Morning Rituals

Mornings. I love them. I became a morning person in college when I was introduced to crew at Harvard. The stillness of the city, the sunrise over the Charles, and the camaraderie of 5:30 am meets at the boathouse forever changed me.

I am often asked about my morning routines – beauty and otherwise. I wrote about this a couple of years ago here, some things are the same, some have evolved.

For many years, I woke up at 5 am. For the past year, I have been waking up between 4:30 and 4:50 am on weekdays. Somehow, those minutes before 5 am seem particularly precious. By 6 am, I am working (in the office or on the road), or working out (running or SoulCycle).

What I do:

  • I get out of bed immediately. No snoozing for me.
  • I light a candle. I love Aveda Shampure candles and have them all around the house. Lighting them makes the house smell good and feels like an act of kindness and sophistication that I do just for myself.
  • I make my bed. It looks good, it makes me feel like I have accomplished something, like I have control over my surroundings. (Even Navy SEALS feel this way about this small task)
  • I check my phone (emails, social media). Everything I have read about morning routines says not to do this. For a while, I tried not to do it – but that frustrated me to no end and did not contribute positively to my mornings. So I do it, unapologetically!

What I think about:

  • What am I looking forward to today? This can be a work project, a meeting, a trip, date night… Starting my day with something specific to look forward to helps me get out of bed.
  • What are the three most important things I need to accomplish today. I have an endless to-do list, so prioritizing three daily goals helps me stay on target.

What I eat and drink:

  • A tall glass of water with one Emergen-C Super Orange packet. If the rest of the day goes crazy, at least I will have done something good for myself!
  • I have the same Krups coffee maker I bought during my freshman year in college, and I love it! It makes the best coffee. Milk if I have it in the fridge (which is infrequently!), otherwise black.
  • No breakfast. I stopped eating breakfast a few years ago, when I realized that the Danone vanilla yogurts I was eating every morning were nothing but sugar. I have not missed them (or breakfast) since.

My beauty routine (post workout if I work out that morning): 

One ritual I am trying to add to my routine is to use the free weights I got over a year ago to strengthen my arms and shoulders. So yesterday I took them out of their dark closet and put them by my full-length mirror… let’s see seeing them helps me use them…




BeautyView: Neil Scibelli, Celebrity Makeup Artist

One of the things I enjoy the most about the beauty industry is the amazing people I have a chance to meet, and stay in touch with through the years. I met Neil (or Aniello, as I still like to call him) back in to 2008, when I needed help with the Alchimie counter at Henri Bendel’s. Over the years, we have stayed in touch (even though neither of us are at Bendel’s anymore), and I have come to think of him as my little brother. He has since become a celebrity makeup artist, and now I can say “I knew you when…” We caught up in NYC last week, enjoying some wine and guacamole at Sarabeth’s.

AP: What city were you born in? NS: Queens, NY.

AP: What city to do you live in? NS: I live in Manhattan, NY, down in Little Italy.

AP: What is your middle name? NS: Alessandro.

AP: What is your astrological sign? NS: Virgo.

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? NS: Two things: I hate elevators (and always have). And I am a songwriter.

AP: What is your most prized possession? NS: My dignity. It slips away sometimes but I always find it again!

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? NS: Oprah. Love her. Or Britney Spears.

AP: Describe your fashion style in three words maximum. NS: Classic, edgy, comfortable.

AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? NS: Yes. It is a gold Timex with a fun vintage-looking band.

AP: Diamonds or pearls? NS: Diamonds!

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? NS: WATER! Concealer is also a beauty must-have. And confidence.

AP: What fragrance do you wear? NS: Molecule 01 by Escentic Molecules.

AP: Botox or not? NS: Not. Lots of serums instead.

AP: Hair color: natural or not? NS: Natural. Lots of leave-in products.

AP: What are your special diet tips, if any? NS: I eat low-carb. I remove the bun from everything. Protein and veggies is the answer.

AP: What do you do for exercise? NS: When I do it, I do 20 minutes of cardio at the gym and then I lift.

AP: What are three things that you always have in your fridge? NS: 1. Some kind of fruit, usually oranges. 2 White wine. 3. Coconut water.

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? NS: Tequila ginger with lime. Maybe with Cointreau.

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? NS: Staying humble and being true to yourself. Also, cardio is like a therapist – totally necessary.

AP: How many miles do you fly per year on average? NS: Not as many as I would like…

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? NS: Love to travel, would love to travel more.

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. NS: My Kind of Love by Emeli Sande. The entire album by Sara Bareilles. And The Truth about Love album by Pink.

AP: What book are you reading right now? NS: I always read three at a time… All non-fiction, all have lessons to them. The latest is Creative Mind and Success by Earnest Holmes.

AP: Quote to live by. NS: I’m a big believer in The Secret and whenever I need to re-focus I always think: “where energy goes, energy flows.” It reminds me to put my thoughts in the right direction.

AP: What is your worst pet peeve? NS: Rudeness.

AP: What time do you usually wake up in the morning, and how many hours of sleep do you usually get? NS: As a makeup artist, that changes a lot. I have had 3:30 am call times for which I have slept 2 hours, and later mornings. On average, I try to get at least 6 hours.

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? NS: That we all have an appreciation for beauty and art and want to further that vision.

AP: Least favorite thing. NS: Some of the egos…

AP: Who is your mentor? NS: Christina Zilber, the founder of Jouer. I have gotten to know her personally and it has been wonderful.

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. NS: Always follow your vision and find your passion.

BeautyView: Alison Raffaele, Founder & Chief Creative Director, Alison Raffaele Cosmetics

I met Alison at one of my favorite clients, Jeffre Scott, a boutique in Charlotte, NC, that carries both of our brands. There, I fell in love with her makeup. Indeed, other than my signature NARS lip pencils, Alison’s makeup is the only makeup I wear. I own her True Concealer, and one of her powders and brushes. And for those who know my minimalist makeup style, that is saying a lot. I like to think that small beauty brands need to support each other, and Alison agrees: we are stronger together than we are by ourselves!

AP: What city were you born in? ART: I was born in New York City at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. There is a flag on top of the building and I see it every time I cross the George Washington Bridge.

AP: What city to do you live in? ART: I currently live in Cliffside Park, NJ, which is directly across the Hudson River from 110th Street in Manhattan.

AP: What is your middle name? ART: Jean.

AP: What is your astrological sign? ART: Pieces, in fact my birthday was just 12 days ago (March 10th)!

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? ART: Nothing! I am an incredibly open & honest person. What you see is what you get!

AP: What is your most prized possession? ART: There are a number of material things I am very sentimental about: a photograph of my father the day he opened his pharmacy in 1955 that hangs in front of me, the pearl watch that my mother gave to me, the jewelry my husband has given me, etc. But truthfully, the things I treasure most are my good health, the love of my family and friends and my peace of mind, for those things are priceless and cannot be replaced.

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? ART: My dad. He died about 2 years ago, and I miss him so much. He always had the best stories and was just an amazing person to spend time with.

AP: Describe your fashion style in three words maximum. ART: Simple, timeless, and comfortable.

AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? ART: Yes, a stainless steel Tag Heuer my mother bought me about 20 years ago.

AP: Diamonds or pearls? ART: Diamonds.

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? ART: 8 hours sleep every night.

AP: What fragrance do you wear? ART: Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia or Red Roses; Pacifica Malibu Lemon Blossom or Neroli Orange Blossom. I am VERY PICKY about fragrance!

AP: Botox or not? ART: No, don’t need it yet. I’m not against it though, I just don’t believe in doing too much – looks unnatural.

AP: Hair color: natural or not? ART: Not! Nice & Easy Darkest Brown – straight out of the box!

AP: What are your special diet tips, if any? ART: I am currently doing a 28 day detox with people from my gym and I am learning how to cook for the first time! I don’t believe in any tricks per se, just healthy, clean eating.

AP: What do you do for exercise? ART: I belong to a “boot camp” style gym and there I do free weights and calisthenics. At home I run on an elliptical machine.

AP: What are three things that you always have in your fridge? ART: Seltzer water, some sort of salad and protein, and peanut butter

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? ART: I don’t drink alcohol on a regular basis, but when I do I like a glass of red wine, a Sam Adams beer, Canadian Club & Ginger Ale or a glass of Scotch.

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? ART: I write everything down that I have to do and then try to plan my time every day. It’s really hard, but having a 3 ½ year old daughter gives me my motivation.

AP: How many miles do you fly per year on average? ART: I have no idea…it used to be a lot more, but I slowed down my travel after I had my daughter. But I love to travel!  Always up for a new adventure in a new city!

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? ART: lists just about every flight & cost available, try to do/see at least one local thing wherever you go, and when available, I love getting a massage at the airport.

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. ART: Only 3???  Are you kidding???  Let’s see…American Boy/Shine, Bitch/The Rolling Stones, Down/311…my elliptical running music.

AP: What book are you reading right now? ART: I almost never have time to read a book, but the last book I read was Negotiate to Close by Gary Karrass – his seminars are always advertised in the airplane magazines, so after years of seeing them, I went on eBay and bought some of his books.

AP: Quote to live by. ART: Oh, I have lots of these as I am a big TwitterHead, but my current favorite is “If you are going through hell, keep going…”  –Winston Churchill.

AP: What is your worst pet peeve? ART: A messy house!  I work from a home office, and when things are unorganized I literally cannot think.

AP: What time do you usually wake up in the morning, and how many hours of sleep do you usually get? ART: Around 5:30 am, and I am a zombie if I get anything less than 8 hours sleep – so I go to bed early. In fact, I’ve been known to fall asleep on peoples’ couches at parties (embarrassing, but true!).

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? ART: The people – I am a very social person and I love working with female customers. I also love talking shop with other cosmetic entrepreneurs & makeup artists – could do that all day!

AP: Least favorite thing. ART: The lack of working capital available to small companies in the US at the moment. It just makes it that much more difficult to grow.

AP: Who is your mentor? ART: My husband, Glenn Tatem. He drives me crazy, but he’s usually right!

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. ART: Choose your business and personal partners wisely! No one gets to the top alone, and having the wrong people in your life can easily drag you down.