Today is a big day because it is the first day that I will be sharing details of Another Garde, the fashion startup I have been working on since February to a friend/business brain/potential investor. It’s scary because I want her to be ruthless and tell me in the face if this whole business concept sucks. It feels a little like introducing G to his new teacher in September and say: ‘do you think he’ll handle structure and discipline well? Hmm…’ A little like giving someone a stick to beat you with. Basically.
Anyway there is a word for what I am doing today: pitching. In the 11 years, I lived in London I probably used the word ‘pitch’ only to order beer but New York is like Pitch Land! I seem to use it all the time:
Baseball pitcher: potentially the most revered sportsman in America
High pitch voices: that’s basically the sound of New York on Sunday brunch time, in shops, on a train to Long Beach etc. An odd sound mix of a pack of barking mutts and a 13 year old teenager having his first orgasm again…and again…again. Yeah. That bad.
Elevator pitch; in here you don’t introduce yourself, you pitch yourself. New Yorkers are pro networkers and have little time so you basically have 30 secs minute to make an impression. In fact, when I was looking for a job, Archibald/the worst job search coach ever used to say: you have 10 words to explain who you are, what you want and how I can help you so go ahead…after 1 minute of my rambling he would snore right in my face. Ass.
Anyway, here’s my Pitch Outfit – I figure that if I bleed from stress it will look nice on white 🙂 like O-ren on Kill Bill.
Elizabeth & James blazer, knit top from Joe Fresh, loungewear from H&M, black hide leather sandals from MIA and DH’s $20 aviator shades.
Let’s make this a home run people!!!
Disclaimer: This is not a public solicitation or offer to fund my business.
I hate bad customer service. It is one of those things that really bug me. Living in New York does not help; I get even more demanding now. However, something very out of character happened to me: two weeks ago, I almost tipped someone so that they stopped doing their job so well. It was a very kind beauty therapist…
Disclaimer: this post is kind of graphic and could cause discomfort. Read at your own risk. In my defense, I am muy loca these days.
With all the stress leading to our summer road trip down South and DH’s work news, I decided to finally claim my Mother’s Day present: a long overdue Mani Pedi and a massage. But since I, more than ever, needed to think ‘practical’, I opted out from the massage and asked for bikini waxing. It was a no brainer: I was going to the beach in South Carolina, it was going to be hot and whether I liked it of not I had to help DH supervise the kiddos in the sea. So yeah I had to do IT.
It was high time that I finally overcame my fear. I avoided any ‘maintenance’ job down there since L was born 2 years ago because I have this (irrational) belief that a tiny tiny strip of wax was going to rip open wide my C-section scar. Hey, people tend to sweep under the rug the excruciating pain of C-section recovery: ‘it is standard procedure, don’t sweat it, you’ll be fine…You will be like C- what again?‘ Bullshit !!! I am still traumatized about it and every time L is pinching my scar (and all the fat around it)-for fun- I swear I cry. Note: this boy is obsessed with fat so either he becomes a cosmetic surgeon, a personal trainer or a soap maker. Bets are on.
Anyway, I was feeling strong and did not flinch when I confidently replied ‘Brazilian’ after the beautician asked whether I wanted a a Brazilian or a basic bikini. But then, she started to voice her concern when she saw me naked:
‘Wow, it’s a lot…Are you sure? Have you done it before?
‘Yes, I did it once when I was in Sao Paulo years ago. It was way before I had kids…I know it is all a mess down here these days but see, I had 3 kids [as if…] and I had this C-section so been scared to do it again bla bla…’
The more I talked, the more confused she looked but she proceeded anyway…That’s when I started to get confused.
She told to lift this, and lift that, and turn this and turn that. WTF???!!!! I was so shocked that I could not utter a word and just obediently followed the instructions. Thousand thoughts and screams were bursting inside my head with the loudest one being this one:
‘Obviously now I know for sure. I never had a fucking Brazilian ever before!!!!! Because if I had, I would definitely know!’
I swear it felt like a thorough OBGYN checkup combined with an hemorrhoids consult. Every time I thought she was done, she was going back to it again…and AGAIN. Even mental teleportation to my calm and safe haven where I ‘go’ to when the kids piss me off (FYI recently that place has been the Catskills Mountains in the Fall season) failed to calm my nerves.
She finally paused:
‘You have very, very sensitive skin…
Me thinking: No I don’t it. Perhaps I am bleeding because this part is supposed to have hair to protect it?
‘Yes you are very sensitive, so I am going to ask you one last time. Are you sure you want me to take it all off?
At this point, it is not confusion anymore but sheer disarray:
‘What do you mean? Surely, there is nothing left to take off… I said partly smiling partly wimping partly melting with sweat. Let’s just pause now to imagine a selfie of that expression…hahaha.
Realizing that I would never understand what she meant even if she was to speak very slowly and articulate every single sound, she just silently pointed her finger at my ‘sacred line’. My eyes rolled out of my head and I finally screamed: ‘Please stop now, please’.
‘Sure. Let me ‘clean’ the rest some details.’ She said getting her tweezer out to finish me off.
When I left the treatment room, I noticed that:
– I have been in there for almost an hour
– I could barely walk
– I should have thought better than wear tight jeans
And most importantly, as I was slowly moving toward the seat where my pedi would take place, I saw that all the customers were staring at me big time as if wondering whether or not I had my whole body waxed…Once home and after all the redness disappeared, I started to laugh. In the last few years, I have been telling people how the whole IVF process, multiple vaginal exams during my two pregnancies, my two deliveries by C-section destroyed all my sense of privacy and intimacy and claiming proudly that now old prudish me could face anything bla bla bla. As if no other woman on Earth could understand a word of what I freaking went through.
Turns out any woman who had a $50 full brazilian wax (or any gay man period) probably totally gets it!
For the second installment of my New York series, I chose our ‘garden’. I have tried to write how I feel about Central Park but I truly lack the words and the prose. The thing with Central Park is that I thought I knew everything about it because of my addiction to Sex and the City reruns: the horses, the bridges, the rocks, the ponds, the hot dog carts, the cartoonists drawing your portrait while smoking a fag, the bike renters following you until you rent a bike…
I was SO wrong. The truth is, all this stuff is just the pretty and funny veneer. Other words that non New Yorkers may not connect to Central Park include:
The Great Hill
Skateboarders in the summer
Snowboarders in the winter
Swedish Puppet Theatre
Central Park has many twists and shades. It moves, dances, it is like a human being. This is the only way I can explain how a park can still surprise the urban ‘I hate trees’ girl I am. After all these years, I still stop in my tracks asking myself: ‘how come I have never seen this rose garden before?‘ in the Summer, or ‘have the trees always been that red?‘ in the Fall, or ‘Did the ice make that pond bigger than it usually is?’ in the cold Winter.
I have too many memories to share all of them but I will give you one of my first and one of my last:
– Thor, Archibald, DH and I packed a picnic in 2 seconds after a sudden thunderstorm interrupted a classical music concert and fled the park alongside a thousand New Yorkers and their thousand colorful umbrellas. Of course we were the only morons without an umbrella. Very dramatic, Very convivial, Very New York.
– my heart dropped because we had just lost G (again) in the Park. We called out his name to no avail and I kept thinking: ‘it is Central Park, nothing bad can happen here. It is Central Park, it is your haven, nothing bad can happen here’. And yes, he eventually came back appearing behind hundreds of tulips. Safe. 30 minutes later, it was pouring down with rain and we fled the park with 3 tots in tow and NO umbrella…again. Almost got run over by a stroller. Very Over the Top, Very New York.
Note: I have been MIA for almost 3 weeks and have a lot of catching up to do!!! Looking forward to reading some of my fave bloggers. You know who you are 🙂
7.00am The Screw Up
The day started by a sobering realization: I gave our nanny her Friday off so she could have family time with her young kids. But DH was not working and I had to work…I gently warmed DH to the idea of having to mind the kids on his own. I started to say things like: ‘I have the meeting during the kids’ nap; it should be quick and nice’.
‘Where’s your meeting?’
He raised his eyebrow it is just the second largest borough in New York so I vaguely say: ‘I think it is somewhere in Greenpoint’.
I.e. 3 transfers, 3 boroughs Manhattan – Queens- Brooklyn = there is not a fucking chance that I will be back before the kids wake up from their naps. I am now trying to hide the IPad so that DH does not check Google Maps.
8.00am The Breakfast
We get ready to eat and of course I forgot to buy Nespresso refills, sliced bread, jam,…basically I had shopping amnesia. Facing me, I have an understanding silent DH who starts mumbling in his head (oh yeah DH, I can hear you we are practically twins…) and three tots who do now pretend to be starving. I mean they were perfectly content poking each other’s eyes a la Kill Bill for a stupid toy pocket light that is (seriously) the size of a quarter coin. Morons.
This until they heard the ‘we have no food, we have no coffee’ line. It was just what they needed to start shaking the kitchen gate and scream ‘Moooooom, I am hungryyyyyy!!!!‘Terrorists.
So I dash to our local hipster coffee place the Double Dutch looking like and smelling SHITE, in my PJs and see on my way some neighbors with their 2 young kids all dressed up (obviously smelling nice shampoo) strolling away to enjoy the sunny day. I am a fecking failure 🙂
8.45am The ‘I am choosing my battle’
I get the kiddos ready and decide to skip our usual tooth brushing routine that sounds like this:
Me: Please open your mouth so I can brush your teeth
Me: C’mon or your teeth will be broken like Mama’s and I don’t have money to get then fixed. Note: I really don’t.
Them clinching their teeth: No!!!
Me: C’mon!!! Forcing the toothbrush in their mouth seconds before getting whacked in the head by an hysterical tot.
So yeah, I have no time for this crap. Not today.
10.30am The Me Time
DH takes the 3 musketeers to the building common yard to play with their scooters. I finally have my coffee and start cooking the kids’ lunch because the deal was:
‘I’ll watch the monsters but you feed them. If you leave before, they won’t eat’ This blackmail works EVERY time.
That is the main difference between DH and I: food. He is of the school ‘you play with your food, you don’t eat. You complain about your food, you don’t eat.’ I am more like ‘OK I’ ll hunt you down with a spoon until you eat’. That is my Lao fiber, that pathological need to feed people.
11.30am The Rat Race
I am still not showered and running after my kids riding their scooters with a spoon of chicken pasta. My Lao grandma would be proud. Meanwhile DH is rubbing his forehead; he is probably thinking that this day cannot finish soon enough. Of course, the kids refuse to eat. DH is happy to eat the leftovers; the man is depressed.
I am out of the house (showered) and I stop feeling guilty. I am even excited by the idea of doing a transfer in Queens. I am pathetic.
3.45pm Rad Greenpoint
My meeting is finally done, I met with 2 beautiful and bright women entrepreneurs. I am fully energized. It occurs to me that people in Greenpoint are hip in the right kind of way: they are super friendly, talk slow and smile like a LOT. I also learn a new word: ‘rad’. I think it means ‘awesome’, ‘cool’, ‘out of your mind amazing’. Everyone is Brooklyn seems to say ‘rad this’, ‘rad that’. Somehow I don’t think I can pull it off. My skinny jeans are not skinny enough.
4.15pm The Psychopath
As I am on the train, I am checking out what the guy next to me is reading but cannot find out because the guy is actually Michael C. Hall with a sports cap on. I have been obsessed with Dexter for a longtime and still think that Season 4 with John Lithgow is one of the best things I have ever seen on TV. So I remain speechless feeling both giddy and scared shitless. Michael C. Hall was so good as Dexter that as I am sitting next to him, I am catching myself looking around to see if we are alone in the train carriage…I freak out. For real. I am teleported to Miami and am wondering if I am going to be the next Dexter victim…
4.45pm The Bouncy Castle
I get home and the kids are about to go ballistic inside the bouncy castle that DH is now setting up in our living room…Where’s the beer?
5.15 pm The Playground
I hate playgrounds. I always end up bickering with 4 year olds and always seem to be searching for one of my kids. Too much stress; so I dial my friend Emma: ‘Fancy a Harlem tavern with all our 5 kids?’ and I am counting the minutes.
6.00pm The Tavern
aka the place where kids eat chips and listen to Jazz while their parents get plastered with beers and mimosas. It has a very high ratio of staff and usually half of them likes children so B-I-N-G-O, they will always stop your kids in time before they stab themselves with a knife. Awesome for outnumbered parents.
10.00pm The Bedtime
Somehow we bought wine and ended up at Emma’s and while the 5 kids watch something on the TV…the 4 parents kept sipping wine. Eventually every set of parents has to deal with their responsibilities. Denial is coming to an end: it is passed bedtime and one way or the other you have to clean them and put them to bed. As the kids are yawning under their blankets, for a second I am thinking: ‘What an ass I have been, they should have been in bed hours ago..‘ But my thoughts are interrupted by P.:
-‘Mom, why could I not stay at my girlfriends E. and M’s?
– Well you are only 3, a little too young…
-OK, when I am older, buy me a phone and I will call my girlfriends and I will stay at their place even after it gets dark. I am not scared, you know’
I smile. The apple did not fall from the tree. Atta girl.
I had a working session today with a Fashion entrepreneur/Fashion designer. I love meeting with creative people because they are often extremely good looking and being near them is like eating La Duree macarons while listening to Bach. They have an air about them, an halo: is it the fitted cashmere coat, the biweekly facials or the lighting of the places where we meet? Who knows but I often find myself longing after their freshly pressed silk blouses (90% of what I own has never been ironed) or the neat stitching of their cuffs: all evidence of wealth, savvy shopping or at the very least general good taste.
I am enchanted and inspired; their glow touches my face. When I get home, I want to eat Quinoa, I promise I shall remove my make up every day before going to bed to have better skin, and I am adamant about tidying up the book case in my living room which generally looks like trash compactor units piled on top of each other. I am so random, I know. But after 1 hour, I realize that I am truly starving because I had only a faro soup (which really was a broth with some spinach leaves and few faro grains) in a 5 hours meeting when really I wanted to order the burger. I thus end up sandwiching some cheese in between 2 home made cookies baked by Thor…That’s when I know the spell has been broken. Oh well.
Anyway, when I meet with fashion people I tend to be overly self-conscious about what I wear because I know that their professional eye and brain will notice and know everything about my outfit: how many times they saw me with the same pair of boots, what fabric my jacket is made of, which brand it is, etc. It gets worse when these people are women because I am a woman who loves to dress to impress women rather than men. I get stage fright. I thus decided today to play the ‘comfort’ card. If you cannot look nice, look like you are comfortable. People will always envy that 🙂
In the end the whole outfit was kind of meh: partly comfortable, kind of ‘unfinished’, a tad too safe..So bland that even an attempt of a Bowie inspired hair do failed to spice it up. I guess you can’t always get it right.
Cardigan from Joie, Gap body black dress, golden brooch found in a crazy Antiques barn in Barryville (I pinned it on simple canvas tote bag), a golden belt, a faux fur russian hat which ended up not working out (either the hat got smaller -unlikely – or my head got bigger -worrisome) and Celine boots.
If you have been reading my blog, you know that I have never shined away from professing my love of this city. This series just makes it official 🙂
After a rather traumatic return from the twins’ first dental visits, and two hours of non stop tantrums today I was…Well, let’s say that even a glass of red wine could not take the edge away. But as I lay in my bed and everyone around me is snoring, I remember that when things get tough, it always helps to think about someone you love.
Tonight I am thinking about our walk through West Chelsea last Saturday where beauty and ins/aspiration elevated me. Art galleries and design showrooms cannot stop mushrooming in this area. We lived right in the heart of this hood…that is until G & P started to crawl and our 650sft apartment by the Highline thus became a bonafide nursery.
I love the warehouses, the cobble streets, the brick walls, how street art coexist with expensive sculptures or furniture…and I love imagining what the hidden lofts in these old buildings could look like. What do people hang on their walls when they have so much beauty at the bottom of their stairs? Do they sleep in silk sheets on the floor with just a gigantic glass chandelier floating above them or some shit like this?
Anyway, I got glued by the windows of Beyond 7, a retail store for a designer showroom. Dummies were decorated with hundreds of brooches, pearls, ornaments, you name it. Insanely quirky, insanely stunning. I managed to snatch a couple of shots but a real visit to this place is now on my ‘to do in New York before I die’ list.
A gallery owner then invited us 5, our 2 dirty strollers, our scrappy outfits and dirty faces (runny noses have lately become our middle names) to come inside and check out paintings by French Artist Laina Hadengue including a beautiful Frida Khalo inspired piece. I am grateful that this sophisticated lady showed us around so that our kids could see Art. And I am grateful about how she gently smiled when they eventually begged to go to the park. Unbeknownst to her, she made DH and I feel like humans again, humans who can appreciate air light brush strokes or ingenious collages. Without any prejudice.
5 minutes later, our 3 kids literally spent 2 hours throwing blocks of ice into the Hudson River while P had to pee against a tree and wipe her bum against her dad’s trousers 🙂 Days like these make me feel complete; that’s what I need to think of as I am nursing my left wrist that P scratched earlier today (it actually really hurts!) and as L is waking up just now to interrupt my middle of the night blogging/therapy…
Two months ago I went with BFF Natasha to see ‘The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk’ exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. The genius and talent made me shiver; it almost made me sick to the stomach. I swear my heart beat faster than when I saw Matt Bomer/Neal Caffrey’s abs in the first season of White Collar. Natasha and I could not help caressing with the tips of our fingers one of the dresses and got (rightfully) scolded by the security guard who then followed us during our entire visit. True schoolgirls in a candy shop or at a boys band’s concert
I have been meaning to share this experience with my readers who cannot go to see the exhibit themselves so we can all sigh together in awe and pleasure. I’ll shut up now and let you enjoy. Apologies for some of the lousy shots and my inability to short list among these wonderful works of art!