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On Creativity

2014 July 27
by WWGD

Creativity-WhatWouldGwynethDo

I feel like I have lost my writing gene.

I sit down to write and the words stumble over themselves instead of flowing the way I want them to.

I look at my life – in all its easygoing simplicity – and I wonder if I don’t have enough of a story to tell. I read so many great pieces and the stories that fuel them: love and loss and intimacy. And right now, I don’t really have those stories in me. I read sentences that are so beautifully composed, they stay with me all day. And right now, I don’t think I have those sentences in me. I marvel at the stacks of published books at the store, the pages upon pages in my magazines, the endless world of blogs…

And I just want to look at pretty pictures of Kate Moss.

Creativity is a funny thing and when you have a public outlet such as this one, it becomes even more complicated. What is worth putting out there in the world and what isn’t? What do your readers care about and how does it align with what you care about? Who are the people reading and how does that censor your story (hi mom!)? What does one do when their creative outlet is writing? And they are blocked.

I think you write.

I think you stumble over those words and take an hour to hit publish, second-guessing every sentence.

I think you forget about what others think and put it out there anyways.

You look for great stories in the every day, even if they are ordinary to everyone but you.

You practice, you stretch, you try once more.

And somehow, some way, you hope it will find you again.

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Five Pamper-Yourself Products

2014 July 25
by WWGD

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Sometimes in life you need to reward yourself for simply being you.

And one of my favorite ways to indulge is in the beauty department where I can pamper myself and only have to bend the bank a little instead of breaking it altogether.

Here are some of my favorite “pamper yourself” products of the moment:

L’Occitane Lavender Foaming Bath. I firmly believe in the restorative powers of lavender and keep a small vial of oil by my bedside to help me relax before I go to sleep at night. This rich foaming bath lets you soak in the stress-free scent any time of the day.

Laura Mercier body creme. I gushed about this on Instagram the other day because it has been on my wish list forever and I finally splurged on it. It’s a light, silky body cream that has the most incredible almond and coconut milk scent that starts out sweet and evolves into a nutty, warm fragrance. It’s a real treat for the body and the soul.

Origins Reinventing the Heel foot cream. When you spend a lot of time on your feet, you need to spend just as much time taking care of them. This foot cream helps soften achy arches and keeps your heels happy and healthy.

Kerastase Elixir Ultime Beautifying Oil Mask. Kerastase hair products are the ultimate treat for your tresses and this rich oil mask leaves your hair soft, silky and restored. It smells amazing and helps strengthen tired locks to leave them – and you – feeling brand new.

Tata Harper resurfacing mask. My favorite Friday night ritual: a face mask that leaves you glowing and requires nothing but ten minutes of quiet time to restore and re-energize your stressed-out skin.

It’s a wonder what ten minutes can do, isn’t it?

Have a happy weekend.

What I Am Pinning…Right Now

2014 July 24
by WWGD

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A great little reminder.

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Simple summer style.

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The perfect summer soirée.

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Forever obsessed with fonts.

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Must-make: grilled potato salad with scallion vinaigrette.

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The sweetest way to wrap up a set of small gifts.

*you can follow me on Pinterest here*

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Five Things I Learned About Business Travel

2014 July 22
by WWGD

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I am back at my desk after four (hot!) days in Miami and here are a few things I learned from my time on the other coast:

1. The older I get, the harder it is to leave my kids. I love having a career and I love to travel, but it’s getting harder and harder to say goodbye to them and to miss out on their lives, even just for a few days, so clearly I need to find a career (and a paycheck!) where they can come with me all the time. On my to-do list.

2. The more you miss your kids, the less you should check in with them. Every call made it that much tougher to be thousands of miles away so I think, for me, it’s easier to rely on updates from my husband and mom rather than speaking with them directly all the time.

3. Even though you miss your kids, sleeping in with a black-out shade on the windows and no one to wake you up at the crack of dawn asking for their cereal is really nice. It’s also really nice to enjoy nice hotels, restaurants and conversation with interesting, inspiring adults. And it’s really nice to read an entire book on a plane with no interruptions. So you need to enjoy those moments, guilt-free.

4. My kids are better behaved at home when there is only one of us parents to contend with. They were angels for my husband the entire time and he dealt with them beautifully. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

5. When you’re a mom, you’re a mom. Even when you’re off-duty. We were having a meeting in the hotel restaurant the other morning and a darling little girl walked by holding her younger sister’s hand and crying. No one was around and I could clearly tell they had lost their mom somewhere, given the look of pure fear in her eyes. I immediately put my meeting on pause and found someone from the hotel to help them because I couldn’t bear the thought of that little girl (nevermind her mom) being scared for one more second. Once they were happily reunited, our business meeting resumed as normal. And it was a nice reminder that even a working, traveling, busy mother…is a mother first and foremost.

*image above of The National Hotel pool in Miami, via me

A Weekend in Miami

2014 July 18
by WWGD

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I am headed to Miami for the weekend for a work obligation. I haven’t been since I was a young kid and my most vivid memory of that trip is the “Miami Mice” t-shirt my parents bought me that I loved so very much and left at the pool one day…never to see it again.

I cried over that t-shirt.

Hopefully this trip will be better and I will be less forgetful.

Work trips are always a little bittersweet: bitter because you have to leave your family behind and sweet for the very same reason. A solo plane-ride cross-country, sleeping in just a little, no one to impose an 8pm curfew on your hotel room…doesn’t sound too terrible. But without fail, I am always missing them by day two and counting down the minutes on the plane ride home.

Here’s what I am packing for four days in the hot Florida sun, sans floaties:

Janessa Leone straw hat. I love the sun on both coasts but my face does not, so this straw topper will be a permanent fixture poolside. Assuming there is some time to be poolside.

essie Coral Reef. A Coral pedi is the perfect accompaniment to tanned skin and a little sand between your toes.

Madewell leopard shiftdress. This has become my go-to of the summer (and it’s on sale, go get it!). You can throw it on and run out the door looking effortless in an instant.

Splendid jumper for night. I love this light, easy one-piece because you can dress it up or down and feel super chic even when the sun is blazing hot.

Super sunglasses. My favorite sunglasses because they are heavy and secure and the gold arms add some super flash. I hear Miami appreciates that.

Have a great weekend!

 

Five Tried and True Parenting Tips

2014 July 16
by WWGD

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My husband and I have it fairly easy on the parenting front.

Last night after a day filled with very few parenting struggles, the dishes were empty and cleared, the baths were done and painless, the kids were jumping on my bed (I sent them there) to burn out some last-minute energy and we simply had to look at each other and pat ourselves on the back for a job well done.

Don’t get me wrong…we battle meltdowns and tantrums. We have to repeat ourselves and occasionally raise our voices and dish out time outs and revoke allowance.

But not that often.

For the most part, we know we have it good. Our children are really well-behaved, both in the home and outside of the home. They are respectful and well-mannered and as logical as they can be for their ages (7 and 3). And while I certainly chalk some of that up to genetics, I do believe that nurture plays a heavy hand alongside nature as well and I am proud that we’ve developed a style of parenting that works for us and our kids. I believe every child, every home and every rule is different but there are a few tried and true tips that we’ve incorporated through the years that consistently make a difference in our home. So naturally I thought I would share them with you here:

Lead through real life. If I want my kids to learn to share, I give them things to share. Instead of offering two separate snack plates or two bowls of popcorn or two iPhones to play with when a dinner out has gone too long, I give them one and tell them to share it. If one of them needs help with something, I offer up their sibling as a solution first, before me or their dad. Need help tying your shoe? Ask your big sister. Need someone to get you another apple? Ask your brother. By showing them good behavior through actions (theirs, not mine) rather than just words, I am leading them down the right path one footstep – their own! – at a time.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. This should be in every new mother’s handbook. Seriously. Don’t cry over the spilled milk. Don’t lose it when a vase is broken. Don’t argue with your toddler (again) over him wanting the blue cup when you’ve set out the red one. Give him the blue one. Pick your battles and save your energy for the moments where it really counts. Does that mean give in to everything? No, no, no. Rules are fast and firm in our house, but we save them for the important stuff (clearly jumping on my bed is not one of those things…who really cares if they jump on the bed?).

Don’t label. I see this all the time. If you call your kid “shy” or “difficult” or “girly” then that’s how they will act. I cannot tell you how many times I have tried to say hi to a little kid and the parent jumps in to label them as “a little shy” before they’ve even had a chance to respond. Maybe he/she is shy and that’s fine, I will realize that in a few moments on my own…but let me realize because of your child’s behavior, not the label you are so quick to stick on them. I have been guilty of this with both of my kids. I labeled Little D a “tomboy” for a long time and Kai thought his middle name was “troublemaker” for a while there…but I’ve made a conscious effort to let their personalities (tomboyish and somewhat troublemakerish) shine through instead.

Give them more responsibility than they could ever expect. Let them walk down to the mailbox by themselves (or if you’re like me, let them think they are walking by themselves and watch like a hawk from the balcony). Let them create their own screen-time schedule (with your sign off, of course). Let them pour the milk when they’re still at the age where they are likely to spill it. And then don’t get upset when they do. By giving your kids little doses of self-confidence and independence in the every day, you will set them up for big doses of it down the road.

Say yes when they least expect it. This is probably my favorite because it’s simply the most fun. If you want your kids to listen when you say no, practice saying yes. Especially when they least expect it. A Friday night movie night that happens on a Tuesday. Using your little brother as a paint canvas just because (we did this, turned out great; they both had a blast). An impromptu trip to the ice cream shop…for the second day in a row. By giving my kids the gift of “yes” when they are expecting another “no” (again, within reason…), I’ve developed a new level of understanding and communication with them that works really well for us. Now when they get a “no”, they know it’s one that matters and that odds are another “yes” is around the corner so they accept it without hesitation…as soon as they’re done jumping on my bed, of course.

*image above via here

A Local’s Guide to Manhattan

2014 July 15
by WWGD

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I first “met” Jenny on Instagram and was instantly taken by her cool, casual city girl style. Based in New York, where she works as a stylist and lifestyle blogger at Your Soul Style, she has an aesthetic that I appreciate: clean and contemporary but full of spirit and soul. So it’s with great pleasure that I show you her beloved city through her very stylish eyes in this latest Local’s Guide To…Manhattan (see other cities here).

Where to get a facial: Soho Sanctuary, specifically with Susana – the best part about Soho Sanctuary is that 1) it’s small and intimate and 2) it’s women only so enables a sense of comfort you won’t get from other spas around the city. The other win is that they carry skincare lines by brands like Dr. Hauschka and Arcona which are made from organic and all-natural ingredients, giving you a chemical free, holistic treatment. Susana helps alleviate any pre-existing issues and sets you up for success with products that are best for your skin type. If you’re closer to midtown, Mario Badescu has his one and only skincare salon on 52nd street between 1st and 2nd avenue, which offers a plethora of facials customized for your needs. (editor’s note: I’ve been. She’s right. It’s amazing.

Where to get a massage: Soho Sanctuary, specifically with Regine. I have searched high and low in this city to find the best massage therapist around and Regine is definitely my go-to gal. Her massages are rhythmic and equally efficient. Great Jones Spa however would be my recommendation if you’re looking to get a rub down with your man since Soho Sanctuary is women only. The experience at Great Jones includes a water lounge, which is hard to come by in NYC – hot tub, plunge pool, sauna and steam room are all on site. Once inside, you immediately leave the hustle and are transported somewhere zen. Visit the Great Jones Spa Juice Bar & Cafe next-door after your treatment for a healthy and delicious lunch! For a trendier spa day, visit the new Aire Ancient Baths in Tribeca – more for the overall experience than the massage itself.

Where to shop for your man: Steven Alan – my favorite location is the most recent one in Chelsea. There is a J.Crew Men’s Shop uptown, in Tribeca and one in Soho and Saturday’s Surf is a perfect destination for your hipster, surf’y beach guy complete with apparel, accessories and boards.

Where to shop for your home: ABC Carpet & Home, hands down – reminiscent of a Moroccan bazaar, the first floor will devour your senses with items like decorative pillows, chandeliers, candles and tablescapes that will entice you to buy entire collections. Give yourself ample time to navigate through the carefully curated six floor mecca. Be sure to check out the second floor landing that carries an assortment of emerging designers. Fishs Eddy is a must for fun and quirky giftable dishes and glassware.

Where to shop for your kids: Zara Kids, Crewcuts and H&M Kids can be found all over the city, but my favorite “mom and pop” boutique is Lucky Wang. Also, Trico Field in SOHO has super cute kids clothes. The best learning and creative toys can be found at Kidding Around.

Where to shop for yourself: I could go on and on and on (and on and on) about the shopping in NYC, but I’ll keep it broken down by area: the Lower East Side is chock full of emerging designers and boutiques like The Reformation and beautifully curated jewelry and lifestyle shop Love Adorned. Soho encompasses a range of options from mainstream stores like Zara, Topshop and J.Crew to contemporary stores like Rag & Bone, A.P.C. and Helmut Lang to high end fashion such as Prada, Stella McCartney and Mulberry. Opening Ceremony and American Two Shot are a must see for their cutting-edge assortments. Bleeker Street in the West Village is a nice stretch with stores like Maje, Sandro, Diptyque, and Zadig and Voltaire and the ever-evolving Meat-Packing neighborhood includes stores like Warby Parker, Scoop, All Saints and high end store Jeffrey’s. I don’t usually shop uptown, but will go if I need a department store like Saks Fifth Avenue, Barney’s or Bloomingdales. And upper 5th has mainstream shopping similar to Soho, but with a bigger assortment of high end stores. One of my current favorite boutiques is right in my Greenwich Village neighborhood (which doesn’t have too much shopping) called Personnel.

Where to get a sweet treat: If you’re in Chelsea or Greenwich Village, Amorino has the best gelato. Big Gay Ice Cream in the West Village has the kind of soft-serve that will take you back to childhood with decadent options like the “Salty Pimp” and “American Globs”. My new favorite sweet treat is yogurt from Culture, which is “made from specially selected live probiotic cultures and the freshest local milk.” If you have kids, Max Brenner on Broadway is a must.

Where to get a fresh juice: Juice Press is the best juice around, but they are pre-made and grab and go. For made-to-order juice, try Liquiteria, The Butchers Daughter (great brunch too) or Melvin’s Juice Box at Miss Lily’s.

Where to get a cheap eat: Los Tacos in Chelsea Market brings you authentic, down-home Mexican fare, and Mamoun’s, open since 1971 and featured in “1000 places to see before you die”, has the best grab n’ go falafel around.

Where to wine and dine: Marc Forgione’s Forge is my favorite restaurant in NYC and we recently tried his new one American Cut which did not disappoint. ABC Kitchen is not only beautiful by design, but “the menu is free of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, insecticides, antibiotics, hormones, is GMO-free, and naturally and humanely sourced from regional farmers and fair trade cooperatives”. Narcissa in the Standard Hotel East puts a creative spin on the classics and I recommend sitting at the chef’s table (if you’re a party of 2) for the experience of watching chefs gracefully master their craft. And if you’re looking for a most perfectly composed, farm to table style plate south of 14th street, Blue Hill cannot be beat.

Where to wine: I love the speakeasy, underground vibe of Little Branch where the mixologists shake up creative concoctions that you’ve never heard of before. On the corner of Leroy and Varick, the entrance is unassuming so you need to look very closely in order to find the sign on the door. Death & Co, Employees Only and PDT are also intimate and swanky cocktail dens worth checking out while in town. Harder to navigate, be sure to visit their websites for instructions on how to find them and get in. For an easier, more laid back vibe, I like Wilfie and Nell for happy hour or The Other Room and City Winery (live music here) for wine.

Where to have breakfast: Cafe Mogador in the East Village has the best breakfast around. The Middle Eastern flare adds a dynamic spin on typical American fare. Get there early in the warmer months for a seat outside and to avoid a wait. For an all American, typical breakfast, try Westville or Grey Dog Cafe.

Where to take the kids: The American Museum of Natural History has rotating kid-friendly exhibits all year. In the summer, try “The Beast” high speed boat ride which travels along the Hudson and stops for views and photos at the Statue of Liberty. a win for both adult and child. The Central Park Zoo is more manageable for little ones since it’s smaller then the Bronx and a Broadway show like the Lion King is a hit for anyone, at any age. FAO Schwarz is sure to win over your kids in a heartbeat, and for a cheap, save your pennies day, try a visit to Washington Square Park, where kids can be entertained (for free) by the street performers till the sun goes down, and a newly renovated playground will keep them busy for hours.

Wow, this amazing list can surely keep me entertained for hours, too. And to top if off, Jenny has a great eye for photography (the picture above is one of her own) so if you like fashion and New York (who doesn’t?), you can follow her on Instagram here for more. Thanks, Jenny!

Saturday Reads

2014 July 12
by WWGD

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Saturdays have been hectic this summer so apologies in advance for being so sporadic with these little round ups. You’re probably too busy living life to be reading this anyways, right?? Nonetheless, here are my favorite finds of the week:

This read was especially poignant because it was shared by a friend/acquaintance of mine on Facebook. My friend is a woman very similar to you and I who recently went through a separation and just a few weeks ago found herself out of a job and a home, with two young kids to care for. She wasn’t “homeless” or penniless in the traditional sense – she has a fantastic family and support system that was there to help her out – but for a few stressful weeks, life took a quick turn for the not-so-good. The good news? It turned right back around rather quickly and the right job and the right new home appeared in the nick of time. But she shared this story to remind us all how quickly things can take that turn. And that we can’t judge those around us for any reason, because we don’t know what kind of unexpected turns they are navigating.

Up-close with the founder of Net A Porter. Because clearly she is amazing. She founded Net A Porter.

A tale of motherhood and commitment and career…that ended back where it started: with motherhood.

20 Signs You’re Succeeding in Life Even if You Don’t Feel You Are. Amen to all 20. Disregard the creepy photo they posted with the piece.

I loved their show when it was on – an interview with designer Cortney Novogratz.

Bake something extra sweet with your littles this weekend. And let them lick the spoon. Do it for Ryan.

Have a good one! xx

A Clean(ish) Eating Update

2014 July 11
by WWGD

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So I said that my last update on clean eating would be my last…but the journey has continued.

Sort of.

And I thought it would make sense to share.

It has been six or so weeks since I wrapped up my experience with The 30 Clean and I am proud (and somewhat concerned) to say that it has stuck with me.

Yes, I am now technically “free” to eat whatever the heck I want, whenever I want…but somehow, I can’t.

I do sometimes, don’t get me wrong, but the “clean” mantra never seems to leave me.

If I eat clean, I am secretly patting myself on the back and if I don’t, I am not so secretly scolding myself.

Once you learn how to restrict yourself from so many things, it becomes very hard to bring them back in without feelings of remorse, guilt and unparalleled liberation.

It’s good and it’s not.

I have joked with my husband on many an occasion that the experiment left me with nine fewer pounds and a slight eating disorder (joking, please take with a grain of salt…pun intended). I am smarter about my choices on most days which is tremendous progress for the girl who considered a Snapple and a Kit Kat a balanced meal in college, but I am also overly hard on myself when I indulge too much.

Part of that is certainly the impact it has on both the scale and my physical reactions (it’s amazing to me now how a “dirty” meal can affect my digestion and cough immediately…), but a big part of it is also a psychological feeling of failure and lack of willpower.

And really, who wants to feel like a failure over a piece of pizza?

Last night, I wanted to order in takeout. I was tired and burnt out and alone with my kids and after I fed them and finally got them to bed, the only logical dinner solution I could come up with was junk.

Instead, I found it in me (and in my refrigerator) to pull together a salad with fresh heirloom tomatoes from the farmer’s market, a chunk of good feta and a few slices of salami. Oh, and a glass of wine. Obviously.

It felt good to make the right choice.

I think I just need to figure out how to feel just as good on the nights when I make a not-so-right choice.

Because I don’t really believe anyone can change over night, or even in a mere 30 days, but if you can find a way to change – in a logical, positive way – one night at a time, then you (and I) will be doing just fine.

*follow me here for some of the clean – and not so clean – recipes I am dying to try…

Must-Have: Best Collaborations of the Moment

2014 July 10
by WWGD

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Sometimes two is simply better than one.

I love a good collaboration and there are some great ones on the horizon this summer.

Everlane has partnered with long-time collaborator and friend Langley Fox (an LA-based artist who has worked with the likes of Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton and Alice + Olivia) on a new line of tanks that is debuting next week (pictured above). I am a tank fanatic lately so I can’t wait to try these on for size. They look perfectly simple and cool.

On a more personal note, Maya Brenner is bringing her signature jewelry to J. Crew fans (know any??) around the world via the mega brand’s new fine jewelry section online. You can shop Maya’s uber-popular luxe letter collection in 14k gold necklaces and earrings starting on July 23.

Finally, one of my favorite cool girl powerhouses, Into The Gloss (the brainchild of Emily Weiss, who you may recognize from her brief stint years ago on MTV’s The City), has partnered up with one of my favorite accessories brands, Warby Parker, to launch what they call the perfect new aviator: not too big, not too small, not too wide, not too narrow. These two styles are made from premium Japanese titanium and come in an optical option as well…perfect for those of us who can’t see two feet in front of us without a little help. You can shop them online as of today here.

*image above via Everlane