I invited a few industry friends, colleagues and clients to join for lunch as we officially launched Cbealifestyle. I wanted to have a day where everyone could relax and reboot for the afternoon. After a cocktail hour of soft music from Elan Artists, mini massages from Equinox and shopping with some lifestyle products we sat down to a delicious lunch from Cloud Catering. The soft details and zen feeling were created by the beautiful decor from David Beahm Destinations and Red Bliss Design . Their designs truly set the tone for a feeling on cloud 9 at The Glasshouses Chelsea.
In the past few years there have been so many changes for me- not sure if it is age or experience or incorporating some better lifestyle habits into my life. In a crazy paced world of event planning I try to do as much yoga as possible and occasional meditation and sound bath. The past year I have realized that as much yoga as I do, sometimes I am still feeling a little off balance. I have also started this blog, which is in addition to my event planning at Carolyn Bender Events. keeps me busy. In a million years- if you had asked me 20-30 years ago what I would be doing with myself I think I could safely say I would be involved with food, fashion or decor but a blog and the thought of a computer oriented project would never have come to mind, nor did it even exsist.
Happiness, balance, what is it, how does one achieve it????
This led me to thinking....how do these other women I see around seem to handle huge careers, businesses that is, and or balance things? I decided to create a panel of a few women I admire -who have products, personality and thriving businesses. I wanted to relate to the field of entertaining and hospitality but also touch on the theme of the day - wellness. My choices were easy- quite organic I would say. I reached out to some powerhouse ladies.
First and foremost I needed someone to host this panel and be the moderator, hostess- if you will. Without a doubt I knew the lady to handle this. Christina Matteucci, is the executive director of David Beahm Destinations. Christina has planned elaborate weddings and lifetime celebrations ALL over the world and north, south, east and west in this country! Not only is she involved in every detail from start to finish of the events, she is an accomplished speaker as well. She has spoken at Engage as well as many other forums. I have known her for over a dozen years...I knew she was the perfect person for the job. Luckily she accepted my invitation!
We had an amazing group of women join us!
Marcy Blum ( left) is an international event planner with over 30 years experience in the industry. She has been voted one of the best planners in the contry by Vogue and Harpers Bazzar, Her signature style is eclectic and laced with humor, but the most authentic part of her style is she creates each event to reflect the "client's personal style".
Susan Miller, ( right) is an international author, columnist and a pioneer in the internet industry with her column Astrology Zone and a leader of the modern astrology movement. Her column is read in 120 countries. She has 11 million unique readers a year, and serves up 299 million page views a year!! Wow! Susan personally does all the writing for her website. She writes for Vogue Japan, W Korea, Claudia Brazil, Amica Italy, SMODA Spain, Vogue China, and Vogue Greece is published in over 40 languages all over the world!
Christine Traulich ( left) is the owner designer of Red Bliss Designs. She creates the most unbelievable and extraordinary invitations. She does it " FOR THE JAW DROP" and she does it well! Her love of entertaining and design led her to create a line of tabletop items that include chargers (the very cloud chargers that decorated our luncheon). They are available for rent at Nuage Designs and for sale at upscale retailers Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus.
Alissa Benishai ( right) graduated Stern at the age of 19! She went into the high stakes world and big deals of the real estate business. A pivotal change of life led her to discover the world of yoga and wellness and she created the one size fits all line of active wear, Phat Buddha which is more than just yoga clothing. The chic and stylish designs are worn by many from the studios to the streets.
Christina welcomed these dynamic, fierce and successful ladies to the stage. We had a beautiful setting at The Glasshouses. I felt we were at home in someone's living room with the soft blue decorative couch and decor from Designer 8.
The ladies came from various backgrounds and some envisioned their paths- some changed career paths along the way. One thing is clear from all of them. They are always busy! Marcy said someone advised her to "do what you are good at" which resonates with me quite well. When you are good at something, obviously you do it well, to me that is one of the best confidence boosters ever. That feeling of accomplishment...hire people for those things that are not your forte. She's right!! Marcy also said something very profound. "There is no reality, it is your map of reality" So true and thanks Marcy, I must remind myself this all the time! She said "You can change how you look at things with your own attitude." Hard to do at times but crucial to stay calm and positive.
Susan, who writes a monthly column at Astrology Zone, and always has her pulse on the "year ahead" said she doesn't really believe in work/life balance. She is very goal oriented and she is a mom of 2 girls like myself. She said something that resonated with me quite a bit- "there are chunks of your life that you balance different ways at different times. " I DO understand that. When my kids were young I would drive carpools, give baths, read nighttime stories and then start baking from 8pm until 2am! That is not exactly balance but it was what it was at the time. I prioritized my kids schedule then and slowly built the catering business at an expense to my career but it was what life called for at the time. Now that we both have grown kids priorities definitely have changed. Susan said something very prolific as well....She said "there is always one person who believed in you before you believed in yourself". Even if you don't know who it is in your own life, just hold that bit of advice close to heart. It's the truth and it will definitely encourage you in times of doubt!:)
Alissa admitted she is always busy. Even laying on the beach she will have a phone and computer with her at the same time. She has taken to taking the day off Saturdays tho and spending time with family. That's a bit of a balance there. Time on, time off if you ask me. In a successful business there are no "closing hours" that is obvious from my own experience and hearing from these ladies. She does find balance by helping others. Besides being CEO of Phat Buddha and running day to day operations she does regular yoga and meditaiton classes. She finds a way to create balance and build self esteem for herself and others by doing something for someone else each and every day. Once very down in the dumps, I was talking to a friend about "I'm just not sure what to do, blah blah blah" and she advised me..."when you are not sure what to do with yourself, do something for someone else". It was great advice.
Also, just a reminder as Marcy put it- reality is sometimes our own vision, not necessarily the real reality. She reiterated what I have known for years...the store doesn't close at 6pm. I realized that a long time ago. To really do our jobs A1, be at the top of your game you can't really "clock out- there is no quitting time". She mentioned how if there are 4,000 emails and you ignore all of them its more stressful than reading maybe 3,000!!@#:) There is more stress in 4,000 unanswered to be addressed. I follow in Marcy's recommendations...."prioritize. There are things that have to be done immediately for pending events, in our cases, there are things that can wait when the event is more than a year away. She does go to regular gym classes. I think that is sage advice- walk away from your desk, whether it be yoga, gym, meditation, juice in the park or a chocolate bar if thats what you need. Whatever it takes...if you are not a brain surgeon in the middle of surgery then it really is in (almost) all instances ok to give yourself a few minutes. I think it clears your mind and refreshes you. We all need to reboot and restore at some point!
Christine's journey led her from the "worst job of her life" to the "best job of her life". The person who believed in her and guided her was her own husband. He told her to just do what would bring her happiness, if it meant quitting her job, he was behind her and encouraged her. Her love of design and creativity led her to start Red Bliss design 18 years ago. Christine has created a wonderful balance by splitting her time between her design studio and home in New Hampshire and her showroom in New York City.
Alissa said the most pivotal point in her life came when at her first yoga session a teacher said to her " if you could only see yourself as others see you then you will succeed and love yourself and create an even bigger impact to help and empower others." What sage advice and how very inspirational is that??!!
Christine said it was a pivotal decision to stay in New Hampshire and not the the rat race of New York City. She creates a balance this way. She says "how you want to spend your time is and the life you build for yourself is ultimately what is going to make you happy". "If you can create happiness and build a lifestyle you enjoy it will ultimately define your happiness and successes." Christine, Thank you! Words to live by!!
So let me just tell you what I think....Well first and foremost the ladies are amazing!!
I really do feel a bit more grounded and empowered knowing that the balance does come with a bit of juggle for others as well. Balance is just that - some day the bridge is wide and sturdy and well, lets juts face it some days I feel like I'm walking a tightrope. I have finally accepted there are both and it's ok. I just know I can't wear high heels on the tightrope, there are other times for those.:)
Many thank to everyone for sharing their time, insight and valuable advice with me and all our guests!