Tuesday, October 23, 2007

This I Believe

I love the NPR series "This I Believe," and I've had some thoughts (helpful rationalizations?) floating around in my head over the past year that I finally got onto my laptop last night. Lots of times women approach me and ask me how I can do a start up with two young kids and a spouse. For what it's worth, I thought I'd share my reflections on navigating work, family, and my mechanism for coping with the inevitable feelings of inadequacy. I'd love to hear any feedback from any of you on these thoughts.

“Paying the Price”

I believe in paying the price. For a hand-thrown, wood-fire glazed ceramic pitcher, I know that I will have to pay more than for its mass produced acrylic counterpart at Target. And I’m happy to do it, because it’s worth it to me.

Unfortunately, in today’s no hassle, no down payment, no-interest-until-they-foreclose-on-your-house world, it’s hard to remember that everything has a price. In America, “free” is almost as constitutional a right as “freedom.”

But to me, free is always a fishy proposition. I believe there is always a price to be paid for the things that are worthwhile.

This principle holds truest for the things that money can’t buy. It is the price of love, fulfillment and self-respect that I add up each day.

As a partner in a marriage and a mom who works outside the home, I know first-hand the price of my definition of an engaging life. What moms who work for pay share with moms who work inside the home is that we’re all paying a price for the lives we choose to lead. We share in this economy of cost - and pay-off.

In my twenties, I was focused on “having it all,” and I was frustrated. A decade and a half later, I now realize that I don’t really want it all, so not having it is not such a big deal. I want only what is meaningful to me, and I’m willing to earn it and fight for it. I’m laden and tired, but engaged in my life and loving it.

It is a constant struggle to prioritize and attach relative value to the different aspects of my life, but engaging in this conversation is necessary to my survival. Without this economics of value, I would drown in a sea of self-criticism for falling short on every critical dimension. The alternative to a world of recognizing relative value is a world in which one is constantly failing to live up to an impossible standard:

“I’m a terrible mom because I forgot to pick up my son at school on his early closure day.”

“I said the world’s stupidest thing to an important investor.”

“I’m an insensitive idiot who deserves to be shot.”

Unfortunately, these are all real reactions I’ve had to real, real unfortunate events.

I’ve come to realize, though, that against the standard of the organized, perfect earth mother or insightful but steady, ovaries-of-steel businesswoman, I can only but fail. When I look up from literally hitting my head in disproportionate self-flagellation, I can now realize that the question I should be asking myself isn’t one about how far I fall short of the unattainable standard of perfection (answer: VERY). The true question I try to remember to ask myself is, “Is it worth it?”

It’s a very powerful question.

For me, sometimes the answer is yes, many times it’s no, and more times than not, I’m not sure.

But the times it is “yes” are what I think they used to call “character building.” When I can remember that the price I pay for an engaging life is a few balls dropped (and shattered) here and there, I can mourn the dropped balls in proportion the balls that are still arcing gracefully through the air. I can find the strength to forgive myself and put the force of energy with which I used to slap myself upside the head into the more productive goal of trying harder next time.

I believe that seeing and weighing the price of things is absolutely necessary to achieving self-respect, and living a life worth living.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Chocolate chocolate chocolate

Chocolate is ALWAYS in, but especially lovely in the fall, when the bright pinks of summer seem like a cruel jest. (Lip color branched out from the standard pinks and reds decades ago (thank you MAC!), but nail color has been irritatingly slower to follow). So broaden your horizons and ask for chocolate nails - a top trend for fall - whether the milk chocolately warmth of our "Hillary" Julep Nail Vernis, or the dark chocolately decadence of our "Lindsay".

Even better as part of our Ultimate Chocolate Experience manicure and pedicure - with a luxurious chocolate scrub and ultra-moisturizing chocolate lotion (also perfect for fall!). To complete the experience, you can savor a chocolate truffle or sip a hot chocolate - enveloping yourself in chocolate inside and out.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

PVC Free Gift Sets

Being a start up with limited resources, we just began thinking about holiday gift sets. Yes, major retailers have had their holiday lineups set in stone as of November - last year. But I don't typically get my personal holiday cards out until about Valentine's Day, so this is a major step in the right direction for me.

Anyway, our fabulous new marketing wonder woman, Margot, just e-mailed over some cute bags for the "For My Little Princess" gift set. (Don't worry! We're also putting together awesome giftsets "For my significant other", "For my mom / girlfriend" (who are one in the same for me), and "For my colleague").

ANYWAY. The little flower bag that Margot found has PVC in it, Shari pointed out. And since we're trying to be careful about our environmental footprint and protective of the health and well being of our guests, it turns out that PVC might not be such a great idea. (Read out it here). We're trying to avoid known carcinogens and toxins related to birth disorders. The Seattle Times wrote about avoiding PVC and making "Green" choices for children's toys recently. Some leading retailers are trying to phase out PVC and phthalates in toys.

By the way, our Julep nail vernis formulations are phthalate free (and formaldehyde and toluene free).

And now our gift sets will be PVC free. Thanks to Shari.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Seahawks Wives Event at Julep

On September 29, we hosted "Funky Girls" - an event organized by Sarah Hasselbeck and Rachel Terrill for six girls undergoing cancer treatment. Each of the girls brought a friend in for manicures, pedicures, and makeup application.

The girls were so fun, funny and inspiring. The best part was watching them be ordinary teenagers - picking polish colors, giggling with their friends, and quizzing the Seahawks wives about the love lives of the various players (flipping through the Seahawks brochure, "Does he have a girlfriend? What about him? And him? Well, does he really like her? I mean, are they going to get married?").

One of our vernisseurs, Tracey, said that she went home and hugged her children a little longer that night. Another vernisseur, Lisa, said that she took her family out for dinner and tried to describe the event and how moving it was. But you sorta had to be there.

The event was covered by King 5 news - click on the link to see the video coverage!

Thank you Sarah for organizing such a wonderful event. It was a privilege to be part of it!