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What I Am Pinning…Right Now

2014 September 17
by WWGD

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Black and white forever.

Am I right?

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An important reminder.

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Flourless peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

Because they are practically healthy.

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Dreaming of these new specs.

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I am hating the heat wave we are having so images like this make me happy.

Would look great with those new glasses and messy, tucked in hair.

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Love this clean and simple aesthetic.

Dreaming of a new home.

Always dreaming.

You can follow me on Pinterest here.

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I Don’t Know How She Does It – Rachel Ayotte

2014 September 16
by WWGD

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I met Rachel ages ago when were both handling PR for a big hotel and restaurant opening in LA and I immediately knew we would become fast friends. Her smarts, southern charm, and savvy business sense impressed me from the get-go. A few years later when I already had Little D under my belt, we had lunch when she was pregnant with her first (and by then also firmly at the helm of her own wildly successful food PR and digital marketing agency, Bread & Butter) and she grilled me about working motherhood, a tiny sense of intimidation in her voice. Fast-forward to today and I should be the one grilling her – she is now mom to three little Ayottes and growing her business by leaps and bounds every day, with offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Las Vegas and Austin. Wow. And of course, while motherhood has given her that incomparable inner glow, her classic smarts, southern charm and savvy business sense haven’t changed one bit. Here is how she does it at home on Los Angeles’ eastside:

What time does your day start and how?

Three days a week I wake up at 5 a.m. to go to a 6 a.m. CrossFit class (beat it baby weight!) The other two work days I “sleep in” until 6 if I can. Then I’m off to get my baby boy from his crib, quickly followed by my 2 year old daughter, and our 4 year old usually emerges around 7ish. Then it’s a mad dash of breakfast, lunch making, getting dressed and getting the kids out the door. I usually head into the office between 8:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.

What time does your day end and how?

On a regular day, I leave work around 4:45 p.m. to get my daughters from school, then head home for dinner, baths and bedtimes. Followed by a glass of wine while I catch up with my husband and try to squeeze in anything Bravo produces before bedtime around 9 p.m.

Do you work from home or in an office? What is the set up like?

My company has five offices and I work mostly from our LA office close to Downtown LA. We’ve recently expanded into two different office spaces and I finally have my own private office, which feels SO decadent and so necessary at this point. We have about 20 employees in the LA office. One floor is for client meetings and the account teams and one floor is for management and our digital teams.

Do you see/speak to your kids throughout your work day? If yes, how/when?

I don’t! My daughters are in pre-school and my baby son stays with my mom. I check in with my husband to confirm drop-off went well, but other than that, I’m pretty much in work mode.

What is the best thing about being a working mom? Hardest thing?

The best thing is that being at work is really rewarding for me on a personal level. I feel challenged and smart and ready to kick ass. Plus, I love the example it sets for my kids – they see mom has a life and enjoys things that don’t only revolve around them. The hardest thing is balance. Balance, balance, balance. My work brings me tremendous joy and I have to work to balance that with the joy my family brings.

Be honest, what is one thing you envy about stay at home moms?

If I’m being totally honest, there’s not anything that I envy. I have no qualms about saying that being a stay at home mom is the hardest job in the world – hands down. I couldn’t do it without losing my mind. I mean, of course I fantasize about being a stay at home mom who plays tennis or gardens all day long, but I know that’s so far from reality.  I was on email in the hospital bed after my second child was born and went back to work relatively quickly after all my kids because I was going stir crazy. So my hat is off to you, ladies.

Answer the question “I don’t know how you do it?” in ten words or less.

I do it because I love it. And I have help. Shoot, that’s 11. Sue me. ;)

And given her background – at work and at play – we had to get Rachel’s top picks for LA eats…and more:

RachelAyotte-WhatWouldGwynethDoClockwise from top left:

HomeState – I am obsessed with Tex Mex and this place has cheese dip (or queso, as the Texans call it) and it’s amazing. This is my happy place and I look for any and every chance I can to eat there. I basically plan meetings at HomeState just to be there.

The Gentle Barn – this place is so great and fun for kids. We had my daughter’s third birthday party here and people still talk about it. It’s a great cause and kids get up close and personal w/ a big variety of animals. Love.

Purple Twig – as an Art History major, I tend to try to cram art down my kids’ throats. They’re all pretty creative, so this is a great space to channel that energy. Plus, we get lots of original art for our walls. My favorite!

Dominick’s – these guys were my first client and as they’ve grown, have remained clients ever since. The patio at Dominick’s is just the best, the food is always good and they have a terrific cocktail program. Although I tend to end up drinking martinis every time.

L&E Oyster - this place is just fun. My husband and I will go for date nights and have oysters and champagne or whenever one of my girlfriends visits from out of town, it’s our go-to spot for salads and wine. I just love the vibe and the food is always solid.

Son of a Gun – I’ve known Jon and Vinny for years and they’re just good guys who make delicious food. Son of a Gun has been my go-to spot for my birthday for the past few years and it’s always where I take friends visiting LA.

Five Tips for Newly Pregnant Women

2014 September 15
by WWGD

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A dear friend of mine is pregnant with her first. At just 12 weeks along, she is plagued with the usual worries, stresses and uncertainties we all faced…and for many weeks before today, she only had me to turn to for solace and advice as she kept her growing belly a secret from the rest of her world. I wanted to fill her with confidence but at the same time, I know and understand the turmoil that can come with those first few months of the great unknown…and I didn’t want to minimize that experience for her, either. As unpleasant as it can be. Because it’s all part of the experience. So here are the things I have tried to tell her – and want to tell her – and all newly pregnant women out there:

1) Be nervous, but don’t be paralyzed with paranoia. Yes, this is new to you and your body and yes, bad things happen all the time in pregnancies. Some with good reason, some with none at all. It’s ok to be nervous, but if you let yourself be crippled by nerves (as I did with my first), you won’t find the time or energy to actually enjoy the miracle as it unfolds. And there is so much to enjoy.

2) Don’t read everything they tell you to read. Here’s what to really expect: every pregnancy is different and no book can (or should) address it for you in such general terms. When you have specific concerns, ask your mom, your girlfriends and of course, your doctor, but don’t spend your time reading about all the things that may concern you, just because they are in a book and happened to someone else. Read more about what to do when baby comes, because that knowledge will be put to very good use in the early, sleep-deprived days (here are my must-reads for new parents).

3) Do use pregnancy as an excuse. Too tired? Too crabby? Too hungry? Of course you are. And you are perfectly entitled. So embrace it, own it, and make sure those around you are ok with that. Pregnancy is a mental and physical roller coaster and everyone in your life is along for the ride to a certain degree, whether or not they bought a ticket (disclaimer: your partner bought a ticket). It sounds harsh, but it’s true, and you have to feel comfort in knowing that and in feeling secure in that.

4) Don’t plan too far ahead. For the next nine months or beyond. Think about your dream labor plan, but don’t marry it. Visualize the nursery but no need to shop for it immediately. Don’t worry about your parenting style or whether or not you will choose Montessori or Waldorf. A lot can change over the course of the next nine months – and a lot more changes once you actually meet your child – so rather than worrying too much about the future, try to focus on the present and deal with that first. There’s plenty of it to deal with every day.

5) Try to enjoy every moment. And they aren’t all that enjoyable…or so it seems. But when physical, mental and emotional fatigue get the best of you, try to sit back and reflect on the miracle you are creating and appreciate that. As a woman who has done it twice, I always think back and wish I had complained a little less, enjoyed a little more, and relished every kick, cramp and nerve-inducing ultrasound. Because it may be a long process, but it is one that is simply unparalleled in this life and some day when you look back on it, you will wish you had done the same. I promise.

Have a wonderful nine months. xx

*image above via here

Saturday Reads

2014 September 13
by WWGD

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Ah, Saturday. You have finally graced us again.

This weekend has a whole lot of nothing on the agenda, my very favorite kind of weekend. Here are a few interesting finds to kick yours off:

Steve Jobs Was a Low-Tech Parent. I wrote about our dedication to limiting screen time a while back and this piece reminded me of all the reasons why we choose to…and work hard at it. Because it’s certainly not always easy – or doable – but it’s worth it.

Why It Doesn’t Matter How You Feel About Your Friends. I have made a very conscious effort the past few years to consistently let my close friends know how much I care about them. There are really only a handful of them, after all. At times I wish some of them would do more of the same in return but I am also trying to accept that some people don’t communicate the way others do…and that’s ok. Most of the time. ;)

“Really weird advice” about following your passion. I loved this so much because I have long felt the same way about passion…it’s such an intense word and comes laden with expectation. I haven’t found my passion yet. And I am not sure when or if I will. One week it’s cooking. The next it is writing. Last week it was flowers. But I am ok with that, because searching for it can be just as fun and beneficial.

Meet The Blogger Who Dresses Like An Olsen Twin. Love her look.

And finally, my favorite new blog to bookmark: Manger. This mom of seven (!) left life in the city for the French countryside and shares an inside look – filled with gorgeous, rustic recipes and an idyllic sensibility – that feels charming and real at the same time. And if that’s not good inspiration for a Saturday, I don’t know what is.

Have a lovely weekend. xx

*image found on Pinterest, follow me here

Five Beauty Finds on My Fall Wishlist

2014 September 12
by WWGD

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I know…it would probably be far more beneficial to you to read about products I have actually tried and liked and want to recommend.

And I love to share those (check out the “must-haves” tab to your right or just search “must-haves”), don’t get me wrong.

But a girl’s gotta dream too, you know?

There are so many gorgeous new (well, some are only new to me) beauty products out there I am dying to get my hands on so thought I would share my fall beauty wishlist with you all:

Arcona Brightening Gommage exfoliator. I am all about exfoliators and scrubbing my sun-damaged skin after these long summer months so when Jenna Lyons mentioned this as her favorite must-have, I knew it would have to be mine too.

Sunday Riley Good Genes treatment. Another skin savior that is supposed to be amazing. But it comes with an amazing price tag, too. So while I tuck it safely away on my Christmas list, I may try the Sunday Riley cleanser instead.

I rarely wear fragrances (except for Kai, for obvious personal reasons) but I might be swayed to change my stance for this stunning new collection inspired by famed fashion editor Diana Vreeland. The warm blend of amber and vanilla in the Extravagance Russe scent sounds absolutely lovely for the months ahead.

Smith & Cult. A new line of too-cool nail polishes from the people that brought you the Hard Candy cosmetics line that you loved so much in the 90s. It’s a 5-free lacquer collection that looks as chic on your vanity as it does on your nails.

Finally, Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream. If you’re bold enough to claim your product has magical powers, it has got to be good. This celebrated celeb makeup artist from London has been concocting this “magic cream” to use on her VIP clientele for years and is finally sharing it with us common folk and our pores…to “treat and transform” them. If that doesn’t sound magical, I don’t know what does.

Have you tried any of these dreamy wishlist finds? If yes, please share your thoughts in the comments! And when I finally try them, I will be sure to share back!

A Day To Remember

2014 September 11
by WWGD

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This has been a nutty week in so many ways and today seems like a good day to take a step back, look around, be thankful for everything we have and to remember.

Here is my story of September 11th.

We all have one.

This day touched every single one of us in some way and continues to, year after year.

Wherever you are today, whatever the hours ahead bring you, find a quick moment to think of New York, of New Yorkers, and of all the people around the world who are touched by this day.

Never forget.

*image via Pinterest, no viable credit found

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Quality Versus Quantity

2014 September 8
by WWGD

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There is a phrase I like to use a lot when it comes to business: quality versus quantity.

In my industry, that means that we don’t strive for media impressions just for the numbers behind them…we strive for impressions that actually count. That move the needle. That make a difference. Sometimes that means 100 is better than 1000. Sometimes that means that numbers are lower than they may appear…though the impact is much greater.

If you are ever in a business meeting with me, I am very likely to bring up quality versus quantity.

Because I believe in it.

But recently, I have realized how much that boardroom analogy can translate to my personal life as well.

For most of my adult life, my sister has lived across the country from me. And for all those years, I felt the need to speak with her every day. Because I love my sister, because she is unbelievably far from me, because I worry about her…because I want her to know I care.

So for years and years, I would call my sister every day. It was often in the 5-minute drive to pick up. Or the drive home from the gym. Or in between conference calls. I never had much time to talk, but I thought that since I was calling, it showed I cared.

It did the opposite.

It showed I couldn’t make the time for a proper conversation. It showed I was very adept at cutting her off mid-sentence when the school bell rang and Little D came running out. It showed that my life was so “busy” that it could only fit my love for her in in five-minute increments.

Quantity tried to win out, but it couldn’t.

So just last week I sent her a text message that explained why I would be calling less moving forward. That I would only call when I had the time and the peace and quiet to sit and focus and to share what’s happening in my life and to really listen to her do the same. That might mean calling once per week, it might mean calling once every two weeks. But it would actually matter.

Thus far, it has worked. We haven’t spoken in days but thanks to the miracle of modern-day social media, I can keep tabs on her safety and comings and goings and know she is happy and healthy. I hope to find an hour one night this week to sit down with a glass of wine and FaceTime and properly connect. And if I can’t, I know I will find it soon enough.

Because quality has to win out.

In all areas of your life.

With your sister, with your parents, with your kids, with your spouse, with your friends.

It has to mean more, even if sometimes it feels like less.

It has to move the emotional needle.

It has to have an impact far beyond what it may seem.

Because quality is more important than quantity.

And like me, you have to believe in that.

*image above by Justin Posey, via Death to the Stock Photo 

For All the Days

2014 September 5
by WWGD

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Kai doesn’t know the word “forever.”

To him, in his perfectly sweet three and a half year old innocence, there is no concept of forever.

No eternity. No infinity. No endless anything.

But there is “for all the days.”

“Daddy said I could keep this piece of paper for all the days,” he said proudly at his art table the other day.

“Little D said I could have this stuffy for all the days,” he boasted when his sister handed down one of her favorite stuffed animals.

“I love you for all the days…and all the nights,” he whispered to me at bedtime one night.

You know how they say that every phase of motherhood is one you want to bottle and keep with you forever? The early, sleep-deprived moments of awe and fear and adrenaline. The milestone moments of the first two years, filled with first steps, words and signs of individual personalities that start to poke through. The three and a half year old days that are filled with sloppy kisses and runny noses and little hands that clutch yours as they cross the street. The days of growing independence and shots of defiance and warm cuddles and salty tears that can be instantly erased with a hug and a cookie. The days of early bed times and early mornings, of tantrums and tickle fights and laugh-out-loud statements.

The school years, even the teen years, the adult years.

All the days of motherhood.

If only you could bottle each one up and stack them in a neat line on a pretty shelf and take them down and open them up whenever your heart chooses to.

If only you could keep them for all the days.

I Don’t Know How She Does It – Alyssa Hertzig

2014 September 4
by WWGD

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Alyssa is the mom friend who is always two steps ahead of everything. As a renowned beauty editor (she is currently the beauty director at Brides magazine and has worked with Allure, Lucky, Shape, Harper’s Bazaar and many more…) she spends her days testing and trying out the latest bounty of beauty and wellness products to find the best of the best for her readers (lucky for us, she shares a lot of her know-how on her popular blog, The Sparkly Life, as well). By night, she heads from her Manhattan office in the sky back down-to-earth in charming Hoboken where she stays two steps ahead of everything for her husband, four year old daughter and toddler son. A sparkly life, indeed. And a busy one, too. But Alyssa manages to do it all with a smile in place and a killer blowout. Here’s how:

What time does your day start and how?

After either my daughter or my dog wakes me up around 5:30 or 6, I’ll make my daughter breakfast and prep her lunch. I’ll jump on the computer and publish my blog post for that day, then hopefully jump in the shower for a few minutes. Then I’ll spend some time checking my Bloglovin’ feed, Twitter, etc. until my son wakes up, which will be around 7:45 or 8. The babysitter arrives soon after that, so after I give my son his bottle, I’ll hand the reins over to her while I run upstairs to finish getting ready. If I’m going into the office, I have to hustle since I commute into the city. If I’m not, I can be a bit more leisurely, so I’ll have a little more time to spend with my kids before I head out.

What time does your day end and how?

My workday ends around 6pm, and the minute I leave the office, I’m basically running to get home. I’ll get to my house around 6:45, play with my kids for a little bit, and then the bedtime routine starts. Usually I’ll bathe one kid while my husband bathes the other, then we’ll all read stories together before it’s lights out. Both kids are going through a phase where they prefer me (instead of my husband) to physically put them in bed, so I’ll put my son down first around 7:30. Then I’ll go into my daughter’s room, talk with her for awhile (this is always such a special time—she tells me the funniest stories and cracks me up!), sing her our special lullaby, and then kiss her goodnight. Both kids will almost always sleep through the night—although I probably just jinxed that. After eating dinner, I’ll then stay up for several more hours (I am going through a phase where I stay up way too late) working on my blog, catching up on social media, and okay, unwinding with a little TV. (Game of Thrones is my current love—I was late to it but now I’m obsessed.)

Do you work from home or in an office? What is the set up like?

Since having kids, I’ve gone back and forth between working full-time in an office to freelancing full-time from home. But neither extreme had been the perfect fit for me—I hate being away from my kids the entire week, but when I’m freelancing, I really crave the structure and “grown-up time” that an office environment provides. Then, earlier this summer, I started a new job and it’s kind of the ideal balance of the two. I work three days a week at my job (as the beauty director of Brides magazine), and then I’m home the other two days of the week to do my own thing. This is basically my dream scenario, and I feel so lucky to have found it. The two days I’m home, I use mostly to work on my blog, so I’m still working, but it’s definitely different than being in an actual office. I make my own hours and I’m in and out of the house so I see my kids throughout the day. I will almost always go into a nearby coffee shop for one long stretch in the morning (I have my babysitter on the days I’m home, too), so that I can bang out a bunch of blog stuff. Then I’ll usually spend the afternoon working on other projects for my blog (taking photos, email outreach, etc), running errands, and hopefully squeezing in a Pilates or Spin class.

Do you see/speak to your kids throughout your work day? If yes, how/when?

If I’m at home, yes, many times on and off throughout the day. I’ll hang out with them, eat with them, put my son down for his naps, pick my daughter up from school, etc. But during the days I’m in the office—rarely, actually. My nanny will text me photos of them—which I love—and I’ll usually check in with her at least once during the day to see how things are going, but I usually don’t talk on the phone with my kids unless I know I’m going to be home late (which happens very infrequently). Then I’ll always call to say goodnight. My son is at an age where he doesn’t really understand the phone though, so if I call or Facetime, it actually makes him very upset since he doesn’t get why he can’t touch or hug me. It’s really quite sad—for both of us!–so I try not to do it too much.

What is the best thing about being a working mom? Hardest thing?

The hardest thing is missing important moments. I’m lucky that my schedule is somewhat flexible, so I’m able to rearrange it to be there for a lot of things, but it’s not always possible. For instance, I won’t be able to drop my daughter off for her first day of school this year. That’s tough.

Be honest, what is one thing you envy about stay at home moms?

I love picking my daughter up from school. I try to do it on the days I’m home, but it would be nice to be able to do that every day. In your entire life, no one will ever be as happy to see you as your kid when you pick him or her up from school or camp. It’s so cute! But for the most part, there’s not a ton I envy about stay-at-home moms—and please understand that I definitely do not mean that in a bad way. It’s more that I have been a stay-at-home mom so I know how hard it is—and I know that I’m too much of a wimp to do it. It’s way, way, way harder than being a working mom. I adore being with my kids, but taking care of them alone all day, every day is a million times harder than anyone who is not a mom will ever know. In comparison, going to the office honestly feels like a vacation sometimes.

Answer the question “I don’t know how you do it?” in ten words or less.

Lots of determination, very little sleep, and a good blowout.

And clearly we HAD to pick Alyssa’s brain for her favorite must-haves of the moment:

AlyssaHertzigMustHaves-WhatWouldGwynethDoThe Body Shop Coconut Hair Shine: this is one of my all-time favorite beauty products. Just a dab tames down flyaways in seconds. It’s especially good when my hair gets frizzy/poufy, which is just the worst.

Grady’s Cold Brew: you haven’t had iced coffee until you’ve had this cold-brew concentrate. You mix it with milk, add ice, and like magic you have the most delicious iced coffee you have ever tasted—I promise.

PB Teen Gold Maison Canopy Bed: I’m in the middle of redecorating my daughter’s room, because she just moved to a ‘big-girl bed.’ I just ordered her this one. I wanted something that was pretty and girly and—her request—“princess-y,” but would still last her for many years. I’m so excited to get it but we have a long time to wait—it’s backordered until mid-December! Ugh.

Surratt Artistique Eyeshadow in Soie: the texture of these shadows is amazing—so, so silky—and this is the perfect shimmery nude.

Bobbi Brown Stella Wayfarer Sunglasses in Rose Havana: I love a good pair of sunglasses and I’ve been wearing this Bobbi pair every single day since I got them a few months back. The shape works well for my face, and I love the subtle pink tint. It’s a hint of color without being super in-your-face bright.

Rag & Bone Kensington Skinny Jeans: they’re comfy, flattering and cool. I wear them to work, to the park, to run errands—I basically live in them.

We can see why. Thanks for sharing, Alyssa!

Must-Have: Rifle Paper Co. x Puffin in Bloom

2014 September 3
by WWGD

RiflePaperCoPuffin-WhatWouldGwynethDoOne of my greatest joys in life is the love my daughter has for reading.

This girl has her nose buried in a book from morning to night. Her first grade teacher last year required 100 minutes of reading per week and she often completed that in a day. She saves her allowance for trips to Barnes & Noble and on the days when her piggy bank has run dry, she uses our heavily worn library card and takes out dozens of chapter books at a time.

She is a true book worm and I couldn’t be more proud.

Some of her choice picks, however…let’s just say they are not the classics. There are a lot of little ponies, some bossy big sister types, and a puppy or six that line her bookshelves and while it doesn’t bother me — she is reading, after all! – I can’t wait for the day when she can appreciate some of the true great stories of our time.

Which is why I am loving the new Puffin in Bloom collection from Penguin Books with beautiful keepsake covers designed by Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co. Anna’s delightful designs give these beloved books a new dimension that makes you want to dive in now and then promptly put them on display for years to come.

No sparkly ponies to be found.

She may not appreciate the tales within these pages just yet, but I think that starting her with a collection of these beautiful classics now is a gift – like reading – that will stay with her forever.

Heidi, Little Women and A Little Princess - are available now.