Tag Archives: business

A Recipe for Following Your Passion…And Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

Ali Cayne

Today we’re profiling HEUCY Gal Ali Cayne, the founder of Haven’s Kitchen — an amazing cooking school, food shop and event space in New York City.  (Which, coincidentally has some seriously decadent Valentine’s Day gifts including CHOCOLATE GANACHE DULCE DE LECHE CAKE FOR TWO and tons of other delicious items and classes available online if you still need to get something for your sweetie, to go along with your HEUCY Date Night dress.  Just sayin’…)

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Anyhoo, back to Ali.  She founded Haven’s Kitchen while she was in the midst of a major life change. She had just started to get her Master’s in Food Studies, and was moving downtown with her five kids. She had separated from her husband, whom she married when she was 25, and was starting a completely new chapter in her life. Ali was bravely moving out of the comfort zone of a very familiar existence, into unmarked territory.

Her idea for Haven’s came about organically. Ali always loved to cook, and was often teaching cooking classes to friends and friends of friends who loved her food. Ali thought, why not make this into a business? The premise was to teach cooking that comes from intuition, while using fresh, sustainable and delicious ingredients.


Coincidentally, I was one of the first people to “beta test” Haven’s Kitchen, at a private cooking class a few years ago. It was pretty awesome. We made chicken pot pie, from scratch, and drank copious amounts of red wine while churning béchamel sauce and rolling out pie crusts. I felt like I was in the middle of a Nancy Meyers film (if you’ve been to Haven’s, you’ll know what I’m talking about). We laughed a lot, and learned that chicken pot pie could never, ever be called “low fat.” But the bigger picture was, who cares? It was freezing outside, we were learning from a literal “top chef” (who has since moved to Nashville to open her own restaurant) and we were having so much fun. Not surprisingly, Haven’s has slowly, but surely, taken off since then as New Yorkers’ favorite “place to reconnect with food, our community, and each other.”

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We’ve asked Ali to share some of her seasonal “non-recipes” with us, which are perfect for the HEUCY Gal on the go. Those will come soon. In the meantime, Ali has some priceless advice for anyone who is thinking about starting a new career, or choosing a new path in life…or doing something completely new and unusual on the side.

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#1: Start learning the thing that you find interesting.

Ali has always loved good food, and cooking, so she decided to get a Masters in Food Studies. This led to a major “aha” moment, when Ali was tasked with finding an internship as part of her course curriculum. Not being a “millennial,” and having five kids at home, Ali thought it would be quite difficult to find an employer who would hire a thirty-something intern. But she swallowed her pride and reached out to the woman who was running the Education Station at the Union Square Farmer’s Market. The woman met with Ali, and immediately handed her the keys to the Education van when she found out Ali had five kids. She said, “If you are currently parenting five children, then you can clearly handle this job.” That internship was a turning point for Ali, because many of the people on her tour would correspond with her afterward for thoughts and advice. It helped give her the confidence to open Haven’s Kitchen.

#2: Don’t separate who you are and who you want to be. Figure out who you want to be and go for it.  

Ali had been a wife and mother for almost 15 years, but didn’t start Haven’s until she was in her late thirties. She also pointed out that Edith Wharton didn’t write her first book until she was 40, and Julia Child didn’t become “Julia Child” until she was 40. We have our own timelines, and there’s always enough time to pursue your passion.

 #3: Don’t be intimidated by the creative process.

It’s so easy to assume that some people are just born talented. This may be partly true…but success is also due, in large part, to hard work. Ask anyone who has published a novel. So if you want to write a book, or paint a picture…or pursue any type of creative endeavor, don’t assume that you aren’t talented enough to do it. There’s a lot of elbow grease and patience involved.  And the first step (not to sound cliche, or anything) is to start your project.

A lot of this is easier said than done, especially for those of us with millions of balls and responsibilities in the air. But it’s incredibly inspiring to see a HEUCY Gal like Ali, who has managed to recreate her life and successfully do something every day that she really loves.

Oh, and did we mention that Ali is currently dating a younger French man?  Follow your dreams, gals.



HEUCY Gals Galore!


Yesterday was a #HEUCYGal extravaganza!  We photographed some of our favorite ladies in their own HEUCY…and asked them to style it their way.  Nicola wore Chanel booties, Andy wore Manolos…and Susan, our factory owner, wore some super-cool sneakers with her #AlterEgo jumpsuit.  Susan also brought another accessory — her two daughters — to the shoot!


These HEUCY Gals brought some other important items — their personalities and a sense of humor — to the shoot, which made yesterday inspiring in so many ways.  We had some champagne and chatted about all of the different, interesting things everyone is doing.  Cards were exchanged.  Nicola recently launched a men’s styling business called Harrison Style, and she’s writing for “Downtown” magazine on the side.  Vanessa’s photography business is taking off, and we shot in her new studio space.  Andy is a super-agent working on insanely cool projects and the Snyder sisters continue to quickly make their way up the ladder at Google.  Jerry, our makeup artist, was joking that his 28th birthday was a few days earlier…and when I thought about it, I realized that I’m reaching 40 soon but the really interesting journey is just getting started.  (Apologies if this sounds cheesy…but it comes from the heart).


Here at HEUCY, we’ve been incredibly encouraged and excited by the support our collection has gotten.  And our success would not be possible without women like these HEUCY Gals.  Thank you, Erika, Kate, Nicola, Andy and Susan for letting us photograph you!  And for making HEUCY yours…because our concept is built around enabling women like you — women with full, crazy, interesting, busy lives — to do what you do, without having to worry about the little things.  Who has time for that, anyway?

Have a great weekend!


The HEUCY Team

A HEUCY Gal’s Guide to Meditation. You’ll Want to Read This…


As we cruise through a world of multi-media distractions, Instagram (I know, glass houses), text messages, etc. it is time to think about how we can stay PRESENT.  HEUCY Gal extraordinaire Emily Hickey — who also happens to be the COO of multi-million dollar tech start-up Lollywollydoodle.com, amazing wife and mother of two adorable kids…and an overall awesome person — started meditating about five years ago.  Emily has kindly shared her tips on meditation below — why it works, how to get started, etc.  Side note: Emily is also Team HEUCY’s informal “life coach” and consults us on a variety of business and personal questions/issues…so when Emily talks, it’s a good idea to listen.  She’s usually right!  Enjoy.

Hi, Emily!  You are always such a cool cucumber.  When did you start meditating, and why?

About five years ago, I was about to have a nervous breakdown, and I felt that going to a sanitarium wasn’t the best option given my family and other responsibilities. I started meditating (crisis averted) and have done it religiously ever since!

It seems like it would be a little difficult to relax with a power job and two young kids.  When do you find time to do it?

I (try to) wake up a few times a week at 5:45am, ahead of the kids.  I do a 30 minute pilates class on Roku and then meditate for as long as I can, usually 10-30 minutes depending on whether or not I need to wash my hair that day 🙂

Are there certain books or other “tools” that help you get in the right place to meditate?

I almost always have to exercise in some way before i meditate, otherwise I find it hard to settle down.  I’ve used Apps and I think they help you cut to the chase and focus if you can’t exercise first.  Books.. I’m a self-help book junkie so I think I lose perspective at some point with the most embarrassing bookshelf in the city…but two books that have been really helpful for me – one is a probably out of print book from the ’70s that I bought at Mast Books but it really was the one that got me going: “Teach Yourself Meditation” by James Hewitt [You can actually buy it on amazon.com here].  I re-read constantly, it is the best explanation of meditation I’ve read, has great simple exercises, and is really just a beautiful book.  “Peace of Mind, Becoming Fully Present” by Thich Nhat Hanh, who has been prolific but this one really resonates I think.

How do you think meditating has changed your life? Your choices?

It has been a pretty key tool…it has had such a big impact, I try not to talk about it very much because it gets annoying and it’s the type pf thing, everyone knows anecdotally it helps.  I don’t need to be the person to try to convince someone else to do something! But it has been pretty life-changing.  I believe it is truly a road to inner peace, and appreciating the moment, and seeing  above daily issues…I’m sure there are many paths but this really is one…in terms of resilience, daily happiness, appreciation of health and family and friends…meditation has brought all that to the surface although life isn’t ever perfect.  I also do a lot of “compassion” meditation where I really try to envision positive outcomes for friends or family going through hard times. It’s a private thing, but I believe it helps and I really feel connected to the people I love when I do it, because I do it in a really sustained way, over months.  And it is a strong, incredibly sincere, private way of caring about them.

And in terms of life choices, I do creative visualization to find paths, etc. Really dorky but I think it helps a lot. I think you succeed in life when your choices align with what you really want and are good at and enjoy. And I think meditation can cut out all the clutter and help you see that clearly and sharpen your personal intuition. Shakti Gawain’s book I do use and go back to on that!

Is there any advice you would give to someone who wants to start meditating? Should she/he just “jump in” and see how it goes? And is it a type of practice that takes practice?

I think you need to try it 20 minutes a day for a week and see how it feels.  I don’t think you will ever give it up after that, even if some weeks or months are more active than others – it will always be a tool for you! It’s constantly evolving, the more you do it the easier it gets, the stronger your concentration gets, the more impactful it is in terms of your mentality. When you read books that say – Just start by counting your breaths or noticing your in-breath or out-breath – it really is that simple. It is just the time and repetition and appreciating something so simple but deep that characterizes life. So do it for 20 minutes and see how you feel!

Is there anything else you do to unwind?

Honestly, not really – outside of habitually drinking beer to ease the nightly transition from work to kids.  It’s probably all a wash because I’m just meditating enough to counteract the alcohol!

Thanks for sharing, Em. I might put on my HEUCY #BonVoyage dress later this evening, and travel to a more peaceful world of meditation! 


The HEUCY Team