Mid-Year Reflections…

I am a planner, a list maker, a goal tracker. I start new years with a list of goals, some new, some left over from the previous year. And usually, sometime in the middle of the year – typically during my vacation in Greece, or around Labor Day weekend – I re look at my goals and set myself up for success for the fall.

This year, my mid-year reflection happened this past Saturday, August 18. I was in Magnano in Riviera (Italy), where my father is from, a place I have not visited in over 20 years. I was there with my husband, my three sisters and their partners and children, and with my father – per his request, to celebrate his 70th year of life, and have our annual Polla Family Council meeting. Such a family gathering, and such a birthday, were conducive to reflection.

So, I reflected.

The first few months of 2018 were challenging, for reasons I still had a hard time processing. I acknowledged this to myself and thanked myself for getting past it. I thought about a note I made for myself at the end 2017 about strengthening my tolerance for tension. I certainly can check that off my list.

I thought about what I am most proud of professionally, namely continuing to grow Alchimie (look for some new distribution this fall), launching our newest product (Advanced retinol serum), continuing to lead Neill Fulfillment.

I reflected on my relationships and the people closest to me. Am I contributing to their happiness, to their growth, to their personal and professional development? These goals are important for the rest of 2018 (and beyond).

I reaffirmed my commitment to my self-care and reminded myself how part of the reason I started feeling better late Spring was more running, more water, more sleep, more reading. I re-commit to ending the year healthy and strong, physically and emotionally.

I thought about some very specific goals I have yet to achieve: redoing our YouTube videos; working on my book idea; reaching 10,000 Instagram followers for Alchimie; reading the books remaining on my “Marie Kondo-ed book pile.”

Finally, I think about what I am looking forward to for the rest of the year. These next few days in Italy, maybe becoming a home owner, lots of productive work travel, my god-daughter Jade’s week-long visit, the holiday season.

So much to be grateful for, so much to do, so much to look forward to…


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.

Lessons in Slow Beauty… happy birthday Shel Pink!

Today was a great day. There are many reasons for this, despite the fact that it was a Monday… one of those reasons is that it is the birthday of someone whom I very much respect and admire. Today is Shel Pink’s birthday. If you don’t know her, or don’t know of her, yet, I would encourage you to learn more. She is a fellow beauty entrepreneur, works in a family business, and will change the way you look at nails, and nail polish – perhaps at beauty overall. She is the founder of SpaRitual, vegan nail lacquer and of the Slow Beauty movement.

I had the luck of meeting Shel at an industry dinner not even a year ago. I had one of those “Brad Pitt” moments, which in my life means I get giddy and speechless because I just met someone so gorgeous inside and out, someone who has made such a difference, that I forget I can speak. Luckily for me, Shel thought that despite my excitement I remained quite coherent, and agreed to do a Beautyview. That was the start to a friendship that is still blossoming, the start of a relationship that I hope will shape our lives and respective brands for years to come.

Here are a few more specific reasons I am grateful to have met Shel…

  1. She reminds us that we need to slow down. She pioneered the Slow Beauty movement, reminding us that we can get off the fast track and take the time to enjoy the simpler pleasures in life.
  2. She believes everyone’s first and foremost relationship is the one we have with ourselves. One of my mother’s founding concepts behind Alchimie Forever is that we all need to take care of ourselves, much better that we do – hence our tag line “self care through skin care.” And sometimes, it is good to (re-)hear truths from people other than parents. Shel reminds me that indeed, if I don’t take care of myself, I won’t be able to take care of anyone else.
  3. She dislikes routine, and loves rituals. What makes these two words, which both start with the letter “r,” so different from each other? I abhor routine, perhaps above all else. Yet I love rituals, which are simple, uncomplicated, peaceful, and peace-inducing. Thank you Shel for highlighting this distinction.
  4. Without knowing it, she influences my reading list. The most recent book I added to my list is Small Graces by Kent Nerburn. It should arrive in my mailbox next week, I cannot wait!
  5. Also without knowing it, she helps me reflect, and enhances my thinking. Most recently, my thinking about why I love book club so much.
  6. Perhaps most importantly, Shel helps me live by one of my core values, which is beauty and aesthetics. I value beauty in every aspect of my life – my surroundings (art on the walls is a must), my behavior (arguments are ugly, love is beautiful), and my appearance (looking good makes me feel better and act nicer).

Happy birthday Shel. Thank you for making the world a more groomed, more beautiful place, one nail, one soul, at a time.

Tomorrow is my birthday

Tomorrow, October 19th, 2010, is my 33rd birthday. Which means that tonight feels particularly wonderful, like an early Friday evening, before the week-end has officially begun, but with the expectations of great things ahead.

Tomorrow will be a great day, filled with some of my favorite things, including work (of course!), a BFF, my current favorite playlist, gorgeous shoes, and champagne (of course).

While I was initially supposed to spend tomorrow in DC with my someone special, I am instead spending tomorrow in Abingdon, VA surrounded by special people. Tomorrow and Wednesday marks the true beginning of Alchimie’s partnership with Universal Companies, the leading US spa distributor. While we signed our contract on the 21st of last month, tomorrow is when the real work begins. I will be spending two days at the HQ training the entire Universal Companies team. I have been working on the training content for weeks; I have been working on this relationship for years; I cannot imagine a better birthday present than to spend the day with them, a true step to taking my business to the next level.

With me, sharing this experience and this momentous birthday (on Wednesday, can I still say I am in my early thirties, or am I know in my mid-thirties?) is one of my favorite people in the universe, my business partner and BFF Catherine Littlefield. She has been by my side since 2004, she has seen Alchimie Forever grow, and has always believed in it as much as I have. She knows what this means to me, to our brand. And she loves birthdays. I can’t wait to celebrate my 33rd with her.

I have always been of the mind that my birthday is special, no matter where I am, no matter if I am working, not working, with family, without family. Tomorrow, in addition to being with the Universal Companies team and Catherine, three specific things will make October 19th, 2010, special to me.

First, I will wake up and immediately turn on my current favorite playlist, tunes by Goldfrapp. I will play them loudly, at 5:30 am, in my hotel room (sorry, neighbor!), and prance around to the sound of them, before even having coffee. I might even sing along a little. How can a day that starts with this music not be a great day?

Second, I will wear my birthday present from my someone special, the most gorgeous sexy shoes I have ever owned. Thank you my BFF Kassie from Simply Soles for carrying this pair of Bruno Maglis. I know I should save them for evening celebrations, but tomorrow, I will wear them all day long! How can a day in those shoes not be a great day?

Third, at dinner, I will have champagne. Of course. Veuve Cliquot if I can find it in this remote area of VA. If not, any sparkling wine will do. And whatever it ends up being, the bubbles will taste absolutely magical. How can a day that ends with champagne (or bubbly) not be a great day?

I can hardly wait for October 19, 2010.