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…

 

 

 

The Email Newsletters That Make Me Smarter

I spend time daily unsubscribing from email newsletters. I also spend time daily (or weekly) relishing email newsletters. Here are the ones that keep me thinking, questioning, learning.

WWD

This is the classis source of news for anyone in beauty or fashion. I enjoy the fashion aspect, but my favorite articles are not surprisingly the beauty pieces by Jenny Fine, Ellen Thomas, and Allison Collins. Also, the print issue of Beauty Inc. is a treasure. And yes, I pay for this content.

Business of Fashion

Imran Amed is a genius. He is on my list of five people I would like to have dinner with. I love everything about the Business of Fashion – the daily emails, the podcasts, the print issues (more treasures), and BOF Professional. And yes, I also pay for that content. The articles by Sarah Brown are just by themselves worth the price.

Retail Dive

I love this daily email because it keeps me updated with overall retail trends – not just beauty. It helps me learn from outside my industry – and influences the stores I visit during my travels to get a feel for the current reality of retail.

Beyond the articles, I love the ‘What We’re Reading” section of every email.

Racked

I love the blend of business and beauty, and Racked does it best. This article on Amazon beauty is an example of why I stay subscribed to their newsletters.

BeautyMatter

Kelly Kovack is my friend, so I am biased. But she does have one of the most beautiful brains in the beauty industry. So, when she started BeautyMatter a couple of years ago, I subscribed from Day 1 and have not missed a day. I love her quarterly beauty M&A recaps, her white papers, and the daily beauty news. Smart, short, on point.

Harvard Management Tip of the Day

I look forward to this email every single day. This is the daily email I forward the most. To my sisters, to my team, to my friends. The tips range from management advice (for example how to delegate), the importance of vacation time, and my all-time favorite, the need to put a “meeting-free day” on your calendar every week. That is top on my goal list!

Marc Ross

Brigadoon is Marc Ross’ brain-child. The best annual conference I have ever attended. He keeps me thinking beyond my “comfort and industry bubble” in between these conferences with his daily emails (Marc Ross Daily), but what I get the most out of are the Brigadoon Weekly emails. The Ross Rant is particularly delicious. Also, his reading lists are inspiring.

Shane Parrish

Weekly brain food. Literally, that is what he calls his Friday emails. I came across him because of a podcast I listened to from The Knowledge Project – an interview with Naval Ravikant. This is possibly my favorite podcast of all times, I have actually already listened to it twice. Shane’s weekly emails include articles, a note on the book he is currently reading, and a quote he is thinking about.

Scott Galloway

I must admit, I only like about one third of his No Mercy / No Malice emails, but I can’t bring myself to unsubscribe because when I like them, I love them. If you don’t know him, he is a Professor of Marketing at NYU Stern School of Business, and founder of the digital intelligence firm L2 (I also get their emails, but those feel more like homework). Try it.

Thomas Oppong, curator of Postanly

I can’t recall how I found Thomas – but I look forward to his Friday emails every week. I don’t always find the inspiration I crave, but when I do, it is quite amazing. This is one of my favorite articles shared.

I stopped watching the news a long time ago. My husband fills me in on the things I must know, I listen to NPR while driving, and I get The Skimm every day. A girlfriend of mine told me it makes her feel dumb when she reads it – like they are not taking their readers seriously. I have been thinking about this a lot, but I have not unsubscribed yet (also I love their Instagram account).

What I just subscribed to: The Cut. I just couldn’t resist, after the whole “Gwyneth Paltrow doesn’t know about The Cut” saga. Also, I love Jane Larkworthy’s articles.

What I am thinking of subscribing to: Glossy. There is now a paid version, which I have committed to signing up for by the end of this month. I love their podcasts, and Jill Manoff, Editor-in-Chief of Glossy who is both smart and sassy.

What I am still trying to figure out: Beauty Independent. I get these emails daily. I enjoy them. I am still trying to understand the background, what the connection to IBE means, the agenda.

What I recently unsubscribed myself from: Tim Ferriss (I just can’t), Total Retail (Retail Dive is so much better).

What are your must-read email newsletters? What am I missing?

Flashback to Warren Buffet – and his great advice

If you have seen me travel, you have seen me with a pile of magazines, going through them methodically, tearing out articles that seem relevant and of interest. Sometimes I read them immediately, sometimes I “save them for later when I have time.”

I brought such a pile of magazine tear-sheets with me to Tinos to read during my two weeks of R&R. And in the middle of them, somehow, I found very old notes (like from 11/14/2002 old!) about a speech I heard Warren Buffet give at the McDonough School of Business. I am not sure how these notes go into this pile, and I am not sure how they survived the last 16 years (!!) but they are timeless and still so very relevant today.

Buffet’s advice:

  • Do work you love and are passionate about.
  • Always follow the front-page test: if you don’t want your words or actions on the front page of the Washington Post, don’t say or do the thing.
  • Think about who your heroes are.
  • Don’t marry for money, especially if you’re already rich!
  • Don’t save sex for old age. (Yes, he did say that!)
  • Your life’s success is measured by who loves and respects you.
  • There is no such thing as “business ethics.” There’s just ethics.
  • Don’t pay attention to the economy. Focus on what is knowable and what is important.
  • Don’t be envious, it only makes you feel bad.
  • Run your business like it’s your only asset and you can’t sell it for 100 years.
  • Don’t be bought.
  • What you are later in life is determined today. Have good mind and body habits.
  • There are a lot of things you can’t control – but you can control the type of person you are.

 

BeautyView: Jani Friedman, Managing Director, Demeter Group

I am a firm believer in networking, although I am not a fan of the word. I think of it more as building and fostering relationships, connecting people, and expanding my circle of friends. Jani is a perfect example of that. I introduced myself to her after seeing her present at a WWD retail conference a number of years ago. Since then, we meet whenever our hectic schedules allow, usually in San Francisco and always with her dog Chloé. Beyond being industry peers, beyond being Harvard alumni (did you see The Crimson Guard article in the recent issue of WWD Beauty Inc?), we are now friends; and that is the true purpose of networking.

AP: What city were you born in? JF: Neillsville, WI.

AP: What city to do you live in? JF: San Francisco, CA.

AP: What is your middle name? JF: Marie.

AP: What is your astrological sign? JF: Gemini.

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? JF: Brainstorming about new products and then watching them come to life.

AP: Least favorite thing? JF: Telemarketers (if you mean in life) or, What’s not to love? (if you mean ‘about the beauty industry”).

AP: What is your most prized possession? JF: Chloé Lucia, my Miki pup.

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? JF: I was on Family Feud when I was about 17 years old. Embarrassing!

AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model?  JF: A watch is not necessary since I’m staring at my computer or phone all day which conveniently reminds me that time is ticking by.

AP: Diamonds or pearls? JF: Pearls.

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? JF: The Pope.

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? JF: Having Chloé in the office everyday – she’s the glue that holds us all together.

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? JF: 1. Get a Global Entry card to speed through Immigration and Customs. 2. Bring someone you love on all trips. 3. Wear flats and cashmere.

AP: What is your favorite book? JF: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? JF: Malbec.

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? JF: Smile, even when it’s hard.

AP: What fragrance do you wear? JF: Fresh, Memoire Liquide, and Diptyque’s Philosykos.

AP: Botox or not? JF: Not yet, but I am strongly considering a few needed shots.

AP: Hair color: natural or not? JF: I couldn’t live without my colorist John Yaskevich.

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. JF: Set Fire to the Rain by Adele, Beast of Burden by Rolling Stones, Say it Right by Nelly Furtado.

AP: Quote to live by. JF: “Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door” by Coco Chanel.

AP: Who is your mentor? JF: My Dad.

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. JF: Don’t act, feel, or think you’re entitled. Take on any project where you have to think or work hard; it will get noticed. An analogy that I like is operating a submarine (not that I’ve had the pleasure yet). Go 44 knots (really fast) through the sea in the direction of your target, but make sure to utilize your periscope often to ensure you are aware of your environment, people, and any oncoming hazards. Destroy anything negative in your way. Reach your target and celebrate!

Working on my art collection

One of my New Year’s goals for 2011 is to work on my art collection. I can’t remember the exact moment I fell in love with art – maybe it was when my parents took my sisters and I to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston when I was 6. Maybe it was when my parents opened our very own Analix Forever gallery in 1991 (amazing that the gallery is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year!). Maybe it was when I took my first history of art class sophomore year at Harvard.

Regardless of when my passion for contemporary art started, art has been an integral part of my life for many years. I realized last fall that I had not paid this passion of mine any significant attention lately, however. I realized that I missed it. Hence my New Year’s goal. So, working on my art collection – what does that mean? It means paying more attention to the pieces I currently have (I have been re-framing and hanging pieces for the last two weeks). It also means paying more attention to the art world in general (I have gone to a Phillips Collection event and have subscribed to ArtForum in the last month). It means aligning my personal interest in art with my business’s corporate responsibility (Alchimie Forever now supports various art institutions including the Corcoran Gallery of Art and more). And, of course it means acquiring a couple new pieces. The timing is perfect, as there are two exciting artistic events coming up in the next two weeks. First, my mother Barbara is organizing on Thursday March 3rd an auction of drawings by various Analix Forever artists. I have already emailed the auction master a list of pieces I want, along with my highest possible bid price. Take a look, and place your bids – everyone needs a little more art, and part of the proceeds are going to a good cause, namely the Fondation Prim’Enfance, whose mission is to help eradicate diseases that affect infants and young children. Then, on March 12th, the Washington Projects for the Arts is holding its annual fundraiser and auction gala. Last year was the first time I attended, and I went home with a gorgeous piece by Maryland artist Clarke Bedford. This year, who knows what I will go home with…  Sometimes, it really is fun to turn New Year’s goals into realities!