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Beautiful Bags Under the Eyes

02/25/2008

Beautiful Readers,

Hello again! So our story today is about mixed feelings, and wondering if you have in fact seen an act of injustice or if your undies are in a bunch for nothing…It is sometimes tough going considering yourself sort of a neo-feminist.

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure to attend an event in Miami sponsored by Entrepreneur Magazine and American Express Open (which, if you didn’t know((why would you)) is a segment of Amex that deals with small business, they provide loans and credit cards mostly) called Women in Charge.

It was a convention full of quite inspiring speakers for women business owners. The current mayor of Miami spoke, as did the founder of Vosges Chocolates. It was great. A total love fest.

And at this event camera crews for both American Express and MSNBC were set up to shoot short segments of attendees giving their elevator pitch (quick description of their companies) and answering some softball questions about things like what our favorite piece of business advice might be and who we admired. I lined right up to get in front of the camera at MSNBC, mostly because, having a little experience with being on-air, I know I am in-cred-i-bly camera shy whereas I am totally fine in front of a live audience, so I thought I could benefit from the practice.

Well, I got up, pitched the biz, and all in all did ok I think (ok, I thought I did way better than ok. In fact I think I totally rocked.) but then the cameraman said, "Could you go put on some makeup?" indicating that I had circles under my eyes. I shrugged and said "I don’t have any." motioning to my bag in the corner, and jokingly said " So I guess I am either the hard working entrepreneur who stays up late to get things done, or, I was out partying all night in Miami until I dropped in for this convention." he smiled, but shook his head suggesting that my dark circles (due, by the way, to  staying up late to work for several days on end) had perhaps doomed my chances to appear on air.

Now, I am not so cuckoo as to believe with any certainty that they would not have said exactly the same thing to a man who looked tired. They might have. But in my heart, I bet he wouldn’t have cared so much or given me the sense that my clip was essentially doomed. Which leads me to some odd places like…why does every ‘man/woman on the street’ interviewee on TV look so damn pretty? Men and women alike? Or so young, mostly. And why, for something like this, must they?

If the crypt keeper was bringing home the bacon in a legal way with their own business, I’d be delighted to see them on air. In fact it might make me feel good. "Oh look, crypt keepers make a worthwhile contribution to society too." ( no offense to our crypt keeper readers.)

Anyway…just something I’ve been thinking about, and who knows, for all I know I will be the next bleary eyed poster woman for MSNBC, and then won’t I feel silly. But somehow I doubt it.

AND–something far more exciting. I am getting laser hair removal. Nearly everywhere. Like everywhere. It costs a fortune, but I have found a place in Bklyn, where it costs less of a fortune and you still don’t get third degree burns.

I met a woman in the waiting room who told me that she is trying a series of colonics. Hmmmmm. I asked her about it, and she said that since she had only had one that it was too soon to tell but that she thought she felt "lighter" and that her friends had told her that they could be great. Good for digestive issues. If I ever do go ahead and try that sometime, and I decide that it would be worthwhile to include info about it for you all of you to enjoy in this blog, I promise I will only refer to the procedure in metaphor.

Thanks for reading!

Fondly,

Alix — President/ Beautiful Fitness

 

Odds and Ends

02/15/2008

Beautiful Readers,

A bit short on time, but I wanted to share a handful of new developments with you.

1) We’re looking for a more exciting tag line than ‘At home fitness and lifestyle services for women’ as descriptive as our current line is, it doesn’t exactly give you that warm and personal feeling, now does it? What we have so far are:

Beautiful Fitness: Success is beautiful.

Beautiful Fitness: Success starts at home.

Beautiful Fitness: Success comes home.

Beautiful Fitness: You can do anything.

A little more stirring than the original, right? Pick your favorite, or think of a better one, and let us know.

2. TRY THIS–I am absolutely convinced that drinking large amounts of green tea all throughout the day increases weight loss. There’s been a certain amount of not-so-convincing research to support this theory, but I swear that more than once I have personally dropped huge amounts of weight realtively effortlessly drinking lots of green tea and have failed to lose weight without it.

If you know me at all as a client you know that I do not subscribe to any diet theory other than eat less-weight less, diet. Not very sexy, but absolutely true. As long as you eat fewer calories in Twizzlers than you are burning each day–you’ll lose weight. Now–if you eat only Twizzlers you will likely be starving all the time because of huge swings in blood sugar, you’ll quickly become deficient in all kinds of vitamins and minerals that you need, and you will shortly look awful too–so try to avoid an all Twizzler diet–but don’t be fooled that you can’t eat a quite healthy diet and still gain weight–you can–I’ve done it.

3. I now give my money to the man. I have left the adorable, charming, quite well outfitted, and beautifully altruistic YMCA, and joined Equinox ( called "best gym in America" by Fitness Magazine) and I am suffering a little guilt about it. It is a subway ride from my house, as opposed to a walk around the corner. The nearly $100 a month extra that I now pay to be a member there, is going towards shining the granite hallway tiles and buying more all natural hand soap instead of to underpriviledged children, but I must say, it kicks my butt in a way that makes my experience at the YMCA seem more like sipping a nice hot cup of cocoa. But then, I like cocoa.

Actually, truth be told, it’s been great for me. I love (seriously) competing with the taught and ambitious 20 somethings to get to the best spin bike first.  Sure, I’m a little older than most of the women there (especially in certain classes) but that’s a great way to avoid middle aged exercise slippage.

You reach middle age and next thing you know, if you exercise regularly at all, you are fitter than most of your peer group. I was the queen of the Y. But, obviously, fitness is all relative. I go to Equinox, and I am a total wuss. I love that. Once you have gained the confidence that can come with age (or complacency maybe) hanging out with people who are just objectively better than you at something you care about can be invaluable in terms of improving your own game, and spurring your drive to succeed.

Just hold on– spring is coming!

All the best,

Alix — President Beautiful Fitness

Beautiful Quality

02/08/2008

Beautiful Readers,

So today I went to the nail salon and learned a lot about myself. I realized once again that I have high standards of service. Really high. And it’s not just because I like my nails to look cute.

I have always complained, in a way that sometimes makes me seem like kind of a snob, that the quality of services in Brooklyn, where I live, is terrible compared to Manhattan. I believe that that is mostly because in Manhattan people complain more– but I think there is more to it.

In Manhattan, everybody thinks they’re great. Seriously. Now, this is one of the traits that can easily get on a lot of different, normally tolerant, people’s nerves, and also makes people in Manhattan less folksy and friendly, but it has an upside too. And that is that the quality of service most people provide and the standards they hold themselves to–tend to be much higher–and that can lead to greater respect all around.

So back to the nail salon–I went in early hoping to get out fast with a french manicure and pedicure. Clean, elegant looking, few worries about chipping. Problem number one. The place only takes cash. Who the hell only takes cash? Even taxis take credit cards now. I rarely have enough cash and am heavily reliant on credit and debit cards. So as I am settling into the chair, and sticking my feet into the warm bath, I say, "I’ll have to go to the bank." I am already feeling slightly annoyed that I will have to walk to the ATM and walk back.

Then, before the manicurist puts polish on my toes I say "Should I go now?" she says no, smiles nicely, and says, "later later" doing a perfect impression of someone drying their fingernails under a heated salon dryer, suggesting that I could wait until after we were all done.

So I settle back into the chair, and start to sort out all of life’s complications in this comforting and relaxing atmosphere (something I often try to do–I have made some rather large life decisions in nail salons). the manicurist paints little quarter moons on my toes, and I await the milky sheer pink of the polish I have given her to use. I am surprised when she paints clear polish and is done–never touching the pink bottle. Darn. But nothing worth a discussion that could only end with annoyance on both sides, and starting from scratch.

So I take my dripping feet down from their paper toweled throne of the pedicure chair, and the manicurist walks me over to her station where I sit down carefully, thinking harder than you might imagine, about not rolling the casters from the chair over my freshly painted toes.

I ask her to please not file too much fingernail because I am always trying to grow my nails, and have discovered that regular manicures, without too much filing, seem to help. So she files as much as she feels like–stopping just short of my having no nails at all. And, of course, she files in a back and forth scrubbing motion, which, if you have ever read a women’s magazine (which I would guess it is safe to presume most manicurists have)–is terrible for your nails, and particularly terrible for thin nails like mine. I wince, as I always do, and I watch more and more of my hard earned nail tip peel off with each scrub of the file.

Now that I have no nails, she rinses my bare fingers in soapy water and rubs them dry with a hot towel. Then the snarky friend comes over. In Korean, she is clearly chastising my manicurist about letting me off so easy about visiting the ATM afterward instead of insisting that I go immediately. After all I could run off with a free manicure and pedicure. I suddenly feel like a perpetrator of intended salon theft, and I want more than anything to flash my Louis Vuitton wallet full of credit cards, unroll my Wellesley College diploma, show them all the languages I know how to speak, and give them a rough valuation of my co-op.

No dice. Within minutes I am out on the street with the toilet paper still tied around each of my toes on my way to the ATM. Now, in fairness, I elected to walk the extra block to go to my bank and save the $2 fee, instead of going to the deli downstairs, but having to cough up the extra cash would just add insult to injury. It is 45 degrees, and I am wearing an overcoat and a scarf and yellow flip flops. I try to be zen. I think, "feeling pissed off by this will only stress me out, and it will do nothing." Feeling zen doesn’t work out at all. I am pissed, and a bit embarrassed as all the polite New Yorkers glance wonderingly at my  strange choice of winter footwear, and then glance away.

I get the cash, and return. I hand over the money, feeling a bit fragile, but raising my eyebrows and say "It was kind of cold out there. I thought we were going to do this afterward." hoping to convey that I am unlikely to return to that particular salon and that, the snarky friend had made a poor business decision. They talk sh–t about me in Korean, finish up the manicure, making thick lines of white on the outside of my nails that look as if they could have been done with White Out.

Now, is this a tragedy? Of course not. Would it have happened like this in Manhattan? Probably not.

Partly because there is more of a culture of screaming about botched manicures in Manhattan, but it is also because there is a lot of pressure to be the best at what you do there. And that, I believe, can actually be very positive, and goes beyond a fear of getting fired or yelled at, and after many decades of living in New York City I think I like it better. Trying to be the best is exciting and can increase your sense of pride in what you do. And it is apparent to your clients too.

Now I wish I could say that I will never return to Seven Nails  on Union Street and 7th avenue in Park Slope Brooklyn ( I love having a blog) they do a terrible job and I am convinced that half the staff hates all of the patronesses, but, I’m afraid I may be back. It is convenient, and they open earlier than the other neighborhood nail salons, and I will forget how annoying I found today’s adventure.

There was one benefit to having suffered such poor service though, and that was that it made me feel great about Beautiful Fitness. For sure, we charge a slight premium for the at-home services that we provide, but we are damn good, at everything we do, consistently. And our staff cares. Every one of them. They really do, and not one of them is "mailing it in" Our facialists all love facials, and while they have rich lives outside of what they do, when they are providing their service, it is always art, and the quality is very important to them-as it should be. And aside from the obvious benefit to the reputation of our company, and our awesome client retention, it makes me personally, terribly proud of us, and makes me feel that we are contributing to a culture of respect for others by treating each experience with a client as significant and worthy.

Thanks for reading,

Alix       President/CEO Beautiful Fitness