So many of you were so sweet in asking me in comments/emails about my business, Fizz, so here’s the skinny: Fizz is a workplace technology that facilitates realtime employee feedback. I’ve been an employee, manager, executive, and de facto HR person in my professional career and have felt frustrated on all sides by the cadence at which I was receiving and giving feedback–and the expectations that were typically set around this on both sides (i.e.: “just wait until the end of year performance review to give people their developmental feedback”). It’s so crucial that people know where they stand, that they can learn and grow — and when this is not done well, there’s a lot of room for miscommunication, frustration, and passive aggressiveness. Frankly, most people leave because they have a strained relationship with their boss. Fizz can’t solve for bad bosses but it can help create a safe digital space to make sure all sides of the party are rowing in the same direction and can help avoid surprises. I can talk for hours about this topic because it’s one I’ve seen totally destroy companies and lead to employee turnover.
So, I’ve been working on Fizz for the last year or so — spending a ton of time working with designers and engineers to build and evolve the product, and even more time talking to customers and potential customers. It’s been an emotional joyride, and I don’t mean “joyride” in the sense that it’s been entirely joyful, but rather in the sense that it’s been a wild and crazy experience behind the wheel. There are super high highs and super low lows and I don’t know how people do it without a co-founder they totally and implicitly trust and respect. The beginning of every week feels a bit like I’m about to buckle into a roller coaster — I do a good job of planning my time ahead of time so once Monday rolls around, literally every hour of the week is mapped out for me. (Happy to provide more detail on this, but it borders on the OCD.) And then it’s just go-go-go-go-go-go-go-go, from meeting to meeting, from convo to convo, checking things off the list and fluctuating wildly in terms of energy and spirit every moment in between. I have to be honest: there’s nothing like a tough sales call to take the wind right out of my sales. But business is business and it’s all about getting right back up in the saddle with a smile on. I’ve mentioned this before, but I think the biggest learning so far has been a story of persistence and grit. I’ve developed a thick, almost reptilian skin at this point. Or at least I’m able to do that in person, while standing in front of a customer or potential customer or investor. Sometimes, very rarely, I’ll get home and have a good cry with a glass of wine. But then it’s #ontothenext.
I realize in re-reading this whole intro that the foregoing is overly generic and trite. But it doesn’t feel this way in reality. I never really clung onto Pinterest posts with cheesy inspirational taglines, but damn it if I don’t need them when I’m reflecting on my day or preparing to head into a sales call. It takes a lot of emotional energy for me. I used to think that this was because I am an introvert, but I’m just going to call a spade a spade: sales is a hard gig. And the truism that “if you build it, they will come” is such a load of bull. It’s more like: “If you work really really hard and build something amazing over time, you’ll still need to beg and convince people to even listen to you.” People are busy and you’re fighting against apathy and the limited attention span of a fast-paced marketplace. So you have to make a lot of noise, ask the tough questions, and move on when things don’t pan out.
OK, now I’m getting super cheese-doggy and am mixing metaphors, so let’s end on this note: for those of you thinking about starting a business, it’s the most challenging, beautiful, horrible, empowering thing you’ll do, probably short of having kids. (? Fair to say? I don’t have children, so I got nothing.) And, by the way, I also think you can be an entrepreneur in a more traditional business setting. Some of the super sharpest people I know aren’t building new businesses but are innovating within a business–intrapreneurs. That may be in some ways more challenging in that you’re not starting with a green field, but then again, you aren’t sticking your personal fortune out on the line. You’re probably taking a salary. And it’s not the same level of ride-or-die riskiness.
So. There’s that.
Just some easy, mid-week food for thought. You know, just, like, my livelihood hanging out on the laundry lines. No pressure or anything.
So this context may explain why I feel my posts have been sorta scatterbrained lately. A lot of random round ups of things I’ve got my eyeballs on. And this will be no different, my loves. Bear with me. Some things to brighten your day:
OK, OK, I saw this ad from Shopbop and just died over the cuteness of this long-sleeved romper. Do you die?! I mean, I need to be her or at least own her romper, which is now sold out at Shopbop but is available (and by the cool jetsetter brand Poupette St. Barth!) here for $278.
Um, these monogrammed bubble onesies are so freaking cute, I die. I need to buy these for the many sweet babies and godsons and nephews in my life ($36 for white one, plus $20 for monogram; $34 for pink one, plus $20 for monogram). I learned about this brand while browsing the PERFECT Instagram feed of the uber chic Maria Cote. She has the best clothes and the most precious baby!
I can’t recall if I’ve bored you to tears about one of my absolute favorite beauty products — RMS Beauty’s luminizer ($38). I first discovered this wunderkind through J.Crew, learning that the stylists used it on their models to give them that dewy glow. (Hint: they dab a bit above their upper lip for the perfect finish.) I dab this on my cheekbones and brownbone, down the center of my nose, and above my lip for the perfect summer dewy JLo situation. It is ZEE BEST. I also just snagged their Master Mixer ($38). The founder had this to say about the product: “The Master Mixer transforms any of my products with a perfect warm rose gold that is flattering on anyone. Used alone or mixed with my Living Luminizer, it effortlessly blends over the cheek bones, browbones, down the bridge of the nose, bow of the lips, and even the eye lid for a subtle, sexy gold shimmer. Magic truly happens when this product is combined to any of your lipsticks resulting in the most gorgeous, refined iridescence imaginable to your lips.” UM, SOLD. Oh and P.S.: their lip-and-cheek tint is supposed to baller, too.
I’ve had the WORST breakout of my life this summer. Could it be possibly related to the teeny tiny amount of stress I’m experiencing, as outlined above?! Hmmmm. But seriously, there is nothing worse than being 32 and feeling like you’re still in high school. WHAT THE WHAT. Here’s what I’m using to combat the situation, and am seeing steady improvements:
+Erno Laszlo oil-control cleansing bar ($45). I love this stuff because it leaves your skin feeling squeaky clean, and there’s nothing like a big sudsy lather to make you feel like you’re really taking an acne situation into your own hands.
+I’ve learned over time that drying out your skin is not always the best approach to reducing breakouts — it can just lead to more irritation and that yucky itchy feeling. I’ve heard that you need to moisturize as much as ever. I’m using La Mer soft cream ($85+) right now, which is sort of like an indulgent dream.
+Kate Somerville’s Exfolikate ($24+) is my MVP. I use this a few times a week to exfoliate. It is rad stuff, and I like that it comes in a travel size — both for upcoming travel and because sometimes you just wanna give something a try before investing in the full size. I will follow up with her anti-bac acne clearing lotion ($42), which is pretty intense stuff. 5% benzoyl peroxide, BOING. My sister also turned me onto this stuff from Origins ($68), which I’ve alternated with Exfolikate.
+I haven’t gone in this direction yet, but I’ve heard there’s quite the cult following behind this rose petal witch hazel toner ($10). I love a good, cheap, authentic buy like this but am wondering if I’ve already switched up my routine too much…comments/thoughts? Am I alone in my adult stress-induced acne?!?! WAHHH.
Of course, every acne facial treatment needs to be counterbalanced by a solid coverup strategy. I typically use Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturizer ($44) and Nars’ radiant concealer ($29 — and P.S., Kylie Jenner just taught me a useful trick: you can also use this stuff as a highlighter of sorts; she spreads a bit above and below her brow and blends. It makes the brows stand out! Thanks, Kylie Jenner! I’m not a lipkit fan yet, but I’ll continue to watch your beauty tutorials! K byeeee.) I’ve had to up the ante a bit and mix in Kevyn Aucoin’s The Sensual Skin Enhancer ($48). And guys, this stuff is like…profesh level. It’s pretty much stage paint? It’s so heavy and thick, it covers up a whole manner of sins. So I’ll dab the tiniest bit on my face and then dampen my beautyblender ($20) with some water and dab to blend it in. I also just decided to invest in a slightly heaver foundation (see ya for a little while, tinted moisturizer — you’re just not cutting it right now, **sobs silently into pillow**), going after Giorgio Armani’s Luminous Silk Foundation ($62), which has something of a cult following as well. I feel like every interview on The Glossier slash in any magazine interviewing a celebrity’s beauty routine ends with “…and Armani’s silk foundation.” So I feel like I’m in good hands.
Finally, if you gotta distract people from your forehead, go with a glam eyeshadow situation. I have to say, I’ve been kinda curious about these glittery golden looks parading down the runways of late:
I mean, part of me thinks it’s a flashback to using glittery crap from Limited Too and Wet and Wild back in the day, and I’m like “OH GOD NO!” but then I see the pics above and think: “Well, hmm. I could be a modern day Cleopatra, too, if I wanted to.” And I’ve heard ridiculous things about Kevyn Aucoin’s glitter eyeshadows ($29). Super fun, whaddya think?
The other strategy is, of course, shopping therapy, and I’ve got a few inexpensively delightful treats in mind to cheer myself up. And first up is this easy little shoulder tie dress that costs $39 and feels like the end of summer should.
+There’s also this $69 striped lovely, which looks so much like a Missoni I once invested in, it’s CRAZY. And you know Loft — they’re always running crazy “Extra 30% off promos.”
+And, hello, Gap. I love this eyelet top, currently 40% off its $64 price tag.
+I saw one of my favorite bloggers in this $29 maxi from Old Navy and had to have it.
+AND, J.Crew is currently doing an extra 50% off its sale prices — WHAT THE WHAT. I did a big haul and got some insane deals. I think the total value was like $1000 if I’d purchased everything at retail price, but I got the whole shebang for $155 or something insane like that. I got this shoulder-tie dress — love the print so much, I also almost got the skirt but thought it might be redundant; this candy stripe dress; this striped tunic (with discount, only $20?!?!); and these sunny lace-up espadrilles (with discount, $30!!). And guys — you can snag one of my favorite styles from this season, this linen top, for only $25!!!
Guys, guys, guys. These Ancient Greek sandals are now marked down to an ultra-lo $122. $122!!! You can’t even get a J.Crew shoe at that price! #SNAG. (ORIGINALLY $340.)
While on the topic of shoes: these Manolos are marked down to a ridiculous $246. What is happening?!
These sheets are so old-world chic ($34+). I feel like you’d curl up in them in an old Italian villa with perfectly appointed bed linens.
I love the total simplicity of this white pitcher ($14). I like the idea of filling it with flowers for a cottage chic vibe, or keeping it stocked with freshly squeezed lemonade during these hot, late-summer days. Plus, what a deal! You could even get a few of them and line them up on a mantel or shelf for some pretty symmetrical styling…