Thank you Mom

Mom and me

Mom and me

My mother does not embrace Mother’s Day. If you know her, you know she is quite exceptional, and quite non-traditional. And you know I adore her. I don’t celebrate her today, because that would not be to her liking. But I do celebrate all of the things she has taught me over the years. My most valuable lessons. I have written about these over the years, including here – these lessons are not new, yet like most lessons in life, they are best heard over and over again. And certainly, they are lessons I think of every day.

  1. You don’t have time. You make time. If it is important, it will make it on your calendar. Don’t use that excuse.
  2. On that note – schedule everything. Schedule time with yourself (for quiet, daydreaming thinking), schedule exercise time, schedule friend time. If it makes it on your calendar, it will happen.
  3. Red lipstick fixes everything. Find the red lipstick that suits your skin tone, and use it. Often.
  4. Have champagne to celebrate the big things, and the small things (translation: if you save the champagne to celebrate the big things, you won’t have enough champagne in your life).
  5. Guilt is an emotion invented by men to make women feel bad. Don’t ever feel it.
  6. The success of one woman is the success of all women. Always celebrate other women’s successes. Truly, and genuinely.
  7. The only path to happiness is to find harmony between your values, your actions, and your thoughts and feelings.
  8. The consequence of rule #7 is that you should never do anything just because society expects it – it will lead to conflicts between your values, actions, and thoughts and feelings.
  9. Spend time alone, taking care of yourself. You can’t take care of the world if you don’t take care of yourself.
  10. Be kind to yourself. First, and always. You can’t be kind to others if you are not kind to yourself.
  11. When you feel overwhelmed, cancel two things in the upcoming week. Just do it. Be in control of your schedule, not the other way around.

I love you Mom. Thank you for being an inspiration, every day. Even if I chose Mother’s Day to tell you.

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“Life is too short to eat salad without dressing” – advice from Suelyn Farel

Suelyn Farel, CEO, Julien Farel Group

Suelyn Farel, CEO, Julien Farel Group (photo by Manuela Rana, hair by Davis Feliz, makeup by Marylisa Diaz)

Almost a year ago, I met Suelyn Farel, CEO of Julien Farel Group at the WWD Beauty CEO Summit. I was struck by her oversized black sunglasses (we were at the Breakers), her connection to France, and the air of kindness about her. We made plans to connect back in NYC, which finally happened a month or so ago when she treated me to a salon service and to amazing Julien Farel hair products, including the Magnifique Fortifying Serum. During our simultaneous blow-drys and over coffee, we shared stories of the beauty industry, compared notes on our favorite products and spas, and became friends, discovering we have much in common (including a 5 am wakeup time, the necessity of having champagne in the fridge at all times, and the fact that working with family means work/life balance is not something we can even being to comprehend).

AP: What city were you born in? SF: White Plains, NY.

AP: What city to do you live in? SF: New York, NY.

AP: What is your middle name? SF: I do not have a middle name. My maiden name was “Bogdanoff” and with Suelyn being my first name, my parents couldn’t find something that would fit in between the two!

AP: What is your astrological sign? SF: Sagittarius.

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? SF: I graduated from college in 3 years.

AP: What is your most prized possession? SF: My family.

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

AP: Describe your fashion style in three words maximum. SF: Elegant, sporty, and black.

AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? SF: Yes. I switch between a Panerai / Bulgari for work, and wear a diamond Cartier Pasha for evening.

AP: Diamonds or pearls? SF: DIAMONDS ALL THE WAY!

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? SF: Sleep.

AP: What fragrance do you wear? SF: I’ll never tell!

AP: Botox or not? SF: Not but I’m weighing the options as I age.

AP: Hair color: natural or not? SF: Hair color definitely NOT NATURAL.

AP: What are your special diet tips, if any? SF: Diet tip #1: Starbucks for breakfast. Diet tip #2: Eat everything in moderation. Don’t limit yourself in the foods that you eat, just eat the right quantities. Life is too short to eat salad without dressing!

AP: What do you do for exercise? SF: I have a fantastic personal trainer, Christina De Almeida, at JF Fitness at Julien Farel Restore Salon & Spa.

AP: What are three things that you always have in your fridge? SF: Pommery Champagne, Evian and mustard.

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? SF: Tigre Blanc vodka with a splash of cranberry and two slices of lemon.

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? SF: There is no such thing as balance in my world. Work permeates every part of my life, being that I work with my husband. There is no separation between who I am and what I do!

AP: How many miles do you fly per year on average? SF: 50-60,000 miles.

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? SF: 1) Pack lots of layers and scarves, 2) For my hair: Julien Farel Smooth Crème to smooth flyways, Janeke mini travel brush+always have an elastic on my wrist, and 3) Alchimie Dry Skin Balm for my super-dry ‘airplane hands.’

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. SF: Blank Space by Taylor Swift, which I sing with my girls plus two workout songs always on my iPod are Survivor by Destiny’s Child and Lose Yourself by Eminem.

AP: What book are you reading right now? SF: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr which takes place in St Malo, France.  I loved the book so much that I’m bringing my mom there this year, because she gifted that book to me after having read it!

AP: Quote to live by. SF: “Work hard, play hard!”

AP: What is your worst pet peeve? SF: Laziness and dishonesty compete for the top spot.

AP: What time do you usually wake up in the morning, and how many hours of sleep do you usually get? SF: I wake up at 5:00am because my husband goes for a run every morning and I am an early riser! I usually sleep about 6 and a half hours a night.

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? SF: The beauty industry is filled with amazing women who are supportive, smart and savvy. The mentality is that “we are all in it together,” which is very different from fashion and what’s in many other industries. I really admire most, if not all, of the women I have met in beauty. It is a great club to be a part of.

AP: Least favorite thing. SF: Well, as the mother of young girls, I worry about the influence this industry may have on my girls… the look of perfection in an industry where everything is so nipped, tucked, buffed and perfect. I love the Dove Real Women campaign where they show true beauty by being yourself regardless of imperfections. A lot of marketing around beauty and fashion is so airbrushed and plastic. I love looking great but most days of the week I don’t wear makeup. And I’m okay with that real image being presented.

AP: Who is your mentor? SF: I’m not much of a follower, so I honestly haven’t really had a mentor. I do have women in beauty who inspire me and who I admire like Essie Weingarten, Jane Lauder, Debbie Perelman. And Bobbi Brown!  Bobbi remains so tied to her brand and down to earth. When I met her, a few years ago, she smiled and gave me one piece of advice and that was, “Don’t fuck with your face.” Since we are in the beauty industry, it is hard to stay away from the invasive options out there!  But, hearing that from Bobbi Brown, that will stay with me forever.

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. SF: Find what you love. If it feels like work, change jobs or careers. Nothing replaces hard work. There is no real magic. If you keep working hard, you will get there. Never stop dreaming. If you keep dreaming, you can make it happen. Don’t be afraid to stick to what you believe in. Young women have many innovative & interesting ideas and insights that they bring to companies, that are completely different from the insights of professionals more senior in their career. Don’t be afraid to share them!

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“Remember that all of us are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.” FDR

“L’Americaine.” My family has called me “the American” for quite some time. As of Tuesday April 14, they are no longer factually incorrect when doing so. This past Tuesday is the day that I became an American.

My first photo as an American citizen

My first photo as an American citizen

Almost exactly 20 years ago, in August of 1995, I landed from Geneva at New York’s JFK airport, alone, to attend college in the US. Luckily, a dear family friend, Aileen, was there to pick me up and drive me to school. 20 years later we are still friends and she will always hold that special place in my heart – the one who picked me up and helped me start my American journey. On Tuesday, I began a new phase of that journey.

Nothing prepared me for the ceremony or emotion of that morning. The moments I will forever remember include:

Bryant W. Johnson, Records Specialist and for all intents and purposes, the Master of Ceremonies and our Entertainer for the morning. He organized us, told us where to sit (front row seat for me!), what to do, and kept us both laughing and solemn as the situation demanded.

Me with a Daughter of the American Revolution and Bryant W. Johnson, Records Specialist and the day's entertainer

Me with a Daughter of the American Revolution and Bryant W. Johnson, Records Specialist and the day’s entertainer

The moment when I had to relinquish my green card to a court officer. We all did. Mr. Johnson apparently knew how uncomfortable we were doing this. (The one thing I have trained myself to never, ever, lose, no matter the situation, is my Green Card. It possibly was my most prized possession until this past Tuesday.) After we had all given it back, he joked we at that moment were not quite legal, and recommended that should the fire alarm go off, we catch him!

Watching the sign language interpreter. Of course, the US being the amazingly inclusive country it is, she was there from the beginning to the end, translating he ceremony and every joke Mr. Johnson made.

The speech by Nisha Desai Biswal, Assistant Secretary of State Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs. A naturalized citizen herself, she reminded us of her favorite quote by Franklin D. Roosevelt: “Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.”

The speech by our judge. 12 weeks in the court, it was Judge Amit P. Mehta’s first naturalization ceremony, and he was appropriately (and adorably) nervous. He told us of his story, which began in India. He was naturalized when he was 10 years old. He spoke of the great journey that is America. “America is not a destination, it is a journey. It is a constant state of striving for that perfect Union.” “The story of America is fundamentally an immigrant story,” he reminded us. “This country was founded on shared values, not a specific race or religion.”

Me and the judge

Me and the judge

And indeed, that was reflected in the room – 50 countries were represented. All ages, both genders, all skin tones, and many languages. We were 119 altogether. A true representation of “E pluribus unum.” Most people came with friends and family members. I, however, came alone. When I left for college, I left Switzerland alone, partly as a sign of fierce independence. Being alone Tuesday morning had a nice parallelism to it, and felt completely right.

119 of us representing 50 countries

119 of us representing 50 countries

 

Perhaps because truly, I was not alone. The gentleman sitting next to me, Youness, an immigrant from Morocco, was also alone. We took each other’s pictures (all the ones in this post are courtesy of him), spoke of entrepreneurship and the American dream (he too owns his own business), and laughed together.

New citizens, new friends

New citizens, new friends

I also was not alone because of the amazing social media love. Never before has that touched me so much. All Facebook comments, tweets, and texts made my day so very special – some worth highlighting include:

Congrats Ada! We’re happy to have you, especially since you make us all a little bit prettier with your magical Swiss blueberries!  (JH)

Congrats Ada. Very happy for you. The last question they will ask you is what is your favorite NFL team. Although you will be tempted to say New England, if you answer Washington you will pass the test. (SA) 

Congrats–we just (the US that is…) got better looking. (LHD)

Ada, this is the nicest thing that’s happened in a while and we welcome you. (BM)

While I had not expected to feel any different (after all, I have been living and paying taxes in this country for such a long time), it does feel different. It feels wonderful. Official. Proud. Humbling. I do not feel less Swiss or less European, instead, I feel more whole.

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What great sales people say…

I had the pleasure of attending the Professional Beauty Association’s 4th annual Distributor Executive Conference at the offices of Neill-TSP Corporation in Hammond, LA, this past week. A full report of the conference highlights will appear in Beauty Store Business’s July issue. Before then, however, here is a recap of what great sales people say – verbiage and techniques they use to have powerful sales meetings that lead to a close – courtesy of Mark Norman, from The Next Level Sales Consulting.

1. Remember to always ask questions. Ask more than tell. The point of asking questions is to store up ammunition for when the prospect says “let me think about it.”

2. Key phrases good sales people use to show active listening include: “Based on what you told me,” “What you mentioned earlier.”

3. When people ask about a discount, Norman recommends answering with the following question: “What part of the service (or product) offering would you like me to pull out?”

4. People have a tendency, when all other things are equal, to do business with people that they like. Be likable.

5. Be careful of the word I. “I” raises the barriers of resistance (yet one of the top 20 words spokes in the English language is “I”); “we” is a bit better than “I,” and “you” is the best word of the three.

6. This may be my favorite learning of the day: Take the objection and turn it into fact and reason (validate and learn). How many times have I heard that a spa or boutique owner is not interested in switching skin care lines because they are happy with their current brands? Countless… From now on, I will try to answer this objection as follows: “The fact that you are loyal to your current brands is the reason we should talk.”

The most likely response you will get will be something along the lines of “Why do you say that?”

And to that you answer: “Well one of two things will come from our conversation. Either you will validate the fact that you are correct in your decision or you will learn something that could put you and your business in an even stronger position.”

I can never listen to such insights enough. While I might know these techniques, I certainly forget to implement them often…

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“Do crazy things with your hair while you still have hair to do it with” and other wisdom from Karin Tanabe

Karin Tanabe, Author (photo by Joseph Allen)

Karin Tanabe, Author (photo by Joseph Allen)

You know it is a fun book club when you invite authors to attend, and they then want to join as a participant. This is how I met Karin Tanabe (thank you Kate Michael for introducing me to her!). As an author, Karin is smart, witty, funny, and amazing at weaving characters into tales of love, political scandal, and art collector shenanigans. As a woman, Karin is kind, even funnier than her writing, gorgeous, and impeccably dressed. (Other things I love about her: she is half Belgian and wears Guerlain perfume.) In a previous career, she wrote about beauty for glossy magazines, including in Dubai. She is a self-professed beauty junkie, so much so that we have a date to go to Sephora together and compare notes (apparently our beauty shopping habits differ dramatically… stay tuned for the story of that trip). She may indeed have tried every product on the planet. And she has opinions. Strong ones. (Oh, and yes, she kissed Mick Jagger – must ask her about this next time I see her…)

AP: What city were you born in? KT: Washington D.C.

AP: What city to do you live in? KT: Washington D.C. (This makes me sound rather boring, but there were a lot of places in between!)

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

AP: What is your astrological sign? KT: Leo

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? KT: I kissed Mick Jagger.

AP: What is your most prized possession? KT: My first book contract.

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? KT: I’d love to break bread with Donna Tartt and ask her what she does in the ten years between her books. I’d also like to know if she gets bored of wearing menswear-inspired suits on the regular.

AP: Describe your fashion style in three words maximum. KT: Classic, globally-inspired.

AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? KT: Nope.

AP: Diamonds or pearls? KT: Diamonds! The more the merrier.

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? KT: Sunblock. So much sunblock. I like the cheap stuff and mostly buy Hawaiian Tropic because it smells like the beach.

AP: What fragrance do you wear? KT: L’Instant de Guerlain.

AP: Botox or not? KT: Not yet, but I’m not opposed in the future.

AP: Hair color: natural or not? KT: I don’t even know what my natural hair color is at this point.

AP: What are your special diet tips, if any? KT: Drink soy milk to stay full, pretend bread is poisonous.

AP: What do you do for exercise? KT: I go to a morning boot camp class four days a week and run one day a week.

AP: What are three things that you always have in your fridge? KT: Lemonade, tangerines and cheddar cheese.

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? KT: I go very high low. I like either champagne or cheap watery beer.

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? KT: It’s okay to be a hot mess sometimes. I think when we say work/life balance it sounds very organized and Zen, but often I have to sacrifice work for life or life for work and that’s okay. I think that’s the trick. Letting one win every now and again and not feeling guilty about it.

AP: How many miles do you fly per year on average? KT: Lately, book deadlines win more than travel so about 15,000.

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? KT: Really warm socks, earplugs and patience. 

AP: Three songs on your iPod right now. KT: The only music I can listen to when I write is classical, so that tends to dominate my playlists. Right now I love Lakmé by Leo Delibes, Air to Air by the Silk Road Ensemble and Chris Thile preforming Bach’s Sonata No. 1 in G Minor on mandolin.

AP: What book are you reading right now? KT: I just went to a Kazuo Ishiguro book signing and bought The Buried Giant, but I’m finishing his When We Were Orphans before I crack it.

AP: Quote to live by. KT: “Do crazy things with your hair while you still have hair to do it with.”

AP: What is your worst pet peeve? KT: Visible clutter. I don’t mind if drawers and closets are a disaster, but I like to live in denial and don’t want to see any of it.

 

AP: What time do you usually wake up in the morning, and how many hours of sleep do you usually get?KT: Weekdays I get up at 6:15 and sleep seven to eight hours. Weekends I just roll with it.

 

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? KT: I’m a beauty junkie so it’s hard to boil it down to one, but I’d have to go with innovation. There are always new products to try.

 

AP: Least favorite thing. KT: Narrow-mindedness.

 

AP: Who is your mentor? KT: I never had a mentor when I worked in journalism as I was always working at these dog eat dog publications, but now that I write books I would say that my editor Sarah is my mentor. I think that the editor/writer relationship just lends itself to that.

 

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. KT: It can take a very long time to get the career you want. Work hard, make smart choices and be patient. Also, it’s more important to be smart than “pretty.” That sounds extremely obvious, but the world is constantly telling us that the opposite is true, so I think it’s important to say it again and again.   

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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