Forget balance, just say no

Yesterday morning, Heather McGregor aka Mrs. Moneypenny an FT columnist, was interviewed on CNBC’s Squawk Box about her new book Sharpen you Heels. Heather is a successful business woman and mother. She claims that there is no glass ceiling and to succeed, women should not be striving for balance. She posits that we must make choices, and more importantly, learn to say no. I have written a number of posts on searching for balance in my work and family life so as you can imagine, I was glued to the tv.

One of Squawk Box’s hosts pointed out that when a man is a CEO he is not asked how he balances fatherhood and work. Andrew Ross Sorkin, another host, commented that his wife is super-woman and he is awed by all that she accomplishes. Heather countered that women are hardwired to please and men to perform.

To succeed, Mrs. Moneypenny thinks women need to give up the goal of “having it all” or more to the point, taking everything on. Say no to the charity event to be with your family and move the parent/teacher mtg for a work commitment.

In her view, balance is overrated and we need to prioritize. And as Dr. McGregor wittily points out, it may sting like a leg waxing at first, but ultimately, we need to learn to say no.

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SAINT LAURENT

Suzanne medium hobo bag in smooth leather

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Cotton and wool tweed midi dress

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Merino wool sweater

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High-rise skinny jeans

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Wool top

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Dunkled putty bonded cotton 3/4 coat

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The simple bag

Courtesy of Vogue February 2012 issue

I love the idea of this story from February Vogue and it came out when I was thinking down the same lines. There are lots of great bags on offer right now and for spring I want something a little more understated. And truly functional- it needs to be large enough and somewhat structured for my iPad and most importantly, it must go over my shoulder. The latter being a big must. I have loved my bottle-green tote and will put it away for next fall, but I want something now that will keep my stuff in place–constantly digging for keys is maddening.

The problem is that I have been a hobo-style girl since I got my first hadbag at Gucci in Rome with my mother in the early 80s (I still have it and it is divine- slouchy, camel calfskin). But, technology has changed my thinking about what I like vs. what I need. I hate when my phone and iPad slip to the bottom of a tote with all my junk piling on top. Cannot be good for their longevity either.

I ended up buying a Givenchy flap-bag and am very happy. It covers all the bases and even though it is from Fall 2011, it is far better suited for spring. Best of all, it was on sale. Equestrian-ish and understated, this bag will go the distance. A true win win in my book.

Courtesy of Vogue February 2012 issue

 

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Dragon days are here

The year of the Dragon feels powerful and lucky. To celebrate I bought a new Chanel lipstick in Bonheur and will go out for Chinese food with my family. I have not been to China since 1979 and think it is high time for a revisit. We cannot get enough of chinese-red at KiC (it is our logo color after all), for us it is truly powerful and lucky!

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To See: Massimo Vitali

One of our favorite photographers, Massimo Vitali, currently has exhibitions of his work in both New York and London. But they will not be up for much longer. The show at the Brancolini Grimaldi in London is through January 28th and in New York at Bonni Benrubi gallery until February 18th.

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My new silhouette

Courtesy of American Vogue

I have been an a-line (tent) dress girl forever and completely ignoring my waist. However, the above image has been sitting on my desktop for ages and it has inspired a new look for me. The trim top and softer skirt is really appealing and fresh. Certainly a welcome change from my often shapeless shifts.

Valentino Spring

It’s an easy look- just zip it up and add great sandals.

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Never too many

I know I know, but how could I resist? A friend said I can justify them by thinking of myself as a collector… These Valentino sandals are beyond gorgeous and I will live in them this summer.

I don’t buy a lot from Spring, many of my picks come from the Resort collections. I try to add 2 or 3 new pieces (usually accessories) that will update my wardrobe.

I bought a 1/2 size smaller.

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Challenging the old and embracing the new

Kate Moss by Irving Penn for American Vogue 1996. I asked Kate to do this nude portrait with Mr. Penn and she had no reservations.

I love the days before New Year’s Eve. As the holiday madness winds down, I stop and reflect. Last year I strove to find more balance in my life and I feel that I succeeded. This year I am going to scrutinize some of my routines and update them. Top of my list is skin care. This reaches beyond the products I have been devoted to that now seem to do little. I need to reevaluate what I eat, how I exercise and yes, the crazily overpriced creams and serums that make no significant difference. By focusing on the pieces, I intend to address the whole.

Like Kate, I would like to feel good in my skin.

 

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A Merry and Happy to you

Love      Peace     Joy

Merry Christmas!

Preston

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Gift Guide by Christiane Mack

Christiane, the director of Vogue’s editorial project development and KiC Style Setter,  gave us so many  great gift ideas when we recently profiled her, I thought it best to save them for a holiday post. Her Danish heritage really shines through this time of year and her gift choices reflect a clean, yet somewhat whimsical, Nordic sensibility.  “I love modern design (must be the Danish blood), but can do without the cold aesthetic often associated with it.  I also hate unnecessary items around the house.  If I find something that combines good design, historical context, and function, I’m in heaven. In my opinion, the Miller House and Garden in Indianapolis is the ultimate inspiration and my dream residence.  Now that it’s a museum, I hope to visit next year.”

A great tip from Christiane “my mother kept a gift drawer where she stored little items for last-minute events, so I learned from her.”


Christiane Mack Hostess Gifts

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The 12 days of Christmas

Presents on my daughters’ lists

Years ago I came up with the idea to give each of my girls 12 presents for Christmas. I told them one for each of the 12 Days of Christmas. The real reason was to manage their expectations and not have them want an enormous haul every December 25th. The presents range from a few significant items to books and small things. But the number has stuck and is now a family tradition.

For the first time, I was focused on stockings this holiday. I usually make a last minute (too often Christmas eve) dash to grab “stuff” as filler. Not this year. I am going to look for fun stuffers and will wrap them too.

Geode kit, Hydrogen powered remote control car and ColorKu game from Mindeware Toys

Rock Tumbler and Moshi Moshi handset for iPhone at Amazon

Butet Saddle at Beval Saddlery

Marc Jacobs earrings at Net-a-Porter

Sperry Topsiders