, girlfriend gifts, and “just for me” gifts. And to find that purple dress you have been wanting.

At Transportation Revolution. But just to window shop. Because the Triumph bikes look really, really good.

What else to do?
Go to a Saints game at the Superdome. Even when they lose, the energy is amazing and the crowd is fun.

Get to know Victoria Levitan, Beauty Blogger and Owner of Viciloves

Meeting a DC-based beauty entrepreneur is always a pleasant surprise – we are a small

community. Meeting one who was born in Switzerland is even rarer, and even funner! So when

a common friend suggested I meet Victoria Levitan, owner of the beauty blog Viciloves, I could

not wait. We hit it off immediately over two Nespresso espressos (no American-sized coffees

for us!), sharing skin care tips, DC gossip, and laughs.

 

AP: What city were you born in? VL: Zurich, Switzerland.

 

AP: What city to do you live in? VL: I live in Alexandria, VA and love it because it has a European

flair and is very historical.

 

AP: What is your astrological sign? VL: Cancer.

 

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? VL: I started my career in banking

and worked in the industry for three years.

 

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? VL: Keeping my skin hydrated at all times.

 

AP: What are your special diet tips, if any? VL: Eat in moderation, no fast food/soda and drink

plenty of water. I also make sure to balance out my diet throughout the week if I know I have a

special event coming up where I may eat more than usual.

 

AP: What do you do for exercise? VL: I do Pilates 3 times a week and alternate between

running, cycling and Zumba for my cardio exercise.

 

AP: What is your favorite thing to eat and drink? VL: I love to eat and try out new cuisines so

this is very hard to answer! My favorite protein is duck so any time I see something with duck

on the menu, I will order it. I love Elderflower so a St. Germaine Cocktail is right up my alley.

 

AP: Botox or not? VL: Not for me but I don’t mind other people getting it done.

 

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? VL: I’m still figuring it out but as long as your work

is something that you enjoy, it’s a lot easier to achieve that balance. Your work should blend in

with your personal life in a healthy way and not have a negative effect on it.

 

AP: How many miles do you fly per year on average? VL: Flying home to Europe at least once a

year plus any work trips and vacations round up to be at least 13’000 miles per year. This year

I’m going to Australia so it’s going to be a lot more than that.

 

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? VL: 1. When you pack, roll the clothes in your

suitcase because you’ll have so much more space. 2. Tell the hotel you’re staying at if it’s a

special trip, such as an anniversary or birthday trip and chances are you’ll get a complimentary

upgrade and / or a special amenity 3. Check out TripAdvisor for great restaurant and activity

recommendations. I use them every time I travel and their recommendations are spot on.

 

AP: What is your worst pet peeve? VL: People who chew gum while in a conversation with you.

 

AP: What professional beauty/fitness/wellness experts do you have on your speed dial? VL: I

don’t have any experts on speed dial, but I do turn to my Pilates instructor for any fitness-

related question.

 

AP: What time do you usually wake up in the morning, and how many hours of sleep do you

usually get? VL: I usually get up between 7-7:30am and get 7-8 hours of sleep.

 

AP: Who is your mentor? VL: Since I’ve started blogging I haven’t been able to find a mentor yet

but there are certainly entrepreneurial women that I look up to. Women who have transformed

their blog into a full fledged business and have done so by following their passion and never

giving up. I specifically admire Julia Engel’s blog from Gal Meets Glam because she’s my age and

has done an incredible job with staying true to herself while continuing to produce stunning

and engaging content for her readers.

 

AP: What is your skincare routine (products, facialists, etc)? VL: I LOVE skincare. I start out by

using a face serum (right now I’m using the Pigment Lightening Serum by Alchimie Forever),

then an eye cream (Origins GinZing Eye Cream in the morning and Kiehl’s Avocado Eye

Treatment at night) and then finish it up with the the Clinique Dramatically Different

Moisturizing Lotion. At night I like to treat my face with a hydrating and brightening mask

followed by a face oil, such as the Josie Maran Argan Oil or an overnight mask. My all time

favorite is the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask.

 

AP: What do you do to relax? VL: I love spending time with my husband and our dog Daisy or

reading a good book with a cup of tea. I also enjoy being near the water and feeling the

calmness come over me.

 

AP: Quote to live by. VL: “Happiness depends upon ourselves” by Aristotle. That quote has

stuck with me for over 10 years and it still motivates me to this day.

 

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. VL: Don’t be in a job you

that don’t enjoy, it’s not worth the frustrations – trust me. Also don’t be afraid to speak up and

negotiate for yourself. No one else will do it for you.

 

AP: Describe your dream day. VL: A day that includes spending time with the people I love,

good food and conversations, and time with my dog Daisy is everything I could ask for.

 

AP: What makes you feel beautiful? VL: Knowing that I’m seizing every opportunity and that I’m

actively working towards becoming the best version of myself.

Catching up with Kayla Childress: Founder of Mindful Luxury

While I felt like I already knew her, it was the highlight of my week to actually meet Kayla Childress, Founder of Mindful Luxury. I felt like I knew her because of so many connections, through Neill Corporation and SpaRitual, among others. Finally, in person, we met at the Ballantyne Resort and caught up over coffee…   

AP: What city were you born in? KC: Atlanta, GA.

AP: What city to do you live in? KC: Charlotte, NC.

AP: What is your astrological sign? KC: Aries.

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? KC: I don’t love flying, but have become used to it. I still get nervous every time I fly saying a little prayer before take off and landing.

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? KC: Use professional products always!

AP: What are your special diet tips, if any? KC: Eating clean as much as possible. Home cooked meals!

AP: What do you do for exercise? KC: I train with a trainer 2-3 days a week, run and spin. Spin is my favorite. I have a spin bike at home so there are no excuses!

AP: What is your favorite thing to eat and drink? KC: I could live on sashimi sushi daily. I’m a wine fan!

AP: Botox or not? KC: I believe if you want it to look and feel better, do it! I have done it several times, but currently do not have it.

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? KC: I am an early riser giving myself a few minutes in the morning to center myself as best as I can for the day.

AP: How many miles do you fly per year on average? KC: Approximately 50,000.

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? KC: Always travel with a light sweater/wrap, boarding pass on my phone and uber!

AP: What is your worst pet peeve? KC: Liars.

AP: What professional beauty/fitness/wellness experts do you have on your speed dial. KC: My trainer!

AP: What time do you usually wake up in the morning, and how many hours of sleep do you usually get? KC: Usually between 5-6am. I struggle with sleep. Some days I sleep 8 hours others 3 or 4.

AP: Who is your mentor? KC: I have so many! But the first that comes to mind is my grandma who recently passed away.

AP: What is your skincare routine (products, facialists, etc)? KC: I use Privai with my Foreo a few times a week. I need to incorporate facials more!

AP: What do you do to relax?  KC: Meditate and work out.

AP: Quote to live by. KC: So many! “You’ve got what it takes but it will take everything you’ve got” is my current favorite one.

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. KC: Stay laser focused. Give with passion. Love what you do down to your core. Never give up.

AP: Describe your dream day. KC: I would start this day by sleeping in the most comfy bed somewhere in the Caribbean listening to the waves crash in. I would eat the most delicious and fresh food all day while reading a great book, walking on the beach collecting shells and just being.  

AP: What makes you feel beautiful? KC: My daughter.

thinking

Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is the probable reason so few engage in it. –Henry Ford

I am a doer. I love to-do lists, I love checking things off, I feel productive when I am in action. Sometimes, I need to remind myself that one of the most important things I can do is think. I have been thinking about thinking lately – if that is even possible. Thinking that I need to spend more time thinking. Really thinking. Thinking actively. I see my husband do that and so many great things come of it. I hear my best girlfriend Kassie remind me that I underestimate the power of my thoughts. I read emails from my father asking me if I am making enough time to think – he calls it “tea-time.”

And in cleaning up an old pile of papers from my office today I came across an old, tattered photocopy with the following:

 

“Think.

Few things possess more Power than a Thought.

Because a Thought has the potential

To become something significant.

To solve something meaningful.

And to inspire us to achieve great things.

What makes a Thought so powerful

is that it can be create by anybody.

At anytime.

From anywhere.

That’s why Thinking should be encouraged

and nurtured in all its forms.

No matter how small.

Or how impossibly grand.

Because wherever Thinking happens,

Big Ideas follow.

Minds become enlightened.

Knowledge grows.

And people discover new ways to unlock their

Potential.

So start Thinking.”

 

There is no attribution so I don’t know who to thank for this timely reminder. Perhaps the Universe?