Tag Archives: problem solver

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.

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

Monday’s Muse: Olivia Wilde’s Street Style (and a HEUCY Redux)

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Olivia Wilde’s style inspires us for a few reasons. She’s a smart, funny, talented actress who also happens to be incredibly gorgeous. But we don’t hate her for it because she’s smart and funny and talented. And, Olivia’s also really into sustainable fashion and living, which we love over here at HEUCY. Obviously. Check out her company Conscious Commerce (ww.wconscious.co) to read more about Olivia’s commitment to “Conscious Commerce – an experiment in living (and shopping) with a conscience.”

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HEUCY really loves Olivia’s street style, too. She looks confident, unruffled and captivating – even on the coldest days. Or when she’s making a deli run, plastic bag included. We’ve captured some of our favorite looks here with a little guide on how you can achieve the same look with HEUCY’s eco-friendly fashions!

1. Looking Like a Lady (with a busy schedule)

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Olivia may be in Paris in this shot…but the look is transferrable to any dynamic HEUCY Gal’s day.  Especially if you have a lot of meetings (friendly and otherwise) and a night out in your future.  Here’s how you can recreate this look:

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A) HEUCY’s Indigo Problem Solver Dress.  The ultimate day-to-night-to-whenever versatile dressing machine.

B) A Chanel jacket.  Check out vintage consignment stores like STA (secondtimearound.net) for less expensive options.  STA has locations across the U.S.

C) A Wilbur & Gussie Edith clutch bag.  Available online at wilburandgussie.com.  Whimsical, chic and practical.

2. It’s Saturday…I’m hanging out but I’ve still got sh*t to do!

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You too can have this look with a few quick fixes.

A) HEUCY’s Indigo Weekender Dress.  Incredibly comfortable, flattering and roomy.  Great for a weekend of snores and chores.

B) Atelje 71’s incredibly stylish, comfy and cool sandals.  Nee birkenstocks.  We heart this company and it’s founder (look for her in an upcoming HEUCY campaign) and our model is wearing Atelje 71 in all of our Spring shots!  Because they are so darn awesome.

C) A Vintage Fringe Bag.  These bags are everywhere right now but don’t go for the fake, cheap ones…we’ve spotted tons of gorgeous options (like this one) on eBay that you can feel good about buying.

3. Big Night Out…but you’re not feeling it

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Olivia is really pregnant in this photo, and we’re guessing she probably didn’t want to get all dolled up for the Oscars.  It’s tiring when you have to urinate every five minutes and you’re carrying another human inside your body.  A lot of us feel this way after a long week, pregnancy not included.  This is when comfort and style must merge.  Here’s how:

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A) HEUCY’s Bon Voyage dress from our Core Collection.  The adjustable side zipper shows just enough leg and the soft, sustainable jersey fabric is cozy enough to fall asleep in after your big night.

B) An Edie Parker clutch, personalized.  These are not cheap, but we love the brand because you’ll keep it forever, it’s beyond stylish and everything is made here in NYC.

C) Shoes are up to you.  They’ll be removed ASAP anyway!

And….D) Funny, cute partner who makes you smile, no matter how tired/bloated you may feel.

Happy Monday, gals!

xx,

The HEUCY Team

Strong Woman Saturday: Inspired by Jackie O and Indigo

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Today’s “Strong Woman Saturday” inspiration is that quintessential icon of effortless chic, Jackie O. We’re feeling a little wanderlust right now, and we’re also inspired by the HEUCY Indigo collection…so we wanted to highlight Jackie’s time spent in Greece.

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If you wanted to recreate this type of leisure life, sans paparrazi, how could you do it as effortlessly as Jackie? We think you’d need just a few things.

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1. Jackie O Sunglasses, of course…Ray Ban makes a very affordable pair.

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2. The HEUCY Indigo collection. The High School Reunion, Weekender and Problem Solver could get you through a five day trip. Easy to pack and the wrinkle factor is almost nil.  Pockets for shells, maps and baklava.  Added value, your clothes would match the azure colors of the Greek coastline.

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3. A good, universally flattering sun hat that actually blocks out the sun. We do need to worry about those UV rays, even on vacay. Satya Twena makes one, right here in NYC’s garment district, and it’s available online.

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4. A page-turner. Right now we’re reading “The Leopard”, by Jo Nesbo…

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And on that note, stay tuned for our other favorite Nordic books. There are many!

Have a great weekend, and dream of Jackie!

xx,

Team HEUCY

Monday’s Musing…on a Tuesday

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A few months back, we were obsessing over Carrie Mathison’s choice of accessories. A cross-body bag didn’t seem like the smartest choice for a CIA operative in Pakistan, especially when she’s being chased by bad guys. But we’ve let that go, as we’ve noticed how fabulous a cross-body bag would look with our Nordic Spring styles. Once again, Carrie, you were right.

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Alas, we have to wait many months to see how Carrie’s wardrobe choices and love life evolves. Fortunately, House of Cards is now available on Netflix! We can throw down our books and binge watch five episodes at a time, as one is meant to do, regardless of wake-up time and other more serious obligations.

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And as we watch House of Cards, we can’t help but analyze Claire Underwood’s wardrobe. If anyone has a uniform, it’s this first lady. Claire is much more high fashion than Carrie, natch (no pant suits in sight)…but her style also lacks a comfort that could benefit the busy days and nights of WOPOTUS. Maybe Claire wouldn’t be so darn mean and conniving if she weren’t packed into a tight, unforgiving pencil skirt?  Perhaps the scheming would stop, or lessen a bit, if Claire was wearing the Alter Ego jumpsuit and daydreaming about her more innocent days as a Harvard undergrad?

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We can see that Claire loves a very well-tailored garment, and that won’t change. But with all that back-stabbing, manipulation, running around the Capitol and – literally — running…we think Claire should incorporate some HEUCY sustainable jersey into her life. It would accommodate her active lifestyle much better than those stiff dresses and tight blazers. And we think the environmental lobbyists would go crazy over her eco-friendly fashion.

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Here are our top 5 picks for Claire, just in time for Spring and the cherry trees abloom.

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The Date Night in feather print. Lots of allusions to eggs and feathers in episode 2. Again, we won’t go there…but we do think the print would look FAB on Claire and could be perfect if she decides to escape D.C. again to visit an old amour. This dress is so easy to pack and it doesn’t wrinkle. (Remember, last time, she didn’t even change clothes. This could fit into her Celine bag).

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The Alter Ego in gray bamboo microstripe. Gray is such a House of Cards color…and this jumpsuit is perfect for lounging on the White House couch, lobbying senators for that coveted UN appointment.

Weekender

The Weekender in Indigo. We can’t wait to release this style very soon (stay tuned). Once campaigning starts, Claire will need this dress. She’s obviously very disciplined about what she eats…but chicken wings and donuts are part of the job when want red state votes. (I come from one, so I’m not judging). A little looser fabric around the middle can’t hurt when the photo-op snacking starts. Sorry, Claire. But it must be done for the sake of the country.

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The Problem Solver. This dress is great for women like Claire, who love to run and who always have problems that need solving. She could throw this on after a jog around the Mall, and quickly pop into Hector Mendoza’s office to tell him what she really thinks.   A “hothead”, Mr. Mendoza, would not wear a cool dress like this.

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The Burnout. We haven’t finished Season 3 yet (don’t tell us the ending!), so we’re still placing bets on what happens. I’m thinking Claire finally has a crisis of conscience and she decides to run off to the Greek Isles with her ex-amour, the cute photographer.  A Mediterranean diet and lots of sunshine could do her a world of good.

Which leads to a spin-off…the photog is actually a CIA Operative who has had a fling with Carrie Mathison. A Claire/Carrie face-off would be phenomenal, don’t you think?  In jersey, of course.

xx,

The HEUCY Team

In Honor of National Puzzle Day: Some Tips to Keep Your Brain Active

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Today is “National Puzzle Day”…who knew?  My husband, who is a loyal HEUCY blog follower, made a great suggestion: why not tell HEUCY Gals and Dudes about the latest super-cool movement, Hour Of Code?  What is “Hour of Code?”, I asked.  My husband directed me to the Internets.  The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. Anyone, anywhere can organize an Hour of Code event. One-hour tutorials are available in over 30 languages. No experience needed. Ages 4 to 104.

President Obama Meets With Students Participating In An Hour Of Code Event

Take a look at the Hour of Code video above and the website, which enlists everyone (women, men, old, young, in-between) to do at least one hour of code a day.  Why, you ask?  Not just because Ashton and POTUS are doing it…although in the world of peer pressure, it does help.  We should learn to code because there are five year olds out there who will be able to do it in a few years, if they aren’t already.  Knowing how to write code, and implement it, is incredibly empowering and it keeps your brain active.  Also, knowing code and the way it works will help all of us stay relevant in this new digital world!  You can even do your code in private if that’s more your style.  Lots of resources available on the site.

You’re not quite ready to jump in to full-blown coding yet?  Okay, we get it.  There’s also an app called Lumosity, which has tons of games to help you improve your memory and problem-solving skills.  You can build a personalized “Brain Training Program” by going to Lumosity’s website and picking what you’d like to improve in the following categories: Memory, Attention, Speed, Flexibility and Problem Solving.  The “fit test” is fun and this app is popular for a reason.

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We’re all working on becoming our “best selves” this year, but don’t short-change your cognitive health.  It’s just as important as the physical.  Shameless plug: studies have shown that wearing the HEUCY #ProblemSolver or #PerfectTen can actually help you solve problems.  True story!

xx,

The HEUCY Team

A Party in a Box…Literally! You’ll Love This, We Promise.

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Winter isn’t really a time you think of celebrating a lot…it’s cold, we’re dodging real and imaginary blizzards, we are wearing skull caps and amorphous, puffy outerwear. But, in fact, a lot of reasons to throw a party are coming up quite soon. Super Bowl Sunday! Valentine’s Day! St. Paddy’s Day! Derby Day! And then Summer…which is one big reason to party.

Well, fortunately we recently met two of our new favorite HEUCY Gals, Seri Kertzner and Michelle Bachman, who are the masterminds behind Little Miss Party Planner. Seri and Michelle became friends while working at J. Crew, and soon discovered they both had a passion – and a talent – for creating incredibly memorable and fun events that aren’t that difficult to pull off. After endless discussion regarding parties they had planned for themselves and for friends on the side, Seri and Michelle realized it was time to leave their corporate jobs to start their second act: Little Miss Party Planner.

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We love these gals because they are fun, smart, creative and bold…and they look darn good in HEUCY! Seri is rocking the Problem Solver and Michelle is owning the Alter Ego jumpsuit in these great photos by Raquel Langworthy of Raquel Bianca Creative. 

We also love Seri and Michelle because they just launched the most wonderful thing ever for a person who likes to entertain, but who probably doesn’t have a lot of time to plan and prepare. Sound familiar?

The product is called “Little Miss Party in a Box” and it’s brilliant. The Valentine’s Day version (Little Miss Valentine’s Day Party) has everything you would need for a party of twelve…whether it consists of children, adults or a little of both. The box includes thoughtfully curated items such as birch wood forks with hand-printed gold hearts, bamboo cupcake toppers with red glittery lips, clear glass vases and pale pink honeycomb paper flowers. In addition to the right amount of super-cute cups, straws, napkins and plates. So whoever comes to your party will think, She’s got it all together. Even if you arrived just a few minutes before they did.

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And the “Little Miss Birthday Party in a Box” includes similarly crafty and cool items, as well as the LMP Party Blueprint with suggested set up and styling tips. Finally, a pro’s list to help you cut through the chaos and just plan a party. Simply and successfully.

Cheers to Seri and Michelle! And thank goodness for the Party in a Box…which is just a click of a mouse away.

Xx,

The HEUCY Team