Category Archives: Lifestyle

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

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

Monday’s Musing: Motherhood

I’m sure many of you were celebrating, or being celebrated, yesterday for Mother’s Day.  Hopefully your day started with champagne wishes and caviar dreams, in bed, like mine.  Kidding!  I did get to take a nap, which was lovely.

HEUCY is all about celebrating women — moms, daughters, grandmothers, godmothers…the entire ethos of our collection is all about YOU.  We want to enable our HEUCY Gals to do all of the amazing things they do, unencumbered by synthetic, uncomfortable material or an outfit that won’t make it past 5pm.

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For those of you who are moms, you would probably agree that motherhood in this day and age is definitely not black and white; it’s complicated, busy, challenging, full and wonderful all at the same time.  Many of us have several different roles we need to fill throughout the day.  Which is why this article from The New York Times back in November really struck us.  It’s all about what “mommy-hood” has become in the 21st century, and how popular expectations for parents, and mothers, have become somewhat unattainable and unrealistic.  Here’s a link to Heather Havrilesky’s article, from The New York Times‘ November 9, 2014 Sunday op-ed:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/09/opinion/sunday/our-mommy-problem.html

We’re not saying we agree, or disagree…but it’s a great, interesting read.  Especially if you’re spending part of this day in line at the post office, or waiting somewhere else, and are in need of some quick lit and something to think about.  Besides waiting.  Hopefully you’re wearing HEUCY, so at least you’re comfortable.  Happy musing, gals.

xx,

The HEUCY Team

Thursday’s Top Ten “Made in USA” Mother’s Day Gifts

It’s Thursday, May 7th, people.  And if you’re like me, you may wait until the very last minute to buy something for a special occasion.  Thank goodness for online shopping and free (or almost free) shipping.  We’ve put together a list of our favorite locally made Mother’s Day gifts, in case you’re behind on this one.  Don’t worry, we are too…and it’s not too late if you act now!

Here’s our Top Ten for Mom (and/or You):

1) Lindsay Emery’s gorgeous porcelain plates are rolled out by hand in her North Carolina studio. They’re very reasonably priced and would make a lovely, thoughtful gift for Mom (or yourself). http://www.suiteonestudio.com

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2) HEUCY at 30% OFF!  HEUCY is ageless and is made for women-on-the-go, which includes moms, aunts, sisters and women in general who are traveling to visit you.  Remember, jersey barely wrinkles and our styles are extremely versatile!  Shop our sale now through Sunday on heucy.com.

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3) Pierrepont Hicks’ Dunoon Parka is a cool take on a preppy classic.  It’s good looking and practical, so of course we love it!  A water repellent shell, draw cords at the hood and waist, four outside pockets, and adjustable Velcro cuffs make this jacket a keeper.

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4) Page Sargisson Orchid Earrings are a subtle, beautiful way to tell Mom you love her.  These 10K gold cuties are made right here in NYC.

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5) Leontine Linens — a great gift for those who love a monogram!  These linens are “as sturdy as they are beautiful” and almost all are washer/dryer safe. Hand-sewn in the South.

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6) An Edie Parker bespoke clutch bag.  These aren’t cheap, but if you want to give someone a very special, personalized and cheeky gift that they’ll keep forever…this is it.

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7) Hanky Panky lingerie.  Okay, this might seem a little too personal.  But it will be appreciated.  Underwear — especially the type that comes sans panty lines — is the gift that keeps on giving.

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8) The Best American Short Stories of 2014.  This anthology of amazing literature never fails to entertain, and this year’s stories were chosen by one of our fave authors, Jennifer Egan, who won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel A Visit From the Goon Squad.

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9) Shinn Estate Wine from the North Fork of Long Island.  This vineyard never disappoints.  And they deliver.  Nuff said.

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10) A donation to a school via Donor’s Choose, on your mom’s behalf.  Definitely one of the best ways to spend your money.

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Happy Mother’s Day to you and/or the women in your life!  And happy Spring!

xx,

The HEUCY Team

Introducing…our two latest HEUCY Gals

Yesterday was one of those days where time flies by, but you’re having so much fun you don’t realize it!  We know, firsthand, that this is not always the case…so if you want to live vicariously, read on about our shoot yesterday and the incredible HEUCY Gals (nee “real life” models), Robin and Asa, we were lucky enough to photograph.  Hopefully they will inspire you too.

Setting: it’s 10:30am, on a Thursday.  Suwha and I are consuming our third (or fourth?) cups of coffee, working.  At that moment, a beautiful, statuesque, cheerful woman appears at the door of HEUCY HQ.  It is Robin Wilson, our first model for that day.  We knew Robin was attractive.  And we knew that she was an entrepreneurial powerhouse; her second book, Clean Design: Wellness for Your Lifestyle just came out (she’s currently in the midst of a 12 city tour now to promote it) and she is the CEO of Robin Wilson Home, a line of eco-friendly home products that is sold at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

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We wanted to photograph Robin partly because of her advocacy of green living, a natural synergy with HEUCY.  But as we chatted with Robin after she arrived, Suwha and I realized that we had won the model lottery!  Not only would Robin look amazing in a potato sack (I mean, those arms…), but she also had a lot of invaluable business advice for us.  Robin has been incredibly successful in a variety of roles, and she has learned a lot along the way.  And, because Robin had been a model back in the day, she was a natural in front of the camera.  Robin is also a mom, and she successfully juggles her growing empire with being a doting parent.  It was really encouraging to talk with her about motherhood and running a business.

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After bidding Robin adieu, and best of luck on her book tour, we trekked to Williamsburg, Brooklyn to photograph our other new lady crush Asa Larsson.  Picture Gwyneth Paltrow with a shorter haircut and a slight Swedish accent.  Asa Larsson had been head of PR at Marc Jacobs for years, and she made the brave choice to leave one of the most coveted jobs on the planet after her adorable son Odin was born.  She decided to pursue a path that was just as creative and challenging, but more flexible than that of high fashion PR.

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Asa and her husband David recently launched ATELJÉ 71, a line of Swedish-inspired shoes that are featured throughout HEUCY’s Spring 2015 look book.  They are seriously some of the coolest shoes we’ve ever seen.  When our stylist Kristen Ingersoll introduced us to ATELJÉ 71, we said we had to meet the founders because “Nordic Spring” was our inspiration for this season…and because ATELJÉ 71 and HEUCY are brands rooted in the same conventions and aesthetic.  Both are focused on creating beautiful and thoughtful design for strong, dynamic women…who do a lot of sh*t and who move around a lot!  These women need a practical, chic uniform to accommodate a full life.

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I don’t exaggerate when I say I wanted to move into Asa’s apartment.  I was really hoping she and David would adopt me, so I could just hang out on their sick terrace (that view!!) all evening and drink wine and laugh and chat about life.

But, alas, we needed to give Asa, David and Odin some space since they had hosted us for a few hours and Asa and David had to get ready for a night out on the town…as cute couples do.  Yesterday was one of those days when you realize how important it is to get out and meet women like Robin and Asa to get inspired, and to feel connected to the world around you.  This is especially true now, when so many people have lives and careers that are more gray than black and white.

More photos to come.  Until then, happy May Day and TGIF!

xx,

The HEUCY Team

Travel Guide: An American in Paris

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If we asked you to name the most romantic getaway in the world, many of you would probably say it’s Paris.  Yes, it is quite romantic.  But, we’ve learned that it’s just as fun to jet over to the City of Lights with a group of old friends, and leave your man at home to take care of the kids and pets!  HEUCY Gal Veronica recently visited lovely Paris with some college friends, XX years after living there as a student.  What did she take with her?  A suitcase full of HEUCY and plenty of joie de vivre!  Here are Veronica’s recommendations for the perfect short jaunt across the pond, to one of the most beautiful and memorable cities in the world.

1. What to pack…

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According to Veronica, “the French know effortless style.  HEUCY fits right in there.”

HEUCY dresses and jumpsuits can easily get you through a 4 or 5 day trip.  Added (major) bonus: jersey doesn’t really wrinkle, so it looks good after a long flight.  And it’s perfect for an unpredictable climate, where lots of layering is involved.  In this photo, Veronica’s friend Saya is wearing the Weekender, and Veronica (right) is in the black Perfect Ten.

2. What to see…

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Paris is a city where you can pack every minute of every hour with museum visits and sightseeing, but don’t overlook the simple treasures that line the streets.  We don’t know if it’s Veronica’s camera, or the fact that in Paris everything just looks better than it does here!  Regardless, walking around and looking (and eating and drinking, of course) can be your activity for the day…and the day after that.

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3. Food…

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Septime was Veronica’s favorite restaurant.  Other fabulous places to eat include:

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Pirouette

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Buvette

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Caillebotte

4. Where to Stay…

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–“We stayed in an adorable boutique hotel on the Rive Gauche called Le Signature

5. When to go…

–Now! Or whenever you can fit it into your schedule.

Happy travels, HEUCY Gals.

xx,

The HEUCY Team