Branding with Branders…

what-is-branding-hed-2015

I have a deep admiration for branding experts. A couple of years ago, when working on a branding project for Alchimie Forever with Kelly Kovack, I realized that I had never given branding and marketing enough respect. It would not occur to me to formulate a product without the assistance of a professional formulator and laboratory. However, it had occurred to me to try to define my brand without the assistance of an expert. Why? Because it seems branding and marketing are easy. They are not. Creating the perfect brand is not any easier than formulating the perfect cream.

I was reminded of this point earlier this week as I had the opportunity of participating in a branding meeting led by the boutique firm Branders. Based in Zurich (perhaps the cooler and hipper city in this conservative country that is my homeland), Branders works with clients all over the world to create brands that elicit responses, foster sympathy, and inspire loyalty. I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with Marisa and Thea, learning more about this firm that employs 20 brand specialists from 8 nationalities, and has been in business for 10 years.

Branders know brands!

Branders know brands!

Beyond working on a project for Forever Laser Institut, I was reminded of a few branding best practices over lunch. For effective branding, you must:

  1. Tell your own compelling and true story
  2. Be relevant to your target groups
  3. Stand out in everything you do
  4. Focus on what you do best
  5. Be consistent in order to develop a strong identity…
  6. Yet remain agile so you can adapt to relevant market changes
  7. Turn your employees and customers into brand ambassadors

The Branders team also works on visual storytelling. Beyond words, images can tell a tale. Too often, however, brands’ visual aesthetics lack consistency – in perspective, light and color palettes, sharpness and focus, cropping, and image composition like backgrounds and symmetry or asymmetry.

It sounds so easy and logical. Yet it takes a special mind, and special skills…

brand image

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BeautyView: Deanna Melluso, Fashion and Celebrity Makeup Artist

Deanna Meluso

Deanna Melluso, Fashion and Celebrity Makeup Artist

Makeup artists are like magicians. While I personally use minimal makeup (mascara and lipstick, sometimes a third product), I am fascinated by the transformation that can happen when the right makeup is used by the right artist. I am also fascinated by the fact that the makeup artists I have had the pleasure to meet remind me of the visual artists I grew up surrounded with thanks to my parents’ involvement in the contemporary art world. Both groups are similarly creative, visual, and creators (cravors?) of beauty. Deanna Melluso, fashion and celebrity makeup artist (represented by The Wall Group), has the added charm of looking like Cher when she was at the height of her youth and beauty, and of having a fabulous sense of humor (follow her on Instagram to giggle daily… one of my favorites, relevant to today: “If Monday had a face, I would punch it.”).

AP: What city were you born in? DM: Brooklyn, NY.

AP: What city to do you live in? DM: New York, NY. Not far from where I was born… (Editor’s note: Another favorite Instagram post admitted “Why go to therapy when I can just live in New York and be weird?”)

AP: What is your middle name? DM: Leigh.

AP: What is your astrological sign? DM: Aries.

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? DM: I love classic movies. I get lost in the hair makeup and styling. For example, Singing in the Rain is one of my favorites…

AP: What is your most prized possession? DM: My record collection.

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? DM: Tina Turner.

AP: Describe your fashion style in three words maximum. DM: 80s, sporty, goth.

AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? DM: I don’t like watches…

AP: Diamonds or pearls? DM: Diamonds, but only if they are vintage, like from the 30s or 40s.

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? DM: I love using dry oil mixed with moisturizer. It keeps the skin dewy and fresh.

AP: What fragrance do you wear? DM: My fragrance is Sud Pacifique in Aqua Moto; it smells like then beach and coconut which I’m obsessed with.

AP: Botox or not? DM: I am not sure… As long as it’s not too much, and if it makes you feel good I guess why not.

AP: Hair color: natural or not? DM: Natural but if I had straight hair I would color it all the time.

AP: What are your special diet tips, if any? DM: Drink lots of water, take probiotics and omega 3 oil, and eat avocado, which will help your skin glow.

AP: What do you do for exercise? DM: I do a lot… I do Pilates, cycling and lots of squats and a boot camp. I love the working out good to clear your head.

AP: What are three things that you always have in your fridge? DM: Avocado (see my diet tips recommendation); almond milk; and Justin’s almond butter.

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? DM: A great margarita, but without the sugar.

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? DM: The secret to work and a balance life is give yourself time, and spend time with friends. I have  also started to meditate and that has been helpful.

AP: How many miles do you fly per year on average? DM: My miles per year vary year over year. I  hope to fly more this year and get to Thailand. Any takers?

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? DM: 1. When I get on the plane I usually put on a moisture mask or Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream to help with the plane drying my skin out. 2. I drink lots of water. 3. I always carry a mini emergency bag with toiletries.

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. DM: Arcade Fire Reflector, D’Angelo Ain’t that Easy, and Beyoncé Run the World (Girls).

AP: What book are you reading right now? DM: Girl Boss by Sophia Amuruso from Nasty Gal.

AP: Quote to live by. DM: I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that’s me.” Maya Angelou.

AP: What is your worst pet peeve? DM: A 5-floor walkup!

AP: What time do you usually wake up in the morning, and how many hours of sleep do you usually get? DM: My mornings vary depending on my jobs. If I work a full day, I usually get up at 5:30 and go to the gym. If I’m not working I get up around 7:30 or 8. If I had it my way I would sleep for 8 hours every night. I don’t have it my way however…

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? DM: The creativity that the industry breeds, and being able to meet so many interesting people.

AP: Your least favorite thing: DM: Chapped, dry lips.

AP: Who is your mentor? DM: This is a tough one but I would say my Grandma who is a strong women and has been through a lot. Also she loves her makeup.

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. DM: Believe in yourself, keep moving forward  and stand up for what you believe in.

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“You do you” and other pearls of wisdom from Jennifer Worley, Co-Founder/Owner & Chief Operating Officer, The Face Haus

Jennifer Worley

Jennifer Worley, Co-Founder/Owner & Chief Operating Officer, The Face Haus  

A few of the things I like best about the US are entrepreneurship, dynamism, and people’s openness and willingness to share their stories. Jennifer Worley, Co-Founder/Owner & Chief Operating Officer of The Face Haus, embodies all three. I cold emailed her a long introduction email listing the many things I admired about her concept and story, and asked if we might meet for coffee in sunny LA. And we did, sharing stories about the beauty industry, new trends in the business, the joys and frustrations of owning our own businesses. I learned more about The Face Haus, the brainchild she had with two girlfriends, a concept she describes as “the Dry Bar of facials.” Focused on results-oriented, no frills, 45 minute treatments, her locations attract teenagers, men, and the traditional spa guest. With two locations and many more on the way, a family to take care of (along with a plethora of pets as you will see below), Jennifer still found time to share her story.

AP: What city were you born in? JW: I was born in sunny Long Beach, California.

AP: What city to do you live in? JW: I live in Pasadena CA with my husband, four kids, two dogs, rabbit (my least favorite housemate) and fish.

AP: What is your middle name? JW: Lisa, which strangely always reminds me of a porn star name from the 80’s.

AP: What is your astrological sign? JW: I’m a Cancer: motherly, creative and always in need of a comfy home base.

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? JW: I worked as deckhand on an Alaskan fishing boat. True story.

AP: What is your most prized possession? JW: My sense of joy.

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? JW: My great great grandmother Lucy Fox.

AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? JW: Nope. Viva la iPhone.

AP: Diamonds or pearls? JW: Rose gold.

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? JW: Exfoliate and hydrate even if you’re low maintenance like me. And ALWAYS wear sunscreen.

AP: What fragrance do you wear? JW: Two favorites: Byredo bal d’afrique  and Le Labo Rose 31.

AP: Botox or not? JW: Whatever makes people feel good about themselves. Definitely a little freaked out about the whole Botulism idea though.

AP: Hair color: natural or not? JW: Both rock!

AP: What are your special diet tips, if any? JW: Eat fresh whole foods.

AP: What are three things that you always have in your fridge? JW: Sparkling water, Lemon and Salam Oelek (if you don’t know what this is – GET IT!).

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? JW: My Face Haus partners and I have a tradition of drinking Jalapeño Margaritas with fresh lime juice for good luck.

AP: What book are you reading right now? JW: The Rosie Project and Boys on the Boat. 

AP: Quote to live by.  JW: “You do You.” My family chooses a motto each year and “You do You” won for 2015.

AP: What time do you usually wake up in the morning, and how many hours of sleep do you usually get? JW: It depends, and not enough!

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? JW: People glowing with self-confidence.

AP: Least favorite thing. JW: Unreliability.

AP: Who is your mentor? JW: Anyone who inspires me to challenge myself.

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. JW: As my 15 year old would say “Haters gonna hate.” Surround yourself with inspiring supportive people, work hard, and get back up when you fail. And don’t forget to pause and enjoy what’s around you.

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Your skin can’t keep secrets… what can a dermatologist know about you just by looking at you?

So you remember those days when you were a kid and you were trying to hide things from your parents? And somehow it never worked? At least not for me… I remember skipping ballet class one single time… and of course that is the time my Mom decided to come pick me up (something she had never done before and never did since). You would think being an adult (I think 37 qualifies) would mean I would not have to worry about hiding things from my parents anymore… and I don’t. But I still can’t get away with much… because my skin can’t hold a secret. And neither can yours.

Your skin conffesses for your...

Your skin confesses for you…

Do you know what your skin says about you? To the trained eye of a dermatologist, a lot… I had to ask my Dad, aka Dr. Luigi L. Polla, how he always knows so much about my sisters and me … Apparently, our skin speaks. What can a dermatologist know about you just by looking at you? Here is what my skin says about me:

1. I sleep on my left side more than I sleep on my right side. My “left side” wrinkles are more pronounced; the left side of my face is slower to move when I laugh or make facial expressions, i.e. my skin reacts more slowly to my expressions. I have less volume in the left side of my face. (Yes, these are the things my Dad mentions when he looks at me… among others LOL).

2. I am not sleeping enough. I have dark circles under my eyes, and the peri-orbital fine lines I am starting to see are deeper than usual. My face looks “stressed.”

3. I don’t smoke. At least something positive… I don’t have that greyish tinge that smokers tend to get, and I do have luminosity in my complexion. I don’t have a “bar code” on my upper lip, which is a sure sign of smoking (or sometimes too much drinking through a straw).

4. I enjoy champagne and wine but I don’t over-indulge. I don’t have broken capillaries and I don’t flush easily. I don’t have accentuated lines and less delicate features. My skin is not “thicker” as it typically is when too much alcohol is imbibed.

5. I am not a sun worshipper. Actually, I actively avoid the sun or protect myself form the sun. I don’t have uneven pigmentation or too many sunspots. I don’t have a million little fine lines all over my face. I don’t have the parchment-like, thinner skin that is an indication that sun exposure has led to an accelerated breakdown of collagen.

6. I don’t take cortisone. I don’t have that swollen look, or a puffy face.

7. I don’t eat spicy foods. My face isn’t flushed, red, and I don’t have those micro-breakouts often associated with heavy spice.

8. I don’t take testosterone supplements. I don’t have cystic acne, as is often associated with higher-than average levels of this male hormone.

9. I am not depressed. My wrinkles don’t all “face downward,” and my lips certainly don’t; and I don’t have bags under my eyes, or “sad eyes.”

10. I am in love. My lips can’t help but curl up and smile and my eyes are wide open with a dreamy look in them.

11. I am not going through any major hormonal transition. Aka my skin is not currently “freaking out.” Enough said Dad, thank you!

Thanks Dad for telling me what's up!

Thanks Dad for telling me what’s up!

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Her most prized possession is an Ironman medal. Meet Hilary Phelps, the woman behind the medal.

Hilary Phelps

Hilary Phelps, Founder and Creative Director, GJ Media and HilaryPhelps.com

I like my girlfriends smart, successful, and beautiful inside and out, and I am lucky to be surrounded by many that fit this description. Hilary Phelps, Founder and Creative Director, GJ Media and HilaryPhelps.com is a perfect example. I am forever indebted to Andrea Kremer for having introduced the two of us. Andrea knew Hilary and I would get along because we share owning our own businesses, a love of football (although we root for competing teams…), and a no nonsense outlook to life. And, go figure, neither of us love crowds!

AP: What city were you born in? HP: Baltimore, MD.

AP: What city to do you live in? HP: Arlington, VA.

AP: What is your middle name? HP: Kristin.

AP: What is your astrological sign? HP: Pisces.

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? HP: I don’t like crowds.  I spend a lot of time in them, be it a reception, a party, a networking or sporting event, but I don’t particularly like them. I prefer small groups and one-on-one interaction.

AP: What is your most prized possession? HP: The medal I was handed as I crossed the finish line at the 2010 Lake Placid Ironman 140.6.  When I registered for the race I had never ran a marathon, didn’t own a bike and hadn’t swam a lap since I hung up my goggles post-college — and the race was 8 months away. It proved to me that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to achieving.

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? HP: My boyfriend of 5.5 years — I treasure the time we spend together, one-on-one.  Or Albert Einstein. I’ve always been fascinated by his achievements, oddness and intelligence.

AP: Describe your fashion style in three words maximum. HP: Tailored, minimal, classic.

AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? HP: Yes, Shinola, The Runwell 36mm.

AP: Diamonds or pearls? HP: Diamonds in my ears and pearls around my neck.

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? HP: Drink water and wear sunscreen.

AP: What fragrance do you wear? HP: Coco Chanel or Burberry.

AP: Botox or not? HP: I haven’t had it to date, but I’m not against it and would consider getting in the future.

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

AP: What are your special diet tips, if any? HP: Eat as close to the source as possible and don’t eat anything that has ingredients you can’t pronounce.

AP: What do you do for exercise? HP: Unless I’m training for a race (triathlon or running), I like to mix it up: Zengo (indoor cycling), Yoga, Pilates reformer and mat, Dancing, trampoline…

AP: What are three things that you always have in your fridge? HP: Eggs, kombucha, almond milk.

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? HP: Sparkling water with lime — I don’t drink alcohol.

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? HP: I love what I do, so for me, it’s just life.  I do try to unplug during the weekend and detach from my phone. I read a great piece in WSJ on Ivanka Trump about how she unplugs for an entire day during the weekend and spends it with family.  I admire that. Family, friends and loved ones are the most important things in the world.

AP: How many miles do you fly per year on average? HP: Maybe 10,000; I do a lot of my travel to New York and I take the train.

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? HP: Drink water, pack a snack and pack anything you will need for an overnight stay in your carry-on.  I’ve had bad luck recently on a few trips where I checked my bags and learned the hard way to keep a few necessities in my carry-on.

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. HP: Taylor Swift “Shake it Off” Jay Z “Run this Town” and Darude “Sandstorm.”

AP: What book are you reading right now? HP: The New Healthy Rules by Frank Lipman and The Art of Conversation by Catherine Blyth.

AP: Quote to live by. HP: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Change starts and ends with ourselves — this quote is a good reminder of that.

AP: What is your worst pet peeve? HP: When people take up two parking spots. I lived in DC for years and am in the city a few times a week, so it drives me crazy when I’m looking for a parallel parking spot and someone pulls right in the middle of two, so no one (other than a tiny smartcar) can fit in front or behind. Very frustrating!

AP: What time do you usually wake up in the morning, and how many hours of sleep do you usually get? HP: I go to bed between 10-10:30pm and wake up around 6am. I need a solid 8 hours of sleep to function, it’s just the way I’m wired. If I get less, it throws me off and affects mood. I love my sleep!

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? HP: The way putting on lipstick can literally lift your mood

AP: Least favorite thing. HP: Information overload. Not knowing how to decipher what ingredient does and whether or not I really need it to help nourish my skin.

AP: Who is your mentor? HP: I have a few across a variety of networks/career paths.  I’m grateful for women who have helped me and I truly hope that I can pass that along to the younger generation.

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. HP: Never give up. Don’t quit before the miracle happens. Right when you’re ready to give-up is when something really great happens. Trust me. Stick with it.

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You think you know Kelly Collis, Co-Host, Tommy Morning Show 94.7 Fresh FM & Publisher, CityShopGirl… but do you know what her pet peeve is?

Kelly Collis

Kelly Collis, Co-Host Tommy Morning Show 94.7 Fresh FM and Publisher, CityShopGirl

It is past 10 pm in the nation’s capital, so Kelly Collis, Co-Host, Tommy Morning Show 94.7 Fresh FM and Publisher, CityShopGirl, is probably asleep. She has to be, given that she wakes up before 4 am for work every day. If you listen to her show, you know a lot about Kelly – she is very open and personal on air. You know she is from DC through and through. You know about her contentious divorce, her engagement, and her upcoming wedding. You know about her two amazing kids. You know she is funny and can be intense. And you know she is amazing at what she does (sometimes I think her show should be called The Kelly Show… sorry Tommy!). She is also an amazing friend and has given by far the best answer to the question about her “favorite thing about the beauty industry” (keep reading).

AP: What city were you born in? KC: Washington, DC.

AP: What city to do you live in? KC: Washington, DC.

AP: What is your middle name? KC: Margaret (but I am thinking of adding my fiance’s last name to my middle name because I am NOT changing my last name!).

AP: What is your astrological sign? KC: Capricorn.

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? KC: I have a BA in Economics and had aspirations to have a political career.

AP: What is your most prized possession? KC: I don’t really own my 2 kids but they are my greatest creation. Prized possession is my quilted leather Chanel purse.

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? KC: Jackie Kennedy.

AP: Describe your fashion style in three words maximum. KC: Black Denim High Heels.

AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? KC: Cartier Panther Platinum.

AP: Diamonds or pearls? KC: Diamonds.

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? KC: I can’t do just one! A flat iron and pedicures year round.

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

AP: Botox or not? KC: Botox.

AP: Hair color: natural or not? KC: When gray hair appeared, absolutely color.

AP: What are your special diet tips, if any? KC: Moderation.

AP: What do you do for exercise? KC: Yoga. I just discovered Solidcore which will kick your butt, and when I don’t have time for a class I love Barre 3’s online classes.

AP: What are three things that you always have in your fridge? KC: Club soda, champagne, and milk (for the kids).

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? KC: Red wine.

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? KC: There is no such thing as balance and I am ok with that…sometimes I am really good at life and bad at work and vice versa.

AP: How many miles do you fly per year on average? KC: I have no idea.

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? KC: Always have a charger pack or 2, lip balm, moisturizer and hand sanitizer in your carry on.

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. KC: Beast of Burden from 50 Shades soundtrak, I Bet My Life by Imagine Dragons, FourFiveSeconds by Rihanna, Kayne and Paul McCartney.

AP: What book are you reading right now? KC: If I Stay by Gayle Forman.

AP: Quote to live by. KC: “A happy woman is one who has no cares at all; a cheerful woman is one who has cares but doesn’t let them get her down.”

AP: What is your worst pet peeve? KC: When people say ” I am so busy.” We are all busy it doesn’t matter what you do or what is your situation.

AP: What time do you usually wake up in the morning, and how many hours of sleep do you usually get? KC: I wake at 3:30 am, I am live on the air ay 5 am. I am good with 4-5 hours at night and try to nap at least 20 minutes in the afternoon (if I plan it right I can get 90 minutes).

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? KC: Ada Polla. (Editor’s note: WAA!!! Most amazing answer ever!)

AP: Least favorite thing. KC: Over-priced lipsticks

AP: Who is your mentor? KC: I worked for Congressman Tom Davis in my mid-20s and he was great mentor about life and career. He was always extremely patient, very loyal to his team and a role model of how to be a great mentor and manager. I still keep in touch with him to this day.

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. KC: Work hard in your youth so you can have career options when you are older.

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Super Bowl 49

Pure joy

Pure joy

Last night was one of happiest night of my life. I got to see my beloved Patriots win Super Bowl 49, live, with the love of my life standing and cheering right there beside me.

There are so many amazing things about last night, many I know will continue to be debated about or disagreed with by fans who love the Seahawks as much as I love the Patriots. And to them, I send my love and the promise that tomorrow will be easier than today. I have felt their pain twice in the last seven years, and it sucks.

What I want to never forget about last night are the lessons I was reminded of throughout the game. In effect, lessons I already know and that are some of the reasons I love American football so much. Lessons that the Patriots embody day in and day out. Lessons that are applicable as much on the field, as off the field.

Pure gratitude

Pure gratitude

It’s all in (y)our head.

One might expect that throwing two interceptions in the biggest game of the year might mess with your composure, your strategy, your ability to execute. That a 10 point deficit at the beginning of the fourth quarter might mean losing faith and giving up. Not the Patriots. Mental toughness means you don’t let an interception, or two, rattle you. You just keep improving, keep fixing things and adjusting plays until you win.

Do your job.

While this seems obvious, it’s not as easy as it sounds. When everyone does their job, the job gets done. This resonates with me from my college rowing years. The only way for the boat to go anywhere is for every single person to show up, and do their job. Unless everyone shows up, no matter how talented the people on the boat who do show up, the boat does not go anywhere. When everyone shows up but the stroke tries to do the coxswain’s job, the boat does not go anywhere. Show up. Do your job, not anyone else’s job – yours.

It’s not over until it’s over.

The catch by Kearse and the interception by Butler should forever remind fans that a game can change in just a few seconds, and that the game is a sixty minute game.

Perfect practice makes perfect.

Many will say that the interception by Butler is an amazingly lucky catch. And of course luck should not be underestimated. But luck smiles to those who are prepared for it. That play was practiced by the Patriots over and over again. Butler also recognized the Seahawks’ formation and knew a throw was coming. He positioned himself accordingly. That has nothing to do with luck. That has to do with perfect practice.

Hard work, discipline, and commitment always win.

No explanation necessary.

Humility is attractive.

While Brady once told Kraft that he was going to be the best decision the team ever made, he is graciously humble. When the team does a bad job, it is because of his “shitty throws.” When the team does a good job, it is because the team does a good job.

A piece of my heart stayed in Boston.

Boston was my first home away from home, the first American city I fell in love with. And while I consider DC (and New Orleans) my American home(s), part of my heart still (and always will) belongs to Boston, to New England. We walk to work uphill in the snow, both ways. We are tough. We love adversity (weather and otherwise). We work hard. We don’t pretend to be who we are not. We have Mark Wahlberg and Matt Damon.

The Universe knows.

Most of all, I wonder in awe about how it is that I ended up at the University of Phoenix stadium last night. The short answer is that I have an amazing husband who understands my crazy passion for the Patriots. The long answer is, well, longer. A few years ago, I wrote about all of the reasons I am thankful for football. A friend in Boston read it and forwarded it to his friend, Andrea Kremer. She opened that email and read it. And then emailed me. And we have developed a friendship around our football connection. It was thanks to this friendship that Super Bowl tickets materialized. I have had on my bucket list since January 2005 to see the Patriots win a Superbowl with Brady as quarterback and Belichick as coach, live. Ask the Universe, and the Universe will know and answer. And thank you Edwin for helping the Universe along.

Ceebrating!

Celebrating with a new friend

Sharing the love with a perfect stranger

Sharing the love with a perfect stranger

“You come to work, to work” and other wisdom from Sarah Gibson Tuttle, Founder, Olive & June

Sarah Gibson Tuttle

Sarah Gibson Tuttle, Founder, Olive & June

There is nothing I love more than the story of a woman succeeding in corporate America (in this case on Wall Street) and then having the courage to leave to pursue her passion. In particular if that means following dreams of entrepreneurship. And even more when those dreams lead to the beauty industry. This is the story of Sarah Gibson Tuttle. After a career at JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley, she moved from NYC to LA, and opened Olive & June, the “drybar” of nails, named after her grandmother and great-grandmother. Today, with her first location is cash flow positive, she is looking to open a second one. And more after that. And she is pregnant. Not surprising, when you know her quote to live by is “Anything is possible”!

Olive & June

Olive & June

AP: What city were you born in? SGT: Stamford, CT .

AP: What city to do you live in? SGT: Los Angeles, CA.

AP: What is your middle name? SGT: Gibson. My mother’s maiden and my favorite part of my name.

AP: What is your astrological sign? SGT: Libra.

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? SGT: Candy is my favorite food group.

AP: What is your most prized possession? SGT: My wedding ring.

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? SGT: My husband. We never see enough of each other!

AP: Describe your fashion style in three words maximum. SGT: What feels good.

AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? SGT: Yes, a vintage gold Rolex.

AP: Diamonds or pearls? SGT: Diamonds.

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? SGT: Sunscreen.

AP: What fragrance do you wear? SGT: I like to change it up but right now my favorite scent to wear is Tata Harper’s Revitalizing Body Oil.

AP: Botox or not? SGT: Not yet, but not ruling it out.

AP: Hair color: natural or not? SGT: Whatever makes you happy! For me, that’s covering my greys.

AP: What are your special diet tips, if any? SGT: Finding something sweet that satisfies my sweet tooth, but is still healthy. It’s so hard!

AP: What do you do for exercise? SGT: Tracy Anderson and yoga.

AP: What are three things that you always have in your fridge? SGT: Greek yogurt, pineapple and bottles of champagne to bring to parties for the hostess!

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? SGT: I am pregnant, so right now it’s this amazing Apple Ginger Coconut juice from Beverly Hills Juice Club in LA.

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? SGT: Prioritizing what is important. Sounds simple, but it’s a hard thing to actually do.

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? SGT: Tons of soft cozy layers, yummy snacks and TSA precheck.

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. SGT: Taylor Swift’s entire 1984 album. Ed Sheeran. J Lo’s Jenny From The Block (it just doesn’t get old!).

AP: What book are you reading right now? SGT: Bringing Up Bebe

AP: Quote to live by? SGT: Anything is possible.

AP: What is your worst pet peeve? SGT: Arrogance.

AP: What time do you usually wake up in the morning, and how many hours of sleep do you usually get? SGT: 7am, 5hrs of sleep on average.

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? SGT: The way beauty products make women feel.

AP: Least favorite thing. SGT: When companies lie to us about the ingredients.

AP: Who is your mentor? SGT: I am lucky to call a few people mentors, but one of my former bosses was especially motivating. He worked harder than anyone else, never missed a day, refused to complain, just got it done every day. I remember he said, “You come to work, to work.” That was one of the most impactful things anyone has ever told me because it’s simple and true.

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. SGT: Work as hard as you can, never shy away from a challenge and keep learning. Read any sort of book, magazine, online article or take a class – stay fresh and engaged!

Olive & June

Olive & June

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Serious Business 2015: On being naked

Get naked!

Get naked!

As always at the close of Serious Business, I feel inspired, excited, and exhausted. The theme was transparency, openness, authenticity, and this year’s conference was the best one yet (although I do find myself saying that every year). A number of one-liners from the general session speakers keep running through my head…

From Brené  Brown:

- “Tell me what you love(d) about this.” Use this question when someone says “I wish we still did X.” It opens up the dialogue and allows you to understand what is really the question at hand (and is a more productive response than the defensive reaction that might come automatically).

– Don’t use the “invisible army” when making a point. What is the “invisible army” you might ask? Is is the “Everyones” and the “Alls” – “everyone loves it” or “we all think.” State your opinion as your own opinion, Brené says, before adding “The invisible army is chicken shit.”

- “What is worth doing even if you fail?” is an even more powerful way to look at failure and risk than the well-known phrase “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?”

From Marcus Buckingham:

- Who is on your personal board of directors? Have one, and let them know.

- “What are your priorities this week, and how can I help?” As this question of each of your team members each week, instead of status updates or “one on ones.” Instead, every week, ask each of your team members

- Remember that a year is 52 sprints. We are on sprint #3 already for 2015… 

- Don’t give feedback. Coach. As my brother-in-law Tatum says: “feedback is a problem without a solution.”

- A person will grow most in the areas she is already strong in. Don’t focus on “fixing” your weaknesses; instead, focus on growing in those areas you are already strong in.

See you next year Serious Business!

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What it takes to be the Medical Director of Forever Laser Institut… Violette Parzin Gribinski tells all

Violette Parzin Gribinski, Medical Director, Forever Laser Institut

Violette Parzin Gribinski, Medical Director, Forever Laser Institut

Violette Parzin Girbinski, MD, is an amazing woman for many reasons. Not least of them, she has recently joined the team of Forever Laser Institut as Medical Director, the first to take this role and embrace this position since my father started our medical spa. It takes a woman of character, talent, excellence (medical and otherwise), and patience to lead, innovate, and enhance Forever Laser Institut. I could not be happier to have her join our team!

AP: What city were you born in? VPG: Teheran, Iran.

AP: What city to do you live in? VPG: Lausanne, Switzerland.

AP: What is your middle name? VPG: I don’t have one…

AP: What is your astrological sign? VPG: Cancer. Which means I am kind, intuitive, family-oriented, and do not like conflict…

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know?  VPG: I love to paint!

AP: What is your most prized possession?  VPG: My twins. They are my life.

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? VPG: Angela Merkel. She is such a strong leader.

AP: Describe your fashion style in three words maximum. VPG: Classic chic.

AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? VPG: Yes always! And always Jaegger Lecoultre.

AP: Diamonds or pearls? VPG: Both – why limit yourself?!

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? VPG: I sleep a lot.

AP: What fragrance do you wear? VPG: Private Collection by Estee Lauder.

AP: Botox or not? VPG: For sure! I use it, and I recommend it to my patients.

AP: Hair color: natural or not? VPG: Not.

AP: What are your special diet tips, if any? VPG: Never diet!

AP: What do you do for exercise? VPG: I swim. It combines cardio and muscle development and the water is peaceful and quiet.

AP: What are three things that you always have in your fridge? VPG: Milk, cheese and eggs.

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? VPG: Martini Rosso on the rocks. Just sweet enough. Do not confuse this with “a martini.”

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? VPG: Organization.

AP: How many miles do you fly per year on average? VPG: Not enough.

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? VPG: Don’t eat on the plane, sleep, and smile to the customer service people at checkin and to the flight attendants on the plane.

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. VPG: Anything by Avishai Cohen, an amazing Israeli Jazz bassist.

AP: What book are you reading right now? VPG: Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman… we all need to know more about this subject.

AP: Quote to live by. VPG: I live by quotes… too many to quote!

AP: What is your worst pet peeve? VPG: Snakes – and anyone who loves them!

AP: What time do you usually wake up in the morning, and how many hours of sleep do you usually get? VPG: I wake up at 6:30 am and have to sleep a minimum of 8 hours… it’s my beauty secret, remember?

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? VPG: It changes all the time and new technologies come out all the time.

AP: Least favorite thing. VPG: It changes all the time and new technologies come out all the time. Meaning I can never master it fully!

AP: Who is your mentor? VPG: My father.

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. VPG: Persevere. Never give up. Never take no for an answer. You can do it!

Violette of Forever Laser Institute with Anne of Alchimie Forever

Violette of Forever Laser Institute with Anne of Alchimie Forever

 

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