Fresh Reads: Kelly Cutrone & Mireille Guiliano

being in an industry that requires a good amount of time in front of the computer really makes you appreciate the times when you're not staring at a laptop or desktop screen. for my flight down to and back from SXSW, i totally relished the hours uninterrupted by phone or internet. i took the time to write, sleep, and also managed to blaze through two books by two absolutely compelling women - Mireille Guiliano and Kelly Cutrone.

i don't feel like there are enough examples of power women who like to help other women out there in the world of business. a lot of the successful ladies we see depicted in movies and on TV are the kinds of women nobody wants to be around: mean, disrespectful, lonely, hostile and with a warped sense of entitlement. Ms. Cutrone herself is privy to this on her own show plus the ones she's previously been a part of. anywho, i always gravitate towards the books by power women in all kinds of industries. they have so many life lessons and tips to share with young ladies like myself :)

i really enjoyed reading both Women, Work & the Art of Savoir Faire and If You Have to Cry, Go Outside. These two women could not be any different and yet offer up such similar pieces of advice. Guiliano oversaw the Veuve Cliquot enterprise in the U.S., expanding from 1% of market share to a good quarter of it. Intermixed with great lessons on how to wine & dine, interview, network, make presentations and hold your own in the office & on the field, this amazing French powerhouse also shared her personal thoughts on fashion, work/life balance and taking care of yourself (which we as women tend to put to the side in our quest to be all things motherly for everyone else.) i was really entertained and inspired by her many stories of holding her own against the stereotypes of the male-dominated industry that the wine world was - and how she always stood true to bringing new ideas to the table to bring her brands to the top of consumers' minds.

Kelly Cutrone is an incredible force of nature. While dispelling almost everything that's been depicted of her on TV, she shares an incredibly intimate peek into her life - from a bored teenager trapped in upstate New York, a hipster in the wild days of 70s NY nightlife, a young divorcee piecing her life back together on the west coast to legendary pillar in the fashion PR industry. what i loved most about Kelly was learning how huge her heart is. in regards to her employees - as long as you give her your all and show that your heart is truly in the right place at People's Revolution, she will bend over backwards to take care of you and give you the tools to succeed in the industry (or wherever you want to end up.) her book is a quick read but chock full of great advice for anyone who wants to be (or work for) an entrepreneur. i love that she constantly stresses the hard work, the stress and the hours it takes to succeed; i feel like so many people i meet who want to "be in fashion" don't actually have the heart, the drive or the passion to do it. she makes it crystal clear that those people are a dime a dozen and quickly find they have no place in the fashion industry at all.

so what are some of the things both Mireille and Kelly taught me? here are a couple of my favorite lessons from both fabulous ladies:
  • What's the worst that could happen? Life is all about taking risks, right? For women in business, taking risks is the key to finding success - and encountering failures (lessons learned.) Both ladies often asked this question throughout their books, to demonstrate why they made the decisions they did. I love posing risks in that perspective. You'll find that things don't seem so scary or daunting if you stop and ask, "What's the worst that could happen?"
  • You will get somewhere if you put your heart into it. Mireille & Kelly are full of experiences where they went above and beyond what was required of them to get what they want and ultimately elevate their present business situation. This is one of those lessons I feel are easiest to listen to but hardest to put in place. You have to keep at whatever it is you're doing, especially when you reach the point where you feel like you can't do it anymore. As my friend Darcey Howard likes to say, you're not an entrepreneur if you don't want to vomit at least three times a week :)
  • Take care of yourself! Ugh. The first thing women do is forget about themselves when trying to have it all. I am a repeat offender of this. I have to remind myself that I am in dire need of "me" time, all the time. Mireille goes into some depth in pointing out the differences between how the French and Americans view vacation time. We have a lot to learn from the well-vacationed Europeans, I can tell you that! Kelly even points out that while she has created a life where her home and work are in the same building, she is adamant about unplugging when she leaves the office, to cook, bake, focus on her daughter and basically have time to herself.
  • Learn to say no - and how to hear it. It was so comforting to me to read different takes on this from both women. Mireille stresses that you have to know when to say no - to promotions, new jobs, new responsibilities, whatever - in order to maintain your inner peace and some sort of balance in your life. Alternately, I LOVED reading Kelly's stories about getting yelled at (and yelling at) impossibly difficult clients. It comes with the territory - and it's how you build that tough-as-nails blood Kelly's got streaming through her veins.
  • Dress for success! For Mireille, it's injecting your personal style so that you make an impact in the boardroom without making a spectacle of yourself. For Kelly, it's cutting-edge style, and a uniform of all-black (only at fashion shows & events) - timelessly chic, always stylish and a way for her team to find each other in the midst of chaos. Regardless of where you are in your career and what you happen to represent at the moment, I think both women would agree that the most important thing you can wear is a relentless confidence of self. Nothing looks better than a woman who knows what she wants and how to get it.
I read a ton of books but I'm glad these two made it on the plane with me. I highly suggest these to any power girl who needs a little more mentorship from other power girls in the world.


for the girl who has everything (on her): the Ramsay Rock Tote

debuting the Ramsay Rock Tote at SXSW in Austin. rockin

i have always been the kinda girl who carries every possible thing she can in her purse, and then some. who knows when i'll get home after leaving the house, where i'll go and what i'll need when i'm there? i am a "need to be prepared" kinda girl, you know? and the dawning of the digital era has made it so that every bag lady now has an extra few lbs to haul around via laptop, smartphone, Kindle, iPad, what have you.

needless to say, i have always gravitated towards the biggest totes i could find. i mean, the most gigantic, olsen twin-style bags i could find. i am a power girl on the go and i need my bag to house everything i need to succeed. luckily, Handbag Heaven has fulfilled my needs by blessing me with the Ramsay Rock Tote.

the Ramsay Rock Tote is amazing. i'm really picky when finding a bag that fits both my needs & my style & this tote hits the mark on both points. it's incredibly roomy, has great pockets to fit the small stuff, handles and a longer strap in case i want to throw it over my shoulder or across my frame. the gold, grey & silver stud detail are icing on the cake for me, in a "don't mess with me" icing way :)

thanks to Handbag Heaven for giving a bag lady what she wants & needs!

a peek into my life, clockwise from top left:
Ramsay Rock Tote, $77.99 (+ 15% off w/code SPRING2010)
Paper calendar...because I can't put my whole life online :)
Various cordage
Cole Haan purse (the little bag that holds the littler stuff)
My escape from reality (iPod)
Laptop w/inCase sleeve


Nike "Pacman" Pacquiao collection now at Goods

Still smiling from Pacquiao's latest win last night? Now you can show off your love for the Pacman, thanks to Goods & Nike...


The Selby Is In Your Place - and on coffee tables everywhere

I love books. The dream home I'm designing in my head will center around a beautiful library. I can't fathom the thought of trading books for a Kindle or Nook. I love to read and love to soak up knowledge from Malcolm Gladwell or escape with J.K. Rowling whenever I have a chance.

You can imagine I was pretty excited to hear that one of my favorite visual bloggers - photographer Todd Selby of The Selby - was releasing a book featuring some of his famous portrait interviews in The Selby Is in Your Place.

In his first book, each profile is accompanied by Selby’s watercolor portraits of the subjects and objects from their homes, and illustrated questionnaires, which Selby asks each sitter to fill out. The Selby is in Your Place consists of over thirty profiles, most of which are never before seen, selected exclusively for the book. The result is a collection of unique spaces bursting with energy and personality that together create a colorful hodgepodge of inspirational interiors.

Todd Selby's photographs can be seen regularly in Vogue Paris, British Vogue, Architectural Digest France, GQ, The New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, Dazed & Confused, Another Magazine, and the London Sunday Times.

The Selby Is in Your Place comes out April 1st - get yours!

Pepsi We Inspire: Empowering Women

As part of its full-on foray into social media, Pepsi's recently launched "Pepsi We Inspire" to share uplifting stories by and for women - celebrity and everyday women alike. They recently partnered with two of my favorites - actress Thandie Newton and Dress for Success - to give back to the community in a fun and meaningful format.

Thandie, among other Hollywood ladies, kindly donated pieces of clothing from her "RocknRolla" wardrobe to Dress for Success along with a personal note of encouragement for the clothing's recipient. In return, the lucky DFS client also wrote a note of gratitude. Take a look:

Check out Pepsi We Inspire for more great stories and to meet other fab women!

Where da Gold at?

i won't be in town for St. Patty's Day but if i was, i would DEFINITELY be here.

Spring Forward with Style at The Bravern - March 19 & 20

Next weekend, The Shops at The Bravern presents Spring Forward With Style.

Celebrate the arrival of Spring with champagne and handcrafted cheeses from Artisanal Brasserie as you preview the season's hottest new styles - many brought in exclusively for this event.

Two days of featured store events include:

* Style consulting at Piazza Sempione
* Shopping the Jimmy Choo shoes worn to the Oscars
* Sampling the new Salvatore Ferragamo fragrance released this month
* Pouring over the latest delivery at Tory Burch
* Receive a gift with purchase when you shop the Contemporary, Dress and Men’s collections at Neiman Marcus
* Receive a gift with purchase or view the new Catherine Malandrino and the YSL Spring Shoe Collections, also at Neiman Marcus

Don’t forget to check out the latest addition to The Bravern’s fashion line up: David Lawrence.

Happy spring shopping!


DELI Seattle + Beta Unit present The Butcher Shop

I LOVE it when indie stores go outside of the box and do something a little different. Staying within the delicatessen idea, DELI Seattle is collaborating with California-based BETA Unit to produce "The Butcher Shop!"

The Butcher Shop is a contemporary take on a back kitchen/food prep area. The pop-up shop - located at Harbor Steps - will only carry exclusive styles from the two brands.

Beta Unit is an independent clothing label focused on wearability, unconventional functionality, and engineering the perfect fit. Garments are carefully constructed from high quality fabrics, often with unexpected details and experimental function.

The Butcher Shop is scheduled to close doors May 30th, 2010.

Opening party is this Friday, March 12th, 2010 from 7-11 p.m.

Foodportunity's coming again! Mon Mar 22

Keren Brown of Frantic Foodie fame brings together two of my favorite things: eating delicious food + connecting with great people!

March 22nd, 2010
Palace Ballroom (2100 5th Ave, Seattle 98101)
$22 / $28 after 3/14
Purchase tickets here
Connect with local food writers, bloggers, restaurateurs, food producers, PR professionalss and several of Seattle’s most talented chefs and restaurant owners. These chefs and owners will be available for questions and conversation in the lounge of the Palace Ballroom between 6:30pm-7:15pm.
  • Tom Douglas, owner of the Palace Ballroom, Palace Kitchen, Lola, Etta’s, Serious Pie, Dahlia Lounge and Dahlia Bakery.
  • Ron Zimmerman and Carrie Van Dyck, owners of The Herbfarm in Woodinville
  • Brian Canlis, co-owner of Canlis Restaurant
  • Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, owners and chefs at Joule in Wallingford
  • Greg Atkinson, contributing editor to Food Arts magazine and to The Seattle Times, chef-instructor at Seattle Culinary Academy.
For the first 40 people who send an email to info@foodportunity.com, there will also be a “speed networking” event, beginning at 8:30pm, chaired by KOMO restaurant reporter and Seattle Weekly “Voracious” blogger Julien Perry. "Speed networking gives you a taste of 20 new people. You can decide who you want to follow up with,” Brown says.

Foodportunity participants will enjoy appetizers from several of Seattle's most talked about restaurants, and the opportunity to engage with a wide range of food companies.

Tom Douglas, awarded National Restaurant of the Year by Bon Appetit magazine and a national James Beard nominee for Restaurateur of the Year, will provide his Palace Ballroom facilities to host the event and serve a selection of appetizers. Additional participating restaurants include: Mistral Kitchen, Spring Hill, Cascina Spinasse, Cicchetti, Dinette, Olivar and Urbane.

Beer and wine will be available from a cash bar, and a wide range of food products from local companies will be on display.