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

2014 September 4


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!

12 Responses
  1. Jennifer permalink
    September 4, 2014

    I am a devoted reader and I always cringe a little when I read the “what do you envy about stay at home moms?” question. I can’t put my finger on why, but as a stay at home mom I guess I don’t always see it as a luxury. As Alyssa graciously puts it above, it can be really challenging! And some days I seriously envy the financial flexibility of working moms. I guess it’s a ‘grass is always greener’ scenario. I do cherish these years I’ve been home with my kids, but not a day goes by that I don’t feel a little remorseful for the great body of work or successful career that I do not have.

    • WWGD permalink*
      September 4, 2014

      Oh no, I don’t want to make you cringe!! 😉 Yes, I think that’s definitely it – both sides have their pros and cons, as we all know…there are many. Since this particular column is from a working mom’s perspective, I know from experience there are lots of things I envy about my stay-at-home friends and I wanted to start that discussion. But I know – and hopefully most of my readers think the same! – that “the envy” flows both ways. And you may have just given me an idea for a new feature…thanks, Jennifer 🙂

      • Jennifer permalink
        September 4, 2014

        Love ya girl. “Cringe” was maybe too strong of a word. “Flinch”.or maybe “sigh.”..xx

  2. September 4, 2014

    Ahh! So exciting! Thank you so much for including me!

    • WWGD permalink*
      September 4, 2014

      Thank you so much for taking the time! xx

  3. September 4, 2014

    Great post! I love the balance she has been able to find. I’m working on finding that balance right now. Hopefully, I will fully achieve it in the near future!

    • WWGD permalink*
      September 4, 2014

      You will! It’s definitely not easy and it always involves some sacrifice, but once you find it, it’s worth it. xx

  4. janine permalink
    September 4, 2014

    yay hoboken!

    • WWGD permalink*
      September 4, 2014

      Ha, best comment ever!

  5. September 4, 2014

    I love this series and admire Alyssa a lot! xox

  6. September 5, 2014

    I was so excited to meet Alyssa at BlogHer, I love meeting other working moms who are doing it, and doing it well!

  7. September 7, 2014

    I genuinely appreciate the honesty in this post. A great glimpse into making it work and finding the pockets of joy (from school pick up to great skinnies) that I think we all, working or staying home, work toward.

Comments are closed.