Five Things I Can’t Live Without

Last week my friend Judith wrote about the five things that she can’t live without – specifically, the five things she can’t live without as informed by COVID-19, things which the past six months have either revealed or confirmed (not counting family, friends, pets, or facial coverings).

This inspired me to do the same. Here are my five things I can’t live without right now. 

  • Scented candles. I live by Aveda’s Shampure candles and love the ritual of lighting them first thing in the morning, and lighting them again in the evening. I have them on between 5 am and 8 am, and after 7 pm. Somehow, they have become signs of “this is not work hours” when working from home. 
  • Non-alcoholic beer. I committed early this year to not drink alcohol three days per week. And global pandemic or not, I am sticking to this! It’s hard, perhaps harder because of the current state of the world, so I trick my brain into thinking that my delicious Heineken 0 (my favorite of all of the brands I have tried) is just as magical as a glass of chardonnay. 
  • Fiction. I usually read 75% non-fiction, but have been reading mostly fiction for the past six months. I am still trying to finish the last non-fiction book I started two months ago… I think my brain needs to escape more than usual, and non-fiction is not an escape. I am particularly addicted to anything written by Victoria Hislop, whose historical novels set in Greece take me to my happy place. 
  • My 9-grids. I have planned and replanned 2020 about seven times, and we are only in early September. This planning and brainstorming tool which I love and have been using for years has been particularly useful during these times of constant change, and help me feel in control.
  • Webinars and virtual conferences from leading industry sources. I miss learning about my industry, I miss hearing from other brand founders and beauty subject matter experts. I have particularly enjoyed the events from CEW, Beauty Independent, and Glossy+ – from weekly webinars to day-long conferences (and the beauty of these events is the presenters are on camera, but I am not!).

What are the five things you have (re-)discovered that you can’t live without these days?  

Love + Family = Oxygen

I love love. And I love weddings. Last Saturday, my sister Rachel got married, and I was able to be there, in the beautiful vineyard Domaine du Daley, a place of UNESCO-protected vineyards (in Switzerland, after a government-mandated 10-day quarantine). 

In true pandemic fashion, this was a small affair, everything took place outside, and personalized masks were the party favor. 

In true Rachel and Bernard fashion, this was an emotional scene. My husband called it a “tear-jerker wedding.” The best man commented at the reception after a particularly moving speech “Well, it’s time for tears again – I haven’t cried in about 10 minutes.” 

Maybe it’s because there has not been much to celebrate in the past few months. Maybe it’s because I hadn’t been home with my family in eight months (a first in my life, one I wish not to repeat). Maybe it’s because of how my brother-in-law Bernard looks at Rachel. Regardless of the why, this wedding touched my soul more deeply than anticipated. 

It reminded me of the power of love, of everything that is shared between two soulmates that does not require words. A look. A kiss. A smile. A squeezing of the hand. The intimacy and team feel of a couple in love. It also reminded me that love is as essential to my well-being as the air I breathe. 

It reminded me of the importance of family. Family defined as those whom you love and for whom you will always be there. Those whose welfare you put above your own. Rachel has a daughter Sasha (Bernard is not her father). Bernard has two daughters Clara and Margaux (Rachel is not their mother). These three beautiful, strong, young women are sisters. My parents are divorced, yet as their speech to the newlyweds indicated, they are family. 

This weekend reminded me that family transcends law and biology. And that love does sometimes need to be celebrated in front of an audience.

Four men I can't live without…

…As in, the men who keep me beautiful. They each make me feel good because they make me look good, and I am grateful to have them in my life!

My dermatologist, my father: Dr. Luigi L. PollaForever Institut

Together since: 1977

It starts with my father, of course! As I recently shared with Glamour Magazine, he is the source of all of my skin care knowledge and good skin habits. And the only one whom I entrust my face to when it comes to Botox.

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My hair whisperer: Frank Rizzieri, Rizzieri Salon & Spa

Together since: 2014

Other than blow-outs (see below), I was never one for hair cuts, hair styles, or hair extensions. That is, until I met Frank Rizzieri – then all that changed. I now drive 3.5 hours to Marlton, NJ, for my hair appointments, because he is worth it. I never look as good as I do walking out of his salon.

fr

My blow-out guru: Enver Coban, Georgetown Salon & Spa

Together since: 2002

Enver came into my life thanks to the recommendation of my friend Pirooz Sarshar. Having just moved to DC, I asked Pirooz who gave the best blow-out in town. “Go to the Turks,” he said (himself of Turkish origin). And so I did. I met Enver when he was working at George at the Four Seasons, and followed him to Georgetown Salon and Spa. He still gives me the best blow-out, in under 30 minutes.

enver

My eyebrow master: Erwin Gomez, Karma Salon

Together since: 2002

I can’t recall who recommended I go to Erwin for my eyebrows – if it was a best friend, or perhaps Allure Magazine, but I am forever grateful. I get compliments on my eyebrows weekly, and I have him to thank. The maintenance is an investment, but Erwin is worth every penny. And when, one day in 2014, he told me: “After more than 10 years, your eyebrows are finally looking the way they should!” I didn’t know if I should cry or celebrate!

er