Sorry if this is TMI …
but I have a lot to say!
From food to fashion to technology, I’m excited to share a little bit more about all the different parts of me. Spoiler alert: I am more than just cupcakes!
You’ll soon see that when I like something I go deep (read below about the many pairs of glasses and multiple lip balms).
And remember, this is a dialogue! So, let me know what recommendations resonate with you and please share some of your recent obsessions too.
The Round Up | May
I usually come across like I have it all together, but it definitely doesn’t come naturally. My brain is a dangerous mix of having zillions of ideas with NO memory to retain them. This potent combo has always meant that the bulk of what’s on my mind ends up in the Notes app on my phone — like to the point where it’s just a digital pile of hundreds of completely disorganized notes that are only accessible by search.
Clearly, this is not a sustainable system — if you can even call it a system. So, imagine my delight upon discovering Notion, a customizable all-in-one workspace that keeps everything connected — whether it’s a podcast I want to listen to, articles I want to read, Google Docs I want to keep track of and, of course, random notes and brainstorms. I now have a way to keep everything in one place and, like, totally have it together (kind of).
Caddis Reading Glasses
At the start of the pandemic, when people were taking to their IG lives like moths to a flame, I noticed a new accessory. Bold, stylish framed glasses perched atop all my influencer friends. With no access to beauty services or self care, it made sense. These glasses distracted from the gray hairs that were becoming increasingly apparent amongst my peers. All of a sudden, glasses were IN! But, not just any glasses, one brand rose above the rest — Caddis Readers. I became intrigued and eventually bought my first pair.
Fast forward two years, I now have Caddis glasses scattered throughout the house. Not only do they help me read, but they’re a fashion accessory from a brand I admire. I recently posted to my Linkedin about how 82% of consumers say they want to buy from brands with values that align with their own, and I’m living proof. CADDIS is crushing age stereotypes by making readers fashionable and cool and that’s something I can truly get behind.
Netflix & No Chill
We’ve all seen the headlines over the years of WeWork’s spectacular rise and fall, as well as Adam Neumann, the visionary (and delusional) founder behind it. To those who don’t know the story of the series on Apple TV, We Crashed, it’s based on the podcast of the same name. It follows the entrepreneurial rise and fall of WeWork, one of the world's most valuable startups, and the characters whose chaotic love made it all possible. I was fascinated by this series. Besides being a great story and incredibly well acted by Jared Leto and Anne Hathaway, this series spoke to me as a founder.
When investors say they buy people — this is what they mean. Adam took a decent idea and rode it to a place that no one could have ever imagined, entirely fueled on blind passion and will.
He made believers out of his customers, investors, and the media by genuinely believing there was no possibility of failure. It is a study of how the conviction of a founder can become self fulfilling, but can easily turn dangerous without integrity. The Atlantic summed it up pretty well by calling him “the most talented grifter of our time.”
Whether you’re an entrepreneur or not, I highly recommend watching — even if only for Anne Hathaway’s wardrobe.
A Lip Moisturizer Obsession
I have a bad habit of biting my lip when I’m writing, reading or generally working for long periods of time. Given that I’ve spent the last year of my life writing a book, you can imagine it's taken a toll on my smackers. To bring my poor dry lips back to life, I’ve researched, uncovered and indulged in a whole new level of lip care. I won’t take you along for the long, emollient journey, but here are the highlights:
LaNeige Lip Sleeping Mask. This lip moisturizer comes in a stout little pot and fulfills all my childhood Bonnie Bell Lipsmacker obsession in a delicious berry flavor (other flavors include vanilla, grapefruit and lemon sorbet). It’s billed as a rich lip “mask” that you wear while you sleep and then wipe off in the morning, but I find it to be the perfect consistency to wear throughout the day.
Facile Lip Jelly. Part of a new beauty line from the luxe skin care spa of the same name, this super glossy lip jelly adds a very shiny sheen while plumping and hydrating your lips with a mix of jojoba oil and peptides. It comes in an easy to stash tube. I wear the clear, but it also comes in a tinted option set that includes: rouge, rose and berry
U Beauty The Plasma Lip Compound. The Rolls Royce of my collection, this one promises lasting results in the form of increased lip volume and hydration and really targets dehydration. I don’t know about all that but I do know that it’s very conditioning and the metal tip applicator feels very luxe and is extra cooling to my lips when I apply. Definitely a splurge though!
Pizzana is now shipping frozen pizzas via Goldbelly! And, no big deal, but Jen Garner is a fan! There is nothing quite like the feeling of knowing you are 7 minutes (at 475 degrees) away from the world’s finest Michelin bib gourmand award winning Neapolitan pizza).
It’s every working mom’s dream — a collision of deliciousness, quality, and convenience.
My boys can take down an entire pepperoni pizza themselves — as an after school snack — and they can heat them up themselves now! I like to add a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of parmesan to my gluten free Margherita once it comes out of the oven. We have the world’s best gluten free crust. Seriously! It has crunch, char and chew just like its gluten counterpart — and we offer a vegan option as well.
If you haven’t had our Cacio e Pepe pizza, make sure you grab one of those signature pies. Daniele Uditi, our Naples born pizzaiolo masterminded the Cacio e Pepe pizza, which has now been replicated on menus across the world. It is a magical reinvention of a classic Roman pasta dish — on a pie, and it is creamy, crunchy, savory, peppery and addictive.
Founder Musings -
It’s Not the Critic Who Counts…Or is It?
🍕I’m excited to report that Pizzana has a new, third location at Sherman Oaks, on a bustling stretch of Ventura Boulevard. But, on opening weekend we also got hit with some pie in our face…
A couple 1-star Yelp! reviews. Ouch. 😬
In start-ups, or with any new project, it’s exciting to grow quickly. But, when you’re trying things you’ve never done before, you’re almost guaranteed to have a few stumbles. During our opening weekend at Pizzana Sherman Oaks, we were slammed with customers and a brand-new staff when operational issues hit.
Even with all our management on the floor, the onslaught was overwhelming, and some angry customers left a few disheartening comments online.
In Daring Greatly, Brené Brown famously quotes Teddy Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” speech, writing “It’s not the critic who counts…The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena…who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasm, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause.”
When you’re reading less than stellar reviews, it’s hard to channel these words. But, as we learned, and as I wrote in a recent Wall Street Journal article, the way to avoid taking criticism personally is to reframe it as fuel for growth. It’s so challenging to separate our emotions from our brand, because our brand is such a personal extension of ourselves. And, many of us are sensitive perfectionists, seemingly poised to crumple when hit by criticism.
As small-business owners, we can keep the criticism in perspective, and we can control the conversation. After the opening weekend of Pizzana Sherman Oaks, we tracked down each customer who experienced a long wait, called them with a personal apology, and sent them gift cards. And I’m happy to report that after that rough first weekend, we’re as fired up as our pizza ovens and the reviews are looking stellar! 🔥