On intention and productivity

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend a Cadre lunch, during which Derek Coburn discussed intention and productivity. And if you know me, you know productivity is something that fascinates me. While I will not be able to do justice to everything he talked about, here are some highlights and some of the resources he recommended.

On being busy

-       Being busy and bring productive are not the same thing.

-       Try not saying “I am busy” for a week (I commit to doing this this week).

-       “Being busy is often used as a guise for avoiding the few critically important but uncomfortable actions.” Tim Ferriss

-       Try saying “I am not doing anything today” and sticking to it once in a while (not surprisingly, this is one recommendation I have challenges with…).

-       “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.” Warren Buffet

On reclaiming time

-       Time is our most scarce and sacred resource, and as such Derek recommends seriously pondering how to can reclaim time.

-       Part of reclaiming time involves outsourcing. “Outsource everything possible, in particular what you are neither good nor passionate about,” says Derek.

-       One of the tools he uses is RescueTime. This program helps track your most productive times and how much time you are spending on certain programs (and also lets you block certain websites that may be distracting). I just signed up for this and am excited to see what I can learn!

-       Derek raves about virtual assistants and automation tools. While I have never used this type of service, I am intrigued. Derek recommends Elance and Task Rabbit as two great resources.

-       Use scheduling tools such as Vcita. Indeed, as Derek reminded us, it takes an average of 7 emails to schedule a single meeting.

On managing meetings overload

-       Derek urged us to never take a meeting unless there is a clear agenda.

-       He also mentioned no longer taking “coffee or lunch meetings” but instead scheduling a phone conversation – especially when this is a first meeting. A coffee or lunch meeting can always come as a second step.

On managing email overload

-       I am an emailer. I use my inbox (both of them actually!) as a to-do list. I flag emails, file emails, sometimes I drown in emails. Once per week I usually take my inbox and start at the bottom and go through every email to make sure I have not forgotten something (this takes about 2-3 hours). Yet sometimes things fall through the cracks…

-       Derek recommends Sanebox to help minimize and summarize emails. I have not yet brought myself to try this…

On managing phonecalls and voicemails

-       I hate voicemails. I don’t know why… but I do. I always delay listening to them, which is neither productive nor polite. I wish my phone didn’t allow voicemails, but I can’t quite take that step.

-       I also hate the phone, which I find intrusive. It still surprises me when people call to have a long conversation without having scheduled a phone meeting – although I do the same… And when a call comes in, I have a very hard time not answering. Even from an “unknown number.” Hence I laugh when Derek suggests that answering a phonecall from an “unknown caller” is telling the universe that anyone and anything can interrupt you anytime.

-       Per Derek’s recommendation, I signed up for PhoneTag after this lunch and I love getting voicemails via texts!

On decision-making overload

-       I read once that President Obama wears the same shirt every day (not the same one, but identical-looking ones) in order to remove one decision from all of the decisions he has to make daily. Also, remember how Steve Jobs always wore the same outfit to meetings (jeans, sneakers, a black turtleneck)? Derek mentions this and reminds us that “Cognitive resources are scarce, limited, quickly and easily depleted.”

-       Removing the need to make certain decisions helps to alleviate decision-making fatigue. Try to take decisions off the table every day, remove decisions that are not essential so you can make better decisions on the more important things.

On starting your week one day early

-       Derek starts his week on Saturday because family is most important to him. By starting his week on Saturday he puts time in with family and kids early on in the week and does not feel guilty the rest of the week (week goes Saturday to Friday instead of Monday to Sunday).

-       Start your day the night before; take a look at the priorities for the next day the previous evening and do one or two of the things that are absolute musts that previous evening.

A few other tips

-       It takes you 20 minutes to refocus on the task at hand when you get un-focused because of an interruption.

-       Morning rituals are key in terms of setting your day up for success. The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod is a great book that investigates just that.

-       Create your “Superhero music soundtrack,” songs that inspire you and get you going and motivate you to do your best work.

-       Derek listens to podcasts and books on tape, and talked about adjusting the speed of what he listens to – kind of like the auditory equivalent of speed-reading.

-       When Derek leaves for vacation, he sets his out of office automatic email response showing the departure day one day early, and the return day one day after he is actually back in the office, in order to manage the expectations of people emailing him in terms of his response time.

Most importantly perhaps, Derek ends by urging us to put intention in everything we do. To him, success is “being able to say yes to what he wants to do, and no to what he does not want to do.” In the end, all of these productivity tips and tools are ways to get us there…









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BeautyView: Trisha Gregory, Director of Public Relations, Salvatore Ferragamo

Trisha Gregory, Director of Public Relations, Salvatore Ferragamo

Trisha Gregory, Director of Public Relations, Salvatore Ferragamo

The next best thing to a best friend is a best friend’s best friend. That is how I know Trisha Gregory, Director of Public Relations at Salvatore Ferragamo. Actually, I don’t really know her – but I feel like I do because of all of the amazing things my BFF Catherine says about her. She is gorgeous, smart, a PR whiz at an iconic Italian fashion house. She has Southern roots and is proud of them. And she keeps Alchimie Forever eye cream in her fridge. What more is there to love?!

AP: What city were you born in? TG: Tupelo, Mississippi.

AP: What city to do you live in? TG: New York City.

AP: What is your middle name? TG: Simmons.

AP: What is your astrological sign? TG: Aquarius.

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? TG: My Southern upbringing is very important to me. I think it’s difficult to keep track of what’s important in New York, especially as a woman fortifying a career in this industry.

AP: What is your most prized possession? TG: My diamond and sapphire bracelets I inherited from my grandmother.

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? TG: Princess Diana.

AP: Describe your fashion style in three words maximum. TG: Timeless. Smart. Feminine.

AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? TG: Yes, Ferragamo F-80.

AP: Diamonds or pearls? TG: Pearls.

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? TG: Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads.

AP: What fragrance do you wear? TG: Tom Ford Jasmin Rouge.

AP: Botox or not? TG: Not.

AP: Hair color: natural or not? TG: Natural.

AP: What are your special diet tips, if any? TG: I dont know. Each time I try to start a diet, sweets arrive at the office!

AP: What do you do for exercise? TG: Classes: Body by Simone, CoreFusion at Exhale Spa.

AP: What are three things that you always have in your fridge? TG: Arrowhead Farms hellfire club bloody mary mix, Alchimie Forever eye cream given to me by my BFF Catherine, and Melaleuca baked crackers.

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? TG: A spicy margarita.

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? TG: If I’ve learned anything from the Italians it’s work to live, not live to work. But good ideas come at all times of the day and night… so keep a notepad or email yourself reminders for the next morning.

AP: How many miles do you fly per year on average? TG: 100,000+.

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? TG: I travel with a cashmere cardigan, a leather Oliver Peoples eye mask, and my Kate Somerville moisturizer.

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. TG: Kiesza – Hideaway; Selfmachine – I Blame Coco; F’ing Problems – Asap Rocky.

AP: What book are you reading right now? TG: The Goldfinch.

AP: Quote to live by. TG: “I look for strong people. I don’t like people who’ll say yes to everything I might bring up. I want people who can argue and disagree and have a point of view. My dad believed in the cult of personality.”- Anna Wintour.

AP: What is your worst pet peeve? TG: When people smack their food.

AP: What time do you usually wake up in the morning, and how many hours of sleep do you usually get? TG: Around 6/ 7 hours. I’m up by 7AM.

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry?  TG: The possibility of transformation and the magical feeling of self-improvement.

AP: Least favorite thing. TG: When the bronzed look goes out of fashion for a season. I like a little tan.

AP: Who is your mentor? TG: My mother… and all three of my bosses I’ve had the privilege of working for in this industry.

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. TG: “Ask for more homework!!” is what my father advised us growing up.  Which means…follow your dreams, ask questions, ask for more work and take risks.

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A wedding in Bordeaux

One of the advantages of having many sisters is that there are many weddings to attend. More specifically, one of the advantages of having my three sisters as sisters is that they pick the best destinations for their weddings.

Back in June, I went to St-Remy en Provence for my sister Cyrille’s wedding. And this past weekend I was back in France, for yet another wedding, Roxane’s wedding in Bordeaux. And I got to discover another gorgeous area of France. Should you be planning a trip to that area, here are some highlights.

We stayed at the Hotel Cote Sable in Cap Ferret, on the Arcachon basin. This small boutique hotel (15 rooms) with the most amazing staff (who belied even my opinion of French service…) offers amazing views of the beach, which is literally across the street, and a beautiful outdoor patio perfect for pre and post-dinner cocktails.

Cap Ferret is known for its oyster beds, which are harvested minutes from the restaurants that serve them, often right on the beach just past the high tide demarcation. You can walk along the beach and find oyster restaurant after oyster restaurant (all they serve are oysters and shrimp). After trying a few, our favorite (and where the rehearsal dinner took place), was Chez Degrave. We actually ended up there for three of our meals in four days!

Oysters on the beach

Oysters on the beach

Beyond oysters, the area is known for the Dune of Pilat, the tallest sand dune in Europe, so beautiful that more than a million visitors come to see it, and climb it, every year.

We made it out of Cap Ferret to visit Saint-Emilion, a must for a lover of red wine. Our favorite spot was Chateau Coutet, a family owned chateau where I learned all kinds of interesting things about Bordeaux wines.

Chateau Coutet vineyard

Chateau Coutet vineyard

Through friends of friends, we were able to meet Nicole Tapon and her husband, who served the wine (lots and lots of it) during the wedding and treated us to a picnic on their grounds. They own a number of acres in Saint-Emilion, and are known among other things for their Clairet (a wine that is darker and stronger than rose but not quite red…).

Picnic lunch...

Picnic lunch…

We could not leave without touring the actual village of Saint-Emilion, where we visited the Cloister of the Collegiate church, a magical, extremely old cloister and church…

The village of Saint-Emilion

The village of Saint-Emilion

Walking through the Cloisters

Walking through the Cloister

And all of that was before the most beautiful wedding, in the sand and in the sun, with my sister Rachel officiating followed by a dance party that ended at 4 am, and a custom Robert Montgomery art piece / performance as the wedding gift… Congratulations to Roxane and Guillaume!

Rachel officiating Roxane's and Guillaume's wedding ceremony

Rachel officiating Roxane’s and Guillaume’s wedding ceremony

Custom Robert Montgomery installation

Custom Robert Montgomery installation

Three Polla sisters and the maid of honor in (ocean) blue

Three Polla sisters and the maid of honor in (ocean) blue 

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BeautyView: Daniela Ciocan, Marketing Director, Cosmoprof North America

Daniela Ciocan, Marketing Director, Cosmoprof North America

Daniela Ciocan, Marketing Director, Cosmoprof North America

Everyone knows Daniela Ciocan, Marketing Director, Cosmoprof North America. She is just one of these women in our industry that connects people, knows everyone and everything. And it’s not only because she runs Cosmoprof Las Vegas and is on the ICMAD board. She just has that little “je ne sais quoi.” Maybe it is her exotic (Romanian) accent. Or her platinum blonde hair (natural?). Or the fact that she always seems (to me at least) just a little bit mysterious… I always wonder what she is thinking…

AP: What city were you born in? DC: I was born in a small town in Transylvania in Romania about one hour away from the border with Hungary.

AP: What city to do you live in? DC: Officially, Las Vegas NV.

AP: What is your middle name? DC: Mariana but don’t tell anyone :)

AP: What is your astrological sign? DC: Need you ask? Leo!

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? DC: That deep inside I am a big nerd!

AP: What is your most prized possession?  DC: A ring gifted to me which was made by artisan jewelers in the 1800′s in southern Romania with the old fashioned hand diamond cutting technique.

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? DC: Oprah Winfrey.

AP: Describe your fashion style in three words maximum. DC: Quirky, comfortable and chic.

AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? DC: I have several that I change depending on my mood and what I am wearing. They range from Omega, Technomarine, Movado, Juicy Couture and La Mer Collections.

AP: Diamonds or pearls? DC: Depends on the occasion!

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? DC: Cleanse your skin thoroughly every night before going to sleep, moisturize twice a day including the eye area and sunscreen every day.

AP: What fragrance do you wear? DC: Anything high end artisanal and niche.

AP: Botox or not? DC: Not.

AP: Hair color: natural or not? DC: Does she or doesn’t she?

AP: What are your special diet tips, if any? DC: Eat whatever you like in moderation.

AP: What do you do for exercise? DC: Zumba, hot yoga and when I am extra good I run.

AP: What are three things that you always have in your fridge? DC: Greek yogurt, San Pellegrino and eggs.

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? DC: Chocolate martini

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? DC: I haven’t discovered it yet; I am all about extremes.

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

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? DC: 1. Carry on, never check luggage. 2. Always replenish your cosmetics upon returning from a trip so that way you just grab your toiletries bag and you are ready to go. 3. Ear plugs and an eye mask.

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. DC: Etta James, Beyonce and Pitbull.

AP: What book are you reading right now? DC: Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner.

AP: Quote to live by. DC: “When people tell you who they are, believe them.”

AP: What is your worst pet peeve? DC: Saying you will do something and not doing it!

AP: What time do you usually wake up in the morning, and how many hours of sleep do you usually get? DC: I try to get up around 7:30am but I need at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep to function.

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? DC: Getting to play with many new beauty products and meeting many inspiring entrepreneurs.

AP: Least favorite thing. DC: Egos.

AP: Who is your mentor? DC: Not one specifically; I get advice from a variety of friends and my parents.

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today.  DC: Figure out what excites you and pursue that for a living; it will make each day exciting. And never burn any bridges.

Having a bad day? Some things to keep in mind…

A bad day. It happens to everyone. And not just on football Sundays when both the Patriots and the Saints lose to their respective nemeses. A few days ago I was starting to have a bad day, and somehow it turned into a better day. It made me think of things I can do to avoid bad days, or transform them when they start happening.

1. My mom always told me to wear a particularly pretty dress, and brighter red lipstick when I “wake up on the wrong side of the bed.” It works every time. Dress up, not down, when you are feeling grumpy.

2. It’s amazing what an extra hour of sleep can do. It gives me a different perspective. It unlocks my creativity. It enables me to solve problems more effectively. When I feel like crap, I give myself permission to sleep more.

3. There is nothing that cures work stress better than working. Even if it is the last thing I want to do, even if I want to do nothing, even if I am over it, just doing some work makes me feel better because at least I am being productive. If I am going to feel like crap, might as well be productive.

4. Related to point #3, sometimes I do the work thing I least want to do when I am feeling down. Again, if I am going to be feeling down anyway, I might as well do the thing that has been hanging over me for weeks – the thing on my to-do list I least want to do. At least then it’s done. No matter how I feel.

5. Enjoy the small things. Even when everything sucks, there is usually beauty in the mundane, in the everyday. The clouds. The tree outside my window. The orchid on my desk. Stop and smell the roses. It helps to put things in perspective.

6. Close a deal. Nothing gives me a better high than a new client, than a new deal. As a few of the Sharks say, “revenue cures all ills.” That includes a bad mood.

7. Avoid email. The emails I wish I had never sent usually happen when I am in a bad mood or upset or annoyed. I try to remind myself to pick up the phone if I receive a frustrating email while in a bad mood. There is something to be said for using a phone as a phone…

8. Perform a random act of kindness. Do something for someone else. Again, my mother always told me that doing something nice for someone is actually doing something nice for yourself. Even more important than how it makes the other person feel is how it will make you feel. Just like red lipstick, this works every time.

9. Think of one thing you are grateful for. Many of my BFFs have started gratitude journals, and now I know why. Nothing like reminding myself of all of the amazing people and things in my life to make me forget about all the things I might think are wrong.

10. Remember that bad days last just as long as good days, and not one second longer.

And finally, I remind myself of yet another thing my mother said. “Choose to be happy,” she recommends; “it is in your power to decide how you feel.” She must be on to something since Tony Robbins agrees: “How you feel is not the result of what is happening in your life – it is your interpretation of what is happening.”

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Disco will never die…

A few weeks ago I got a call from a beloved New Orleanian, Anais St. John, a seductive, talented Jazz vocalist who I first heard singing at the Windsor Court bar (I remember a song about a dentist named Dr. Long John “drilling for cavities”). She was calling to tell me about a Donna Summer show she was doing during Labor Day Weekend in New Orleans. I wanted to ask “Donna who?” but didn’t dare. Don’t blame me. I was born in the late 70s and was raised in Europe. Coincidentally, when this call came in, I was in the car in Tennessee between Memphis and Nashville with a man from Kentucky driving. A man who loves Donna Summer and had just started playing a song of hers.

I took this as a sign from the Universe that I needed to attend that show. So I spent last night at Allways Theatre in the lower Marigny watching Anais become Donna Summer. The first thing I realized is that while I didn’t know the name, I knew the music of the “Queen of disco.” The second thing I realized is that my husband knows all the words to every Donna Summer song. And the third thing I realized is that the evening was quintessentially New Orleans. This was not Karaoke. I was listening to Donna Summer music played by a full band involving keyboards, bass, guitar, drums, percussion, saxophone, two vocalists, and two dancers. An analog version of electronic music performed in the digital age – performed perfectly.

Anais’ three costumes were perfectly disco. She started out in  long-sleeved gold lame deep v-neck dress and bright green eyeshadow. Switched to a sleevless black sequined dress cut even lower, and ended as is to be expected in tight black pants and a sparkling gold top (an outfit that at least a few women in the crowd were wearing).

Anais St John as Donna Summer

Anais St John as Donna Summer

Anais was the perfect impersonation of Donna Summer, and described herself as having much in common with LaDonna Adrian Gaines: “We are both chocolate; both tall; we both have big hair. We both married white men, have a background in musical theater, and a flair for the dramatic.” Indeed!

It was an amazing evening. If I could, I would go back tonight. Summer’s songs are still playing in my head, reminding me of a few key life truths:

  • Sometimes, enough is enough is enough.
  • Love to love the one you love.
  • When all else fails, just dance the night away.
  • Don’t ever stop listening to the radio.
  • Don’t judge a book by its cover. Bad girls are sometimes good girls.
  • Treat everyone with kindness because everyone is working hard for their money.
  • And disco will never die…

A(nother) day in my life…

16-ish months ago I wrote about a day in my life - a day that defined why I love being an entrepreneur. Since then, there have been a number of similarly memorable days that I could have written about – but usually at the end of those days I am too exhausted to put pen to paper (so to speak). Today was one of those days, and despite the late hour, I have to write about it. Today was an amazing day.

5:30 am. Phone alarm goes off. I already miss the days when the sun was shining this time of day… I remember I am in NYC, in my favorite apartment in Tribeca, courtesy of middle-school bestie Trisala whom I have known for 25 years. Morning routine: coffee and emails.

8:00 am. Breakfast with a client at Aselina (I highly recommend this place for breakfast; civilized and quiet). We discuss the trials and tribulations of small beauty companies, the pros and cons of GoogleAdwords and SEO, and how we are going to take over the world. We agree that life is too short to work with people who are not nice.

10:00 am. Meeting of my day – perhaps my week or month. Or my year. I have a one on one with Lynn Tilton of Patriarch Partners, who has been an inspiration ever since I heard her speak at the WWD Beauty CEO Summit. She is possibly the most time-starved entrepreneur in the country, yet I get to spend 53 minutes with her, in the “purple room” in her office. We debate the benefits of red lipstick versus diamonds to cheer a girl up, and then I tell her my story. She listens to me, and then I listen to her. I really listen. My “products are better than my revenue stream” (I think that is better than the reverse?), I need to streamline my pitch, think in terms of poetry, and drive my message to the core. Having heard her speak to an audience, I knew she was inspirational and charismatic. Having now spent time with her in person, I now know she is (not surprisingly) incredibly smart, analytical, generous, and kind. And she tells it like it is. I leave with some new Stila makeup, and more importantly with a renewed desire to better my best, work harder, work smarter, and tell my story better. Thank you Lynn.

11:10 am. Having found the best cabbie in NYC, I make it from Wall Street to mid-town in 17 minutes flat. He gets a good tip. I am 10 minutes late for a meeting with Ricky’s, a meeting that has taken me longer than I care to admit to get. Richard Parrott, the CEO, spoke in Vegas at Cosmoprof and said that he was looking to expand his men’s category. So here I am with my men’s products. Great meeting – stay tuned for results.

12 noon to 4 pm. I visit existing NYC clients with my NYC angel, Arista, who has been part of the Alchimie team for a few years. She is a delight with clients (they all like her more than they like me), I could not hope for a better representation of my brand. And spending time in spas and boutiques, speaking to the owners and to the customers is the best learning experience. No matter how many times I do it, I always learn something – like that the font on our boxes is still not big enough… In between two visits, we stop by Serafina’s to eat and strategize. Our server Stacy was our server this past June (I like to stop at the same places). It makes me smile that she remembers us and gives us a 4-top because she can tell I need room for my laptop.

Le Train Bleu, Bloomingdale's

Le Train Bleu, Bloomingdale’s

4:10 pm. I have 50 minutes of breathing room before my next meeting, which is at 750 Lex. I spend this precious time at Le Train Bleu, in Bloomingdale’s. I catch up on emails, watch the older ladies at the table next to me have a very late lunch (or very early dinner), and the gentleman across the room with his glass of wine and his book. This moment is oh-so very civilized, somewhat old-fashioned, and perfectly quiet.

5:10 pm. I arrive at my first ICMAD board meeting. I have been a member of this organization for 10 years, and now I get to give back to the industry and play a role. I am in awe, sitting a few seats away from Jane Iredale and chatting with Robb Akridge of Clarisonic, who begins the meeting by greeting everyone and making sure we all have his cell phone number should we need to reach him.

9:45 pm. I am back in my favorite place in NYC, at Trisala’s in Tribeca, talking about my day and her about hers. She makes us each a cup of licorice tea, my favorite, and we slowly let the day end and the energy slow and the noise quiet. We need to get our beauty rest and let our brains recover. Tomorrow is another day. May it be as magical as today.

Licorice tea

Licorice tea, good night!

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BeautyView: Karen Terranova, General Manager, Great Jones Spa

Karen Terranova

Karen Terranova, NYC Licensed Aesthetician, General Manager, Great Jones Spa

I met Karen Terranova, NYS licensed aesthetician and General Manager of Great Jones Spa, at a tradeshow in New York City in 2006. I had been to Great Jones Spa, one of the best spas in the Big Apple, and of course pitched Alchimie Forever to her. This summer, she added my products to her skin care assortment. During the 8 years in between, we got to know each other, speaking often about ingredients (what she likes the least about the beauty industry is also what I like the least about the beauty industry), about the benefits and challenges of both organic and medical skin care formulations, and about family business. We became friendly, then friends, and now are finally working together. And still on my bucket list… experiencing a Karen Terranova facial!

AP: What city were you born in? KT: Beechhurst, NY.

AP: What city to do you live in? KT: Bayside, NY.

AP: What is your middle name? KT: Anne.

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

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? KT: I am a Reiki Master, Crystal Practitioner, and when my schedule allows me, I study Botany at the New York Botanical Garden.

AP: What is your most prized possession?KT: A small curio cabinet that holds treasures of the past from my parents and grandparents.

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? KT: My Mother.

AP: Describe your fashion style in three words maximum. KT: NYC Black, Casual, Chic.

AP: Diamonds or pearls? KT: Both – why discriminate!

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret?KT: Exfoliate, mask, moisturize.

AP: What fragrance do you wear? KT: Since 21 I have been wearing Quelques Fleur by Houbigant, I have recently purchased Elie Saab and love it!

AP: Botox or not? KT: Not.

AP: Hair color: natural or not? KT: Some of it is natural and some of it is not.

AP: What do you do for exercise? KT: Cardio, weights and dance.

AP: What are three things that you always have in your fridge? KT: Arugula, fruit, and a yummy french cheese.

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? KT: Lately, Vanilla Martini.

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? KT: Reiki and meditation.

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. KT: Album ” Mai Dire Mai” by  Anna Tatangelo.

AP: What book are you reading right now? KT: Vibrational Medicine by Richard Gerber, MD.

AP: Quote to live by. KT: “When the student is ready, the master appears” Buddhist Proverb.

AP: What is your worst pet peeve? KT: Being late.

AP: What time do you usually wake up in the morning, and how many hours of sleep do you usually get? KT: Rise and shine at 5:20 am. I usually get 7.5 hours of sleep.

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? KT: Overwhelmingly, I hear how people in this industry want to help others; there is such passion and compassion towards humanity.

AP: Least favorite thing. KT: Misinformation regarding ingredients in products.

AP: Who is your mentor? KT: My Mother and my Grandmother.

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today.  KT: Be patient, listen and learn from everyone.

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BeautyView: Alyssa Barrie, Founder & CEO, TravelBeauty.com

Alyssa Barrie, Founder & CEO, TravelBeauty.com

Alyssa Barrie, Founder & CEO, TravelBeauty.com

Some relationships take time to come to fruition. That was the case of my relationship with Alyssa Barie, Founder & CEO of TravelBeauty.com. We met about five years ago when she was working for the New York Times, and had this brilliant idea about a beauty website geared towards travelers. I loved the idea back then, have loved seeing her bring her idea from concept to reality. In the few months since her launch, her company has been featured on TV, in Elle Magazine, and more. Learn more about the brains behind this project (my favorite factoid: she keeps nail polish in the fridge). And don’t pack for your next trip without visiting her website.

AP: What city were you born in? AB: New York City, NY.

AP: What city do you live in? AB: New York City, NY.

AP: What is your middle name? AB: My middle name is actually Barrie. In my twenties I was an actress and stand-up comedian and changed my last name to Barrie because I thought that my real last name, Weiss, sounded too Jewish. I didn’t want people to have preconceived notions of me before I walked through the audition room door. I wanted to make certain that I created my own first impression.

AP: What is your astrological sign? AB: Leo.

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? AB: For 6 years I was an actress and stand-up comedian.

AP: What is your most prized possession? AB: I wouldn’t call it a possession. While possessions can make life a bit nicer or exciting at times, the most important thing in my life is my family.

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? AB: My husband. It’s not anything really so romantic, he is simply the person that I enjoy spending time with the most.

AP: Describe your fashion style in three words maximum. AB: Not possible. I dress completely differently almost every day. I tend to dress for the day or occasion. Stella Adler used to say that your costume gives you the part or helps you get into character. I dress according to the character that I need to be on a given day. It’s always me inside but it’s important to know your audience and dress right for the part.

AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? AB: Funny you should ask. My watch is at the watchmaker being fixed and I feel absolutely naked without it. I keep looking at a bare left wrist that gives no guidance as to what time it is. It’s a Cartier Tank Francaise.

AP: Diamonds or pearls? AB: I would have to say diamonds, but I prefer that they be fancy yellow.

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? AB: Taking care of my skin consistently. That means going for a facial, at least once a quarter and making sure to keep my skin, clean, hydrated, and protected from the elements. I also massage my face on a daily basis to wake up the dermis and muscles under the skin. I believe in being in touch with my body. Just like when we are hungry we generally know what we our bodies are craving, we must listen to our skin too. If you know yourself and your skin, you know what you need on a given day. Sometimes my skin will be dry and will require a richer moisturizer, other times I might have a light breakout and only require a light serum and a dab of moisturizer. Learning to take care of one’s skin means learning to listen to it.

AP: What fragrance do you wear? AB: I typically do not wear a fragrance, but while in Italy, earlier this summer, I found a very light scent called Acqua Dell’Elba, from the Island of Elba on the Tuscan Archipelago. I have been wearing it all summer and love it.

AP: Botox or not? AB: I believe in doing whatever is necessary to feel and look great. If Botox is part of that practice and it works, I am all for that.

AP: Hair color: natural or not? AB: Not. My hair is actually colored to look faux! I believe in committing to a look and going for it! I color my hair and am proud!

AP: What are your special diet tips, if any? AB: I believe in listening to my body. If you sit with yourself quietly for a moment, you can feel if you are hungry, full, about to be hungry etc. I eat when I am hungry and stop when I am satiated. Growing up I fought with eating disorders galore and found peace by tuning into my body.

AP: What do you do for exercise? AB: I used to be so good about exercising but not so much anymore. When I do, I play tennis, do TRX or Physique 57. I need something hard-core.

AP: What are three things that you always have in your fridge? AB: Nail polish, jarred Italian capers and Stonewall Country Ketchup. With the exception of the nail polish, in moments of desperation, a meal can be made from these items.

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? AB: Barley flavored Shochu. Very tasty, very strong…..no hangover.

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? AB: I struggle with this. Right now I work significantly more than I do anything else. What has helped me is scheduling things that I know I need to fit into my day. As pathetic as it may sound, that might include having dinner with my husband or scheduling some time to read a book.

AP: How many miles do you fly per year on average? AB: I fly at least five or six times a year sometimes more. I would say around 34,000 miles, mostly to Europe and Israel.

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? AB: 1. Don’t skimp on what you need! People end up compromising on what they take with them when they travel, whether it’s clothing, shoes or beauty and grooming products because they feel they must. It’s hard to feel your best when you don’t have your best stuff with you!  So take it all! 2. As much as possible, pack clothes and beauty products that multitask. Whether it’s a blazer that you can pair with dress pants or jeans, or face oil that can also be used on the hair, body and nail cuticles. 3. When flying, resist the urge to apply eye makeup. It can really dry the skin around the eyes, and combined with dry cabin air, can cause puffy lids. A simple cleansing and moisturizing regimen is your best bet. If you must cover your skin, try a BB Cream over a light serum.

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. AB: Right now I am listening to mixed songs by Paolo Conte, The Stars and The Afghan Whigs.

AP: What book are you reading right now? AB: David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell.

AP: Quote to live by. AB: ”Success can depend on tiny things,” Vincent Van Gogh.

AP: What is your worst pet peeve? AB: Pet Peeves. Everyone has something that really irks him or her. The sooner we move on and focus on what we love, the better off we will be.

AP: What time do you usually wake up in the morning, and how many hours of sleep do you usually get? AB: I typically wake up at 5:30am and get at least 7.5 hours of sleep. I can’t function optimally with less.

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? AB: Working in an industry that one is passionate is about is extremely rewarding and I am OCD about products. With so much new technology and product on the horizon, the prospect of finding incredible brands and products is very exciting.

AP: Least favorite thing. AB: I can’t think of one!

AP: Who is your mentor? AB: My mother. She is a successful entrepreneur and a trailblazer in her field. My work ethic comes from her. She taught my brother and I to have respect for everyone and stressed the importance of being charitable, compassionate and a good person. These are values I hold dear.

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. AB: Be open minded and learn everything you can from everyone you come into contact with. Make certain that you have a voice and your voice is heard. Know that you will get further with kindness, but expect that if you are driven and successful you will have critics and that is ok. Don’t worry too much about what people think of you.

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Being Swiss… on Swiss National Day

Today is Friday, August 1. Other than the fact that it is Friday, that we can say TGIF, what, might you ask is there to celebrate. Well, two things. First, August 1 is Swiss National Day – our equivalent of your July 4th.

Second, unrelated, in any way other than timing, I am celebrating the first national piece of press on my sisters and I. We are the Polla sisters. And now, the Alchimie Forever sisters. Thank you Vanity Fair.

Perhaps it is indeed all related beyond timing, since we are Swiss. What do you think of when you think of Switzerland? Probably skiing; chocolate; watches; cheese. (If you are thinking about IKEA right about now, you are getting your Sw countries confused…). Here are a few more, perhaps less well knows, typically Swiss traits.

-       We are punctual (maybe because we like watches so much). In Switzerland, being on time means being 5 minutes early. Or, as my Mom always said, “The only way to ever be on time is to always be early.”

-       We cherish “Apero time.” This is our version of “happy hour.” “Apero” being short for aperitif. No beer, no chips. Instead, white wine or champagne, with olives and cheese. At 5 pm on the dot, any day of the week, apero rarely lasts just an hour.

-       We have to introduce ourselves to everyone when arriving at a party; a seated dinner party; a cocktail party; a holiday party… this makes being early or on time particularly desirable, as the rounds of introductions are more manageable when most guests have yet to arrive.

-       We don’t touch our drinks until everyone we are with has a drink. This is true at a bar, at apero, at dinner, and everywhere in between. Only once everyone has their drink do we do cheers, and take our first sip. Anything else would be considered rude.

-       This may in part be caused by the fact that doing cheers is not only an absolute must, but we must look in the eyes while doing it. Why? Well… if you don’t you will be punished with 9 (some say 7) years of bad sex. So don’t ever clink your glass without looking that one person in the eye.

On this special Swiss day, I wish my sisters, and my Swiss family, a particularly happy Friday. And to all of you non-Swiss, TGIF!

The Polla Sisters: Ada, Rachel, Roxane, Cyrille

The Polla Sisters: Ada, Rachel, Roxane, Cyrille

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