On the power of connecting

Good morning, Thursday. Gorgeous day.

I realize that my recent writing may make me sound like I don't value young people and that's the furthest thing from the truth. I love working with young people-there are challenges for sure but there are challenges with everything so that's a moot point. We all love to hate on millennials, but generalizing a whole group of young people for their work habits or lack thereof is just silly. I love being around young people- they inspire me.

And my takeaway from all these years of experience is this- once you realize it's time to move on,  passing the torch is a wonderful thing to do. I have always been a connector, my entire life. I think that's what I loved most about producing, because it sure wasn't the panicky calls about FedEx shipments gone missing or a wardrobe stylist who "just doesn't get it". What I loved was putting great people together, and knowing who the kindred spirits were that would make something great together. It's so much fun to do that. It never, ever felt like work to me. Plus, New Yorkers like to be know-it-alls- we revel in knowing the best of the best and the hidden gems as yet to be discovered. 

I bring this up because recently, I met an amazing young woman who happened to be registered on rover.com, a pet walking and sitting service. I was looking for someone to watch Khan and I came across her profile and immediately felt like she'd be perfect to watch our little guy. When she came to my house we got to talking and turns out she's been a writer for a minute, and really loves comedy writing. After a few more times watching Khan, we got to talking about advertising, and how she was interested in copywriting. If you've spent time in ad land, you can immediately tell who would be a good fit. And I knew this woman would be fantastic. I mean- who shows up to coffee in New York City with a grin and a tennis racket in the middle of winter? Just enough quirk. In an Annie Hall kind of way. Love her.

So I quickly got to introducing her to some people I thought she should know. And as luck would have it, she landed her first gig.  With someone I think is one of the best creatives out there. I am so excited for her I want to burst. 

Throughout my career, I have made many introductions- some lead to nada and some start people on their path. I have never sought to do this for money, ps. I tried being a photo agent. It didn't work for me. I just like to do it because it's my beshert, or inevitability in Yiddish. It's something I will never stop doing regardless of where I am in my career or what I'm doing. Because it feels like the right thing to do. And I'm eternally grateful to all the amazing people I have worked with that inspire these introductions. Lucky me.

I have a great friend who is one of the best connectors I know. She throws amazing dinner parties where she puts the best people who need to know each other together, and she does it with so much ease. Recently I attended a dinner of hers with some CEO lady bosses (and wondered why I was in the room) and you know what? I got a potential great gig out of it. Amazingly powerful stuff, this connecting.

Good things come back to you when you do good things. I know this to be true. I've been close to broke many times and it's in those times I tend to donate money to favorite causes, and give a dollar or two or five to a person in need. I do this because it's right- and that there's always someone or something that needs help more than I do. I'm not looking for praise here mind you- I'm just telling you that helping people and connecting people is a cause very close to my heart. And if you ever need me, I'm here.

And if you like this post or anything else I've written of late, do me a favor and share it. Let's keep the good vibes going and keep connecting. It's one of life's simple joys and it means so very much.

Cause that's what's up this paying it forward kind of Thursday in the 718. Yours, in connecting the dots. XO


Hot or not? And who really cares?

Good morning, Wednesday.  Sun's out in the city and it's just getting lovelier. Still a bit of the chill in the air, but you can almost taste Spring and it's divine.

As I cycle through the week, I truly am floored by all the amazing conversations around ageism my piece created. So many people, many of whom I don't know, reached out and said how much they can relate. One commenter noted that advertising is never going to change, and I don't disagree. It's kind of like that old cliche- you can't change the world, but you can change yourself. True that. That's why reinvention is so very important.

The trajectory of this  blog is being reinvented as we speak, for example. I love writing about so many things but as I move forward, I think Maven is going more midlife than not. I realize I'm a bit past the midlife point but that's cool. You understand the intent. I want to keep sharing content that speaks to this phase of life. Because there's so much to share.

So I'm part of a Facebook group where women over 40 share hilarious and often cynical sentiments about getting older. It's a sacred space and I don't want to out it because I respect it so much, but one woman posted something that gave me pause. And it was:

"I like getting old because I no longer have to care about "being hot." Anyone else?"

Hmm. That stopped me halfway through my gluten-free waffle.   I completely get what she means. The invisible period of a woman's life is legit. I could probably walk down the street in my underwear and be largely ignored. I have to admit, there's comfort in that. But if I'm being honest, it also kind of sucks.

Look I'm married and I'm not seeking the male gaze or male approval or male opinions on my body or anything else.

And it's not her sentiment that bothered me- I can't judge anyone who feels the way she does, but my bit of buggery here is the very notion of what make someone "hot". And why that's the provenance of youth. It's fucked up.

We all know youth and beauty go hand in hand. That's why so many women I know are chasing the dragon/injectables/ketosis/cremedelawhatever to hold on a bit longer. I have to say I fall somewhere on the low side of that scale. I don't do botox or filler (I'm a complete needlephobic), I don't freak out over my body enough to deny myself things I love, but I do certainly have a hefty skincare and makeup budget because i just really love skincare and makeup. You do you. I'll do me.

But seriously- why oh why is being hot something that's off the table as we get older? Case in point- look at Andrea Linnett's brilliant blog post from yesterday, celebrating French icon Isabelle Huppert. Wearing jeans, shades, Converse, and an Hermes cuff, she looks hot as hell. At least she does to me. It's true she's thin and French and fabulous, but you get my point. What's not hot about her? Rien. That's what. I also love that she looks like she's about to give you the finger. That's pretty hot too. I suppose that's what the woman's post was all about in a way, but it still got me.

For me, there's much more nuance about feeling and being hot as we age. Wearing a bikini is only a small fraction of that. Having confidence is hot. Not giving a single f is hot. Knowing your style and what looks great on your body is hot. Being experienced and smart is beyond hot. So screw that noise that being older takes you out of the hot game. That's just dumb. 

I don't know what it's going to take to get society in line with this. Very few people look the way they do in their 20s when they are past 40 and 50. It's a fact. But does that mean you lose your sex appeal? I don't think so. You just lose society's expectation of what that looks like.

I never looked like a supermodel.  I have hips and thighs and boobs. I've always had those things, my entire post pubescent life. And I've been thin, fat, and everything in between.   I never fit into what is typically considered sexy and I was always super cool with that. Because I always knew I had a thing. Stylish, a little wacky, cool. All that. And guess what? I still have all that. A few more wrinkles and a few more curves but seriously- I'm still me.  Why is it that older men are considered sexy and distinguished but older women are taboo when it comes to sex appeal unless they're in some sort of perverse cougar role? I call bullshit.

Sure it's cool not to worry about hotness after a certain point. But why is age such a marker of that? That's just insane. After all, there's nothing sexier than someone who is just fully and completely committed to being themselves. Regardless of height, weight, age or anything else. Women, please stop idealizing your younger, "hotter" self. Chances are you're much hotter now.

Cause that's what's up this hot or not kind of Wednesday in the 718. Yours, in age old questions. XO




On timeless cool and classic kicks

Good morning, Tuesday. It's a beautiful day in the city and Spring is finally here, or at least I think so. Looking forward to sunny days and warm nights.

And as further proof that being age positive is very much a thing, my old boss Marian Salzman did an amazing interview over in the UK about how 2019 will be the year when we all grow up and admit how old we are. That we no longer wish to look or act 20 but just be the healthiest and best versions of ourselves. Marian is someone who taught me so much about how to work and how to look for trends so it was great to see her come out with a piece like this. After all these years, we're still somehow in sync.  Check out her interview- it's fantastic and she looks fabulous.

And since I'm a loud and proud Gen Xer, I couldn't help but fall madly in love with these leopard print Converse high tops, which take me back the 80s in the best of ways. Converse is a brand that transcends age and generations, but for members of mine, the Converse high top was a rite of passage. I had a red pair in high school, covered in pen with anarchy and Dead Kennedy symbols. That's how I rolled. I'm sure many of you did too. After high school, I kind of gave up Converse and think I went more into an Adidas place (Stan Smiths, Gazelles) as well as many pairs of Pumas. But something about that high top has always stood for more. I remember producing a shoot for the brand some time ago and was humbled by its history. Converse has always  stood for rock and roll, rebellion, and skate culture and basically anything indie. All the things i grew up with and all the things I still love to this day (not much of a skater obvi but love the influence and have always been inspired by its punk rock vibes). Plus I love how cool they look when you've kicked the shit out of them. I'm a fan of worn in. You can keep your spanking white Yeezys. That's not my tempo.

I haven't worn Chucks in a while and have graduated to Nike Blazers and my Golden Goose high tops, but may have to return to the classic and go for these in the leopard print. Timeless, American, and effortlessly cool. What more could I want from a shoe or sense of style in general?

Cause that's what's up this can I kick it kind of Tuesday in the 212. Yours, in high tops and cool vibes. XO

Grazie

Good afternoon, Monday. I'm trying to break on through this start of the work week but my head is still very much in my lovely weekend upstate, but I digress. Because I just want to say thank you to all the people who reposted and shared Friday's piece about aging out of advertising. I had no idea it would hit home for so many, and I'm glad people could relate to it, though not so glad at the same time.

Thanks for all the love and support. Thinking of doing a redesign on the blog in the next month or so and definitely considering taking Maven to a new place. That piece really inspired me to think about what's next for me, the blog, and life in general. I remain steadfast in my reinvention mission. And to follow my heart and share it with you. I've always worn it on my sleeve anyway.

Look for more content around that as well as all the stuff you've come to know and love. Feeling very excited for all of it. 

Cause that's what's up this grateful kind of Monday in the 212. Yours, in buckets of merci. XO`

Is it time for advertising to grow up?

Good morning, Friday. I know I've been a bit quiet of late- apologies all around. Only excuse I have is a lack of inspiration (it happens) and a lack of time (also happens).

But while I was cruising this am's papers while debating going to the gym in the rain (strong no on that one), I came across an article that gave me pause. It was a piece in the Chicago Tribune about ageism against women being the next #metoo movement, and man, that hit home for me in a very real way. 

The industry I've called home for many years, advertising, has always been known as being youth obsessed. Chasing the latest demographic with an alphabet letter has been the MO since I entered the business in the 90s. And with the fragmentation and immediacy of media nowadays, there's desperation in the air to always understand and somehow stay ahead of what the cool kids are doing. And truly, there's no place for those much past 40, let alone 50. At some point in your adult life, people will stop getting your references. And that moment is a real turning point. And it makes you feel old.

Because of this not so dirty little secret, I found myself feeling the burn a few years back.  A lot of young women in the industry were telling me I reminded them of their "very cool aunt".  

And then just before Christmas, a friend in the industry who is younger than me leaned in over holiday cocktails and asked quietly, "how old are you anyway?" Oof. This coming on the heels of a particularly epic photoshoot where I felt like Rodney Dangerfield in "Back to School". I wondered how, if every other part of me had changed, was I still doing the same thing career-wise I was doing in my younger life?  I don't wear the same clothes I did in my 20s. I don't have the same boyfriend. I don't party the way I used to. So why on Earth was I still doing the same job? 

Big caveat- many people don't want to stop doing what they're doing. And that's great. It should be your right as an experienced and season ad vet or vet of any industry to keep on keepin' on if you're doing what you love. But for me, I got the more than sneaking sense I should move on. I don't want anyone telling me I'm like their aunt. And I don't want to be the oldest person on set. I also don't want to hide behind botox or pretend I'm something that I'm not. You couldn't pay me to go back to being 25. I'm a happier person now, of this I'm certain. 

What's even worse than the ageism is the notion that experience no longer has value. I can only speak to advertising, but that experience is no longer valued. Smart production is no longer valued. The value comes from youth and speed. But the funniest part of that is that in order to be scrappy and fast, you need to know what the heck you're doing. That's the rub right there.

Sure you have people sounding the alarm about all of this- the bombastic Cindy Gallop comes out in favor of age all the time. And my former home, CP+B, has bought back Alex Bogusky, who at 55, is a bit of a unicorn.  I don't know many people who can get a gig in advertising at 55, let alone 50. And ps- this ageist thing is not only prevalent when it comes to women, I know men are feeling it too.

If you want my take, here it is. Reinvent. Find new ways to contribute and prosper at work.  Constantly flex and adapt and find employers and causes and passion points that value what you have to offer. If thoughts of being phased out because of your age are keeping you up at night, phase yourself back in. Chances are you are totally worth it. My reinvention continues and I'm loving writing for everyone from internal agencies to PR firms and beyond.  My takeaway? If advertising agencies can't flex and adapt to an aging workforce, then fuck 'em. Go make your own way. And never feel that it's too late. It's never too late. If you really look at your career, are you still totally happy doing what you're doing as you get older? If not, it may be time for a change.

And as the world turns, it looks like older women are having a bit of a moment. Some great roles for women in Hollywood for example as we saw at the Oscars this year- Glenn Close's excellent nom for "The Wife" and Olivia Colman's win for 'The Favourite". And look at Washington, DC. Sure all eyes are on AOC, but women like Nancy Pelosi and Kamala Harris are too legit to ever quit. And then more and more women are having babies later in life and defying the odds. 

At its best, advertising is an industry that affects pop culture and brings about change. At its worst? It's a rudderless sycophant that come to think of it, is probably dealing with an identity crisis of its own, struggling for relevancy in an industry that no longer looks anything like it used to. There's a real opportunity for advertising to help shape cultural attitudes about age.  Youth will always be front and center when it comes to marketing,  but don't count out the rest of us. Cause we still got it. As a member of the first named generation by marketers (X), here's to getting older and being relevant, vital, and most of all, valued.  

Cause that's what's up this age is just a number kind of Friday in the 718, Yours, in reading between the lines. XO

New York is a big mall and I don't like it.

Good morning, Friday TGIF and stuff. It's beautiful in the city and y'all know I love St. Patrick's Day weekend. I can't help myself. I'm a woman of the people. ;)

So speaking of that, I have a bit of a rant. I'm going to caveat the crap out of said rant because I have not yet been to this place, but I'm pretty sure it's horrible.

And that place is Hudson Yards. 

For those of you who don't know what Hudson Yards is, it's a development project in the nether reaches of Manhattan, way, way out on the West Side. It is literally one of the least convenient places to get to, and even though they have a train that goes right to it, to me it feels a bit behind the wall.

And that's because it is. It's a massive residential, office, and retail behemoth. That is like some sort of ridiculous fortress of bougie. I can't.

As I've been a New Yorker for most of my adult life, I'm one of those folks that hates the mallification of New York City. When I first moved here, there was a sense of entrepreneurial promise that was tough to beat. The city was full of places to shop small. From bespoke ballet flats to local mom and pop drug stores, there really was something so special about the power of small biz.  When I moved to New York in the 90s, the thought of a Home Depot in the city was disgusting, let alone a mall. Now we have several- Time/Warner Center (when is the last time you went there?), Brookfield Place, The Oculus. I don't think malls are places most people want to go anymore. So I don't understand why we need another one. And a ridiculously fancy one at that. Like the generations who came after me, I appreciate brands and businesses that I can connect to. Maybe that's why I always loved the mom and pop. The personal touch is important to me. It doesn't make me a dinosaur. It just makes me crave something not so generic, even if it is wrapped in a beautiful setting. I do like that they also opened a cool performance space, The Shed. I got something in the mail about becoming a member but the marketing materials made zero sense to me as I had no sense for what it was. Typical.

Neiman Marcus has set up shop there for their first location in New York (admit I'm a little psyched to see that one). But do we really need another place to buy a Vuitton bag or a pair of Lululemon yoga pants? I don't. And the hoo ha around the launch of this place was epic. You might think it was the Olympics Opening Ceremony yesterday. But for rich people. With a lot of botox. Jesus. Aren't we better than this, New York? Leave the malls to Vegas and Miami, please. It's enough already. I know we're better than this. Also betting on retail? Not smart. 

Perhaps a visit there will change my mind, but I doubt it. With restaurants and shops closing ad infinitum because of the high rents in this city, slapping some swish retail on the far end of the Island is ridiculous. If I want big box retail, I'll go to the suburbs. That's what malls are for. Nobody I know moved to New York City to go to the mall. Ugh.

Cause that's what's up this old school New York kind of Friday in the 212. Yours, in indie for life. XO

Maven man crush: Bryan Ferry

Good afternoon, Wednesday. It's a sunny day in my city and I'm a happy girl. Plus I have on a velvet jumpsuit. So there's that.

But I'm not here to talk about weather or jumpsuits. And it's rare I talk about men's style so here's one for the boys, though I suspect it's one for the girls too.

I was down my usual 70s rabbit hole this morning as I was getting ready to head into the city and ended up listening to Roxy Music for a good solid hour. I'm pretty stoked to see Bryan Ferry again in August up in Harlem. Promises to be a great show. I have often said that if you have not at least made out to Roxy Music's "Avalon" you really haven't made out at all. Dreamy.

And on the subject of Mr. Ferry, his style is well worth celebrating. Men, if you are ever feeling you want to step it up a bit - have a look at his incredible style. I'm obsessed. it also helps to have a hot girl or two on your arm. Good luck with that bit.

He's subtle yet edgy. Subtly edgy. And so damn elegant. 

I love that his style is never overpowering- it's just effortless in the best of ways. He knows how to do classics better than most, and give them something a little sexy .And the hair ain't bad either.

Let's all celebrate Bryan Ferry's impeccable approach to dress today. Shall we? As our world spirals into an athleisure rabbit hole, thank goodness for him and his enduring great look after look. Timeless as f. 

And if for some reason you think his style is just for dudes, nah. It's no coincidence I've been crushing super HARD on this haircut featured in the new Givenchy campaign. I'm probably going for it tomorrow. Thanks, Bryan for the inspo.

Cause that's what's up this one for the boys kind of Wednesday in the 212. Yours, in you're so sheer, you're so chic, teenage rebel of the week. XO

Maven Pick: The perfect ballet flat to welcome Spring

Good morning, Tuesday. I think I'm turning the corner on this sickness- actually slept last night and feeling very much on the mend. But now the pup has a tummy ache. Ugh it never ends. So today we're very much wfh.

So Spring is pretty much about to grace us with her warm and sunny presence, and you can feel it in the air in New York and there's something so lovely about the change of seasons here. Everybody is ready to shed the layers and change up the vibe.

And though I'm being very conservative when it comes to my Spring shopping list, there's a lot of great stuff out there.  This adorable pair of ballet slippers came across my feed this morning, and I love them. They're from Mansur Gavriel and they are so elegant and pretty and slipper-like. You can have them monogrammed, but I prefer them plain as I'm somewhat done with the whole monogram trend. Plus in a eulogy to Lee Radziwill it was said that she was anti-monogram (aka tacky) so be like Lee and don't do it. Or do. Your choice.

I love the green suede, but would most likely go with the navy at the top of this post or black leather for something classic. These are pretty with everything from jumpsuits to jeans to every dress you own. I think this little pair of flats is my first official Spring must have. They're not super cheap, but they will be worth the spend because you'll most likely wear them all Spring and Summer. I've always been partial to a J. Crew ballet flat (they do toe cleavage well) as well as the Porselli flats I get at APC, but this is a fresh take and I'm all in. These are a bit more high cut but they're chic as shit. And all the great flats are made in Italy- and these hold that title as well. 

Cause that's what's up this flattened Tuesday in the 718. Yours, in Spring shoes and sunshine. XO


Everything's coming up roses

Good morning, Monday. On the road to recovery but still not at 100. This cold likes to keep me hangin' on. Oh well. At least it's sunny and warm.

So in the midst of my self imposed rest day on Saturday, I found the energy to go to the BK Apple store and buy a new computer. I was the proud owner of a 2011 MacBook Air- I believe it was the first generation of the Air and I used it to almost it's own death. Many of the keys were even rubbed off from my emphatic typing through the years. And for a while I resisted buying a new one, and I don't know why. I had a few gift cards so the computer was not a huge expense, but still I held off.

Maybe it's because that old Air was my first computer bought after 7 years at a full time job. It was the beginning of my freelance career and I remember how excited I felt buying that shiny, new Mac at the Apple Store on Lincoln Road in Miami.

Cut to now when my freelance life is very much still happening, but I've switched gears a bit. A whole lot less producing, a whole lot more writing. Hoping that's the way it's going to stay, thus the new computer/talisman to say as much. And it's the rose gold MacBook Air and I just adore it. There's nothing like that new computer smell. ;) Had my eyes on that sucker for a minute, and now it's all mine. Happy new computer day to me-ee.

It's nice to face another manic Monday with a computer that is not on the verge of blowing up. And who has a B key. And a P key. And all the keys. I'm a happy girl. Oh and bonus- it looks good with my hair color. Come on you don't color coordinate your hardware to your hair wear? ;)

It feels good to buy things that are an investment in your business and your future. I highly recommend it, even if you have to take a minute and plan and save for it. Cause that's what up this brand, shiny, new moon of a Monday in the 212. Yours, in rose colored everything. XO

Where my girls at?

Good afternoon, Friday. This sore throat is so annoying. And now I have no voice. I feel like I used to find that hoarse voice kind of hot but not so much now. I sound like Harvey Fierstein dressed in drag as Demi Moore. No good.

Besides my icky throat, today is International Women's Day, and I'm humbled by those fighting the good fight and blazing the good trail. Seriously. I am. Lately I've been writing quite a bit about women's health and sexual health and love that that space is becoming much more conversational than taboo. We need to keep talking about the formerly off limits stuff- that's what women are all about- being pioneers and not being afraid to challenge the norm.

Which brings me to a point I need to make. 

It doesn't matter if you think Kylie Jenner deserves the title of "self-made" or not.  It doesn't matter if you find AOC annoying and juvenile in her approach to power. Because what matters most is that all of these women are being given a seat at the table. That Kylie is taking over for Zuckerberg is incredible. That Ocasio-Cortez is so much more than a beautiful face and is taking stodgy white man Washington by storm. That women can have babies as long as they can have babies. I love all of this and revel in all of it. Whether we want to judge or not, today is a day to celebrate women. Period. Full stop. You don't have to love all women. But we have to continue to lift each other up and celebrate our successes together. I truly believe that. 

I believe in women. I am proud to be one. And today, I celebrate my good fortune to have some pretty kick ass women in my life. From my family to my friends to all the amazing mentors I've had throughout the years- thanks and love and praises to you all. I'm drawn to strong women. I'm drawn to wacky women. I'm drawn to women who don't pretend to be anything that they're not.  That doesn't make me a man hater. That doesn't make me blind. That doesn't make me want to burn my bra (though I'd like to do that for other reasons but that's not here nor there).It just makes me want to say a big thank you to all of the ladies, today and every day. Big ups to y'all. Keep fighting and throwing your hat in the ring and up in the air. 

Let's celebrate how far we have come and how much more we still can do. Cause that's what's up this ladies first kind of Friday in the 212. Yours, in sisters doin' it for themselves. XO