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HEUCY is an incredibly chic yet pared-down collection of sustainable jersey dresses and jumpsuits. The line is made specifically for the modern woman living a full life. And everything is sourced and produced in the USA.

Friday’s Fave HEUCY Gal: Q&A with Executive Coach Merritt Tilney

With the start of school, and the return from our own version of “summer break” (I mean, truly, who really worked the last half of August?), we thought it would be timely to interview our friend Merritt Tilney.  Merritt recently left her corporate career to launch an executive coaching business that helps executives and key managers take their performance to the next level.  By building strong trusted relationships, Merritt helps clients gain self-awareness, fresh perspectives and new leadership skills to improve communication, decision making and performance.  She has some great tips for those of us who are considering a different path…and for those of us who just want to get better at what we do.

Be warned: Merritt is one of those people who can elicit envy in many people.  She graduated from Yale and Stanford Business School, and she looks like a supermodel.  She’s also incredibly smart, nice, witty, candid and really fun to be around.  Her full bio is at the end of this Q&A.  And some great career and lifestyle advice is right here.  Happy Friday, Gals!

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Hi, Merritt!  Can you tell us a little bit about your personal career journey, from the corporate world to a more entrepreneurial path?

It’s been a bit uncomfortable for me as an entrepreneur because I am not a huge risk taker. It took me a while to make the jump. Several years ago, I realized the part I liked best of my various management roles was working with individuals on leadership. Having my own business was crucial because coaching is so personal – you need to be the right fit for your clients.

And how did you take the leap?  Did you prepare your boss and those around you gently, or did you just pull the ripcord?

For me, it was a very gradual process but that’s not right for everyone. I decided to share my thinking with the senior leadership at my company because they were open to it. It worked out well because they were supportive and helped me with the transition. I was able to coach internally before I went out on my own. My advice on this front would be to try to leverage where you are so your new endeavor has the support of what you have done before.

Why, and how, did you decide executive coaching was the right place for you?

Throughout my career, there were times when I faced a challenge I was not sure how to address. I worked through them leaning on friends, colleagues and family. When I finally worked with a coach, I realized that having time carved out and the facilitation of a professional really helped. As a coach, it’s amazingly rewarding to see clients improve their performance and their happiness.

Now it’s time for some fun, personal questions.  We know you’re happily married with two adorable kids.  (Yours truly has seen this first-hand).  How do you find time for yourself, and for your spouse, in the midst of building a business and parenting?  Any tips for women who are constantly time and sleep-deprived?

This is a tough one. I work with so many clients trying to create some personal space and balance. One thing that has worked for me is to prioritize. Be ruthless; do fewer things, delegate and be ok with the A minus. There is a helpful blog post from Erik Barker http://www.bakadesuyo.com/2014/08/how-to-stop-being-lazy/ . Develop habits – it makes those things that are easy to skip (going to the gym, taking a few minutes of reflection) automatic. We all have a limited willpower but once it is a habit we don’t need willpower. Finally, really, REALLY commit to sleeping enough. The research shows that sleep deprived people can still execute rote tasks but executive function and creativity suffer. That creativity helps you deal with the inevitable meltdowns, whether kids or peers. With a good night’s sleep you may also find you are more productive because you don’t feel overwhelmed. I’ll come clean, for me getting enough sleep is still very much a work-in-progress.

On that note, tell us your favorite vacation destination.  Past, present and future.

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Before kids I loved going to a new city with my husband, my sister or a friend and exploring both the tourist destinations and checking out the local haunts. With kids, we try to avoid long plane rides and big time changes. Every summer we go to a very rustic cabin by a lake in the Adirondacks which provides a good balance to New York City. We hike, swim and canoe.

Do you have a “uniform” or go-to pieces in your wardrobe to accommodate the lifestyle of a busy mom/entrepreneur?

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I am a very simple dresser – think jeans or a casual dress (LOVE the Problem Solver). This works for kids and, with a blazer, my entrepreneur coaching clients. For corporate clients, a dress and nice pumps or in the Fall, boots. A great scarf can add some color to a basic black or navy dress.

Lastly, any words of wisdom for those of us who are still figuring out what our “second act” might be?  Are there good resources, websites, meditations we can reference?

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Be clear on your priorities and what motivates you. It can be hard to distinguish what we think we “should do” from what we really want to do. Be confident – too many women don’t give themselves enough credit. I hesitate to recommend a book because my bedside is a tower of books I haven’t finished but Jim Loehr’s The Power of Story is good. Loehr has worked with a diverse set of people – military, athletes, professionals – and has tangible tools to figure out where you want to go and more importantly how to get there. Some useful ideas include visualization and writing. A short period of meditation every day can feel like an impossible luxury but makes a huge difference. When I did a meditation class the instructor said, “If you don’t think you have the 5 minutes a day to meditate, you definitely need to meditate.” Gil Fronsdale at the Insight Meditation center (www.insightmeditationcenter.org) is a good place to start.

Merritt Tilney’s Full Bio:

Merritt Tilney combines extensive business experience with coaching skills to help executives and key managers take their performance to the next level. By building strong trusted relationships, Merritt helps clients gain self-awareness, fresh perspectives and new leadership skills to improve communication, decision making and performance.

Merritt has a strong understanding of different environments and cultures gained from 20 years in operating roles and as a management consultant. Merritt has worked in Marketing, Strategy, Operations and Finance roles at ETRADE, Citigroup, Gap and several start ups. Merritt holds a B.A. in Economics from Yale University and a MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. She completed her coaching accreditation through Columbia University’s Coaching Certification Program. She is a qualified administrator of the Hogan Assessments Tools and Neethling Brain Instrument (NBI). She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

Style Tips: Prepping for the “School Year” Ahead

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Okay, gals. It’s almost October (where did the time go?!) and if you’re like me, you’re still in the midst of a summer vacation haze.

The weekends go by too fast, and it is (still) very, very difficult to get the kids to school on time. Even if they wake up before 6am. And getting to work on time? That may end up being a 2016 resolution.

Stop lashing yourself and read this guide to getting dressed in the morning. No matter how many little or big humans are trying to sabotage your “out the door” exit plan, this will save you at least ten minutes of precious time in the A.M.

Tip #1: Plan your outfit the night before. This is akin to laying out your kids’ clothes for school the next day. It works, if you have the time and wherewithal — and headspace — to style yourself in advance of the day ahead. Try to make this a priority.

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Tip #2: Pick something dark. At HEUCY, we are big fans of black, gray and other dark shades that effectively camouflage wear, tear and stains. You dropped your latte all over your chest this morning? Just be happy you didn’t burn yourself, and move past it. Our organic jersey fabric is great for wiping off an unwanted mess. Choose bright accessories (tangerine kitten heels, an emerald green handbag or a bright red lip) to add a punch of color and personality.  Our HEUCY Gals Erika, Kate and Andy — all of whom have very busy work and social schedules — demonstrate how dark can work for Fall.

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Tip #3: Layer! It’s that time of year. Cold one minute, but once the sun hits you and you’re locked between tall buildings, you’re sweating. Scarves, light jackets and cardigans are October necessities. Blogger Grace Atwood (thestripe.com) paired her HEUCY with a fabulous Burberry trench. A great choice when the temps start to fall below 70.

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Tip #4: Invest in a comfortable jumpsuit. We love ours (natch) but there are lots of high and low options out there. HEUCY’s version is made of soft cotton and it works well in meetings with adults and children…so you’re covered, literally and figuratively, no matter what your job for the day may be.

Tip #5: Love thyself. This is the time of year when we are jarred into juggling work meetings, scheduling play dates, somehow making time for our partners…all things that should give us joy, but become sources of stress. So if you forgot about the coffee date with your best friend, don’t beat yourself up. Or you were late for a meeting with your boss? Again, it happens. You fed your child birthday cake for breakfast because you didn’t have anything else in the fridge? He’ll live. (For the record, I fed myself birthday cake this morning and it was delicious.  YOLO). We’re all human, and Fall is one of the best seasons ever. Enjoy it. And pair your enjoyment with some chic, sustainable and comfy clothes. Because you deserve to look and feel your best.

xx,
The HEUCY Team

The Best Summer Playlist

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The holiday weekend is coming up, and we want to arm you with a playlist that will give you joy instead of headaches.  So we asked our fave HEUCY Dude (and super talented composer) Sean Mahoney to come up with his “best of the best” — just for you. See below and download at your leisure.  And, of course, have a fabulous long weekend.  (PS, this music pairs very well with a cold beverage and some eco-friendly jersey dresses, jumpsuits and rompers available on heucy.com).

A HEUCY Dude’s guide to summertime music:

Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean you have to play ‘Summertime’ by Weezy Smith to seem cool at the kiddie pool. Here are some more patriotic options to chill and drunkenly barefoot dance to this weekend. Maybe Lana Del Rey will walk out of the water on the beach like a zombie when she hears this list.

Strawberry Letter #23 – Shuggie Otis

In The Summertime – Mungo Jerry

Small Axe – Bob Marley

Do It Again – Robyn and Royskopp

Back And Forth – Aaliyah

HIdeaway – Kiesza

Why – Carly Simon

Fun, Fun, Fun – Beach Boys

Summer Breeze – Seals and Crofts

Boyfriend – Best Coast

I Can’t Wait – Nu Shooz

Bonita Applebum – Tribe Called Quest

Where the Party At – Jagged Edge w Nelly

It’s Magic – The Cars

Funkdafied – Da Brat

US Blues – Grateful Dead

Movin’ On Up – Primal Scream

Got Your Money– ODB

Lean On – Major Lazer

Fascination – Human League

I Feel For You – Chaka Khan

I Need Your Love – Shaggy (basically anything Shaggy)

Happy 4th, gals!

xx,

The HEUCY Team

This Week’s Muse…Girl Power

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As we mourn the end of Season 5 of “Game of Thrones”, we can’t help but call out for the show’s truest badass: Daenerys Targaryen.  Daeny (we’re on a first name, natch) is obviously a fictional character; I mean, while my kids do act like dragons from time to time, it is impossible to actually give birth to them as Daeny did at the beginning of the series.

Yep, she sure did.  And she raised those dragons, too.  Talk about parenting envy!

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Daeny has also walked through fire, eaten a horse’s heart, freed an entire slave army and now rules a country she invaded with the help of her loyal soldiers.  Oh, and she’s also fighting off assassination attempts 24/7, while wearing some of the coolest dresses we’ve seen on TV in a while.  In sum, Daeny is awesome.

If Daeny lived in present day, I have no doubt she’d be running a very large non-profit organization that helps disenfranchised people.  And she’d do at least five triathlons a year, while raising her dragons.  And we’d love her for it.

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So go on, gals.  Throw on a HEUCY Goddess dress and start your day thinking, I can conquer this day.  No matter what the week ahead throws at me, it can’t be more difficult than what Daeny puts up with all of the time.  Here are a few of our girl’s best quotes from the show, to get you through the plight of pre-holiday madness:

“I will take what is mine with fire and blood.” (Real life scenario: you’re eyeing the only seat on the subway during rush hour…and/or your vying for a promotion…and/or there is one piece of sushi left on the table and you’re determined to have it.)


Barristan Selmy: “The Yunkish are a proud people; they will not bend.”
Daeny: “And what happens to things that don’t bend?”
(Real life scenario: you’re having an especially painful customer service moment and/or you’re still on the subway.)

“The next time you raise a hand to me will be the last time you have hands.”  (Real life scenario: you are being yelled at by a traffic cop…or someone else.)

Have a most empowered week, friends.

xx,

The HEUCY Team

Tuesday’s Travel Guide: A HEUCY Gal’s Swedish Adventure

Happy Tuesday, gals! We haven’t gone rogue, don’t worry…we’ve been working on a very cool collaboration with Gilt which you’ll be hearing more about very soon. In the meantime, back to the blog.

To celebrate the success of our Nordic Spring collection as well as the recent royal Swedish wedding (and because we all love us some Scandy culture), here is our “best of the best” Swedish travel guide. Now is the time to go, if you have the inclination and the freedom to do so! If not, watch a few episodes of “Wallander” on demand and start planning your getaway when the time is right.

First stop, Stockholm. The food here is pretty top-notch, especially if you love seafood. If not, no worries, there are plenty of local delicacies you’ll want to try. A few of our favorite restaurants:

–Smorgasbord at The Grand Hotel

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–The Ostermalm market

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There are very cool stalls selling all sorts of delicious treats, and there’s a wonderful place to eat called Lisa Elmqvist. Great for lunch. Sit at the bar if you can and people watch.

Erik Bakfickan is also a tried and true Swedish “must”

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–Wendholms Fisk – a fancier option, but definitely worth the splurge.

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Getting your culture on…

If you want to walk off your toast skagen, take a stroll through Gamla Stan, a very quaint, scenic part of Stockholm that dates back to the 13th century. Very cute cafes and shops line the narrow, cobblestone streets.

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The Swedish Modern Museum (Moderna Museet) should not be missed. You’ll see one of the finest collections of 20th and 21st century art as well as compelling views of the archipelago right outside.moderna-museet-stockholmmoderna2

The Swedish Architecture and Design Museum is one of the best places to learn about Swedish design from the 19th century up to present day. The mid-century modern design collection is really impressive, and it can be a bit overwhelming…but definitely worth taking a tour.

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Day trips, and beyond…

We highly recommend visiting the areas around Stockholm, since the incredibly stunning natural beauty of the areas around Stockholm was a big inspiration for HEUCY’s Nordic Spring collection.

Close by Stockholm, you’ll find the archipelago in Lake Malaren which leads to the Baltic Sea. Picturesque towns including Uppsala and Sigtuna are close enough to Stockholm to travel by boat for the day, or do a quick overnight trip.

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If you want to venture further away from Stockholm, you should put the province of Dalarna, northwest of Stockholm (about 2-3 h drive or train ride), on your agenda. Pretty towns like Mora and Leksand on Lake Siljan are absolutely worth seeing if you have the time. People ski race in this area during the winter.

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You can also reach the big island of Gotland by ferry from South of Stockholm (Nynashamn). Make sure to see Visby, the main town with a medieval wall all around it (bonus: it’s on the UNESCO world heritage list).

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Smaland is famous for its remarkable blown glass, made in the towns of Orrefors and Kosta. From there, the medieval town and castle of Kalmar isn’t far away, and you can take a bridge over to Oland for more sightseeing.

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You’ll find a Viking-era reconstructed settlement at Eketorp in the South, and the famous light house Lange Jan at the souther tip. You can see the light (and sometimes also the light house itself) from the island of Langoren in the midsummer months. You’ll also see a lot of Swedes outdoors during this time, soaking up that Vitamin D before the cold weather returns!

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What are you waiting for, gals? If you can, get out of the office, pack some HEUCY nautical stripes in your bag, and head over to Sweden ASAP to experience Nordic Spring and Summer in full effect! (I think that’s what Claudia is smiling about right now…her next trip 🙂

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xx,

The HEUCY Team

Wednesday’s Women: Girls…Inc.

Okay, we’re not talking about the most recent episode of “Girls.” We’re actually talking about an organization called Girls Inc., and want to tell you more about it. The Lena Dunham conversation will have to wait until next week. (Yes, yes, we love Lena, too).

What is Girls Inc.?, you ask.

The Girls Inc. movement started in New England during the Industrial Revolution. At the time, young women were moving to cities from rural communities to work in textile mills and factories. This new working class of women needed mentoring to help them thrive in a completely new, foreign environment. HEUCY Dude Sean wrote an entire (awesome, Broadway-bound) musical around this new class of women and the many struggles they faced in a man’s world. (See previous post on “Factory Girls, The Musical”).

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Anyhoo, The Girls Inc. movement has grown quite a bit. Now it is an organization that provides life-changing experiences and solutions for over 138,000 young women across the U.S. and Canada. The basic premise: provide tools and programs to inspire young women to be STRONG, SMART and BOLD. Girls learn how to set and achieve goals, confront challenges, resist peer pressure, see college as attainable, and explore STEM curriculum.

I saw a couple of Girls Inc. “graduates” speak and I was beyond impressed by their stories. Every woman should be enabled to believe anything is possible. But it takes a village, so a combination of grit, savvy thinking, confidence and a support network is pretty crucial to success. As entrepreneurs, we couldn’t believe in this more.

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If you’d like to learn more about Girls Inc., and would like to get involved, go to www.girlsinc.org. Trust us, you’ll be moved by these young women’s accomplishments, and by the people behind the organization.

Xx,

The HEUCY Team

Monday’s Musing: MWA (Men’s Wardrobe Assistance)

This past weekend, I took a trip to Target en famille and noticed my husband sneak away to peruse the men’s denim section.  I thought to myself, Is he trying to avoid the toy aisle…or is he looking for new jeans? Perhaps it’s time for me to intervene.

The men in your lives may enjoy shopping (mine does not), but regardless everyone can use a little wardrobe advice.  And now that the “Dad Bod” is getting so much press, if your guy or friend (or dad!) has one, why not celebrate it with some cool new duds?  Which is why we turned to HEUCY Gal and style guru Nicola Harrison Ruiz to provide some invaluable men’s styling tips.  Nicola recently launched a men’s styling website and consulting service, called Harrison Style.  She can also be seen wearing the Perfect Ten dress on heucy.com’s “HEUCY Gals” page.  Trust us, you’ll want her advice!

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Here’s Nicola’s very simple, extremely doable take on Easy, Breezy, Handsome: Effortless Men’s style.  Enjoy!

It’s spring! Time for dresses and sandals, no more coats and tights and boots. No more taking 10 minutes just to layer up to face the cold. Spring and summer is all about easy, breezy dressing. But what about the men in our lives? As a personal stylist for men and women I find that while women have an easier time dressing in the warmer months, men tend to get a little sloppy when the temperatures heat up. So here are a few tips to pass on for effortless spring style for the guys.

Upgrade Your Denim

Everyone needs a good pair of dark denim jeans that fit right. They should be slim but not too skinny and definitely not baggy. Be sure they have a slight stretch and they’ll be just as comfy as the ones you’ve been wearing for the last ten years. I love Seven for All Mankind, Standard fit, or J. Brand, Kane fit, although there are number of brands out there with a slim straight leg, you just have to try a few on to get the fit that’s right for you.

Once you’ve got them WEAR THEM! I find that some guys save their dark denim for “going out” or dates. Don’t do that. Wear them to get coffee, to walk the dog, to go to brunch with your wife and kids. They instantly upgrade your look from those faded old jeans you’ve been wearing religiously for the past few years.

Don’t Sweat It

There’s nothing wrong with having a favorite sweatshirt or hoodie – just make sure it’s modern, flattering and fits well. Vince and Theory have some great options that are still casual but are more streamlined than that balloon-like sweatshirt you’ve been holding onto from your college days.

Get Sneaker Smart

Never wear your gym sneakers unless you’re going to the gym. Instead get a pair of what I call “street sneakers” to wear with jeans and casual pants. Converse and Adidas have various “cleaned up” versions, as do more designer lines such as Common Projects.

Invest in a Vest

Buy a thin vest (not the puffy kind) to layer under a sportcoat when it’s chilly, and to wear over a shirt or a sweater as the weather warms up. (It will also give you more pockets to store your keys and wallet so your pants don’t look bulky). You can’t go wrong with Barbour or Salence.

The Tan Suit

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If you don’t have a sharply tailored tan suit to get you through the spring and summer, now’s the time to get one. You can wear it to work, to a wedding, out to dinner, or wear just the jacket paired with jeans for a date. You can dress it up or down. Tan is so neutral that you can wear it with white, turquoise, lavender, powder blue – it’s hard to mess this up. It’s the one suit you should invest in now.

If you have a style question or you’re stumped about what to wear and how to wear, feel free to email me at Nicola@harrison-style.com or check out my website at http://www.harrison-style.com

Hope you found this as useful as we did!  Happy Monday.

xx,

The HEUCY Team