We LOVE Boston.
It’s like a set of a New England town, but I guess that’s because it actually is a New England town.
Coming from the Mid-West, New York is as close to New England as I’ve ever been and that was originally settled by the Dutch. I’ve always had these ideas of New England towns in my head…so Boston is that idea realized. Why I’ve lived in NYC for 13 years and never bothered to travel to Boston is beyond me. It’s fantastic. Michael’s here with Les Miserables, for 3 weeks, so we thought, let’s go visit him! A quick hop down to Penn Station, a jump onto the Acela and three hours later we were here.
What we’ve discovered so far is that we love it.
First of all, it’s spring. So that’s nice. The weather is in the 70s which is perfect for a walking town. Michael doesn’t have to be to rehearsal until 1 so our mornings have been spent in the hotel room having coffee, doing yoga, playing with the baby and eating our first breakfast. Then we head out to the Boston Common for a walk and second breakfast.
The Boston Common is officially the country’s first public park (some argue, the world’s first public park). It was purchased by the Puritans in the 1600s for $150.00 from Boston’s first European settler. All kinds of crazy things have happened here…cow grazing, witch trials, speeches by Martin Luther King, hangings, riots and concerts by Judy Garland. The list goes on.
All we do is play in the Tadpole playground.
Once we send Michael to work around 1230, the baby and I go on adventures and/or nap.
Our first big adventure was Charles Street. This is an adorable street that sends you right up along Beacon Hill. Beacon Hill is a very old/very elite part of town where the likes of John Hancock lived (presently John Kerry lives here) and lots of other Boston society types. It’s simply charming. There are narrow, tree lined streets with gas burning street lamps and rows of brownstones and town houses. Charles Street, named after King Charles of England, houses little shops and hotels and places to eat.
What we fell in love with on Charles Street:
It is Easter time, the greatest time of year for darling, little chocolates and Beacon Hill Chocolates had a HUGE assortment of handmade goodies. G picked out a cute little bunny head on a stick.
This frame shop/gallery has a show going on by Andrew Woodward of the fifty state animals.
They were selling prints and I thought it would be fun to get one for Gray, but the New York State animal is the beaver…
He’s cute and everything, but we decided we liked Massachusetts’ little Boston Terrier better!
We popped in here just to get a brochure. How could we not when they have an Edith Wharton room?
We also went to check out this hotel which used to be a jail. (!) It’s run by Starwood now, a purveyor of high end hotels and is really beautiful inside, but there’s something…well…pretty creepy about it! Jail doesn’t conjure up the most romantic of images…who’s with me?
My other favorite little shop for gifts and goodies was this place, Black Ink, loaded floor to ceiling with fun little treasures. I found these great Crumpled City Jr. maps from Palomar, which I’m sure are old news, but not to me!
They are spill proof, tear proof and awesome. Their maps for kids are colorful and bright and point out a lot of good spots for kids to go. I grabbed the NYC one for the little man…because why not?
They make a handful of maps for kids…
and have grown up versions too…
More Boston to come…
In a cheap attempt to post Wednesdays and Sundays, I’ve rustled up some time management tips from some more fancy people. And just like Tom Ford, I know these 2 particular women have a lot of other people helping them out with their lives, but that’s not what I’m looking at. I’m looking at how they manage their time, and believe it or not, it’s helped me come up with a few good ideas and tricks to maybe hold myself a little more accountable in the time management department.
(I know, I know. Gwyneth Paltrow drives a lot of people nutty. I get it. She lives a pretty rarefied life, but her blog Goop has brought a lot of nice things (mainly food) into my little family’s life and I appreciate the fact that she’s taken the time to share at all. It seems, at least it did in the beginning, very inspired).
Gwyneth’s time saving tips:
- Schedule your time well. When I know what I am doing from hour to hour I get more done. Write it all in the day’s calendar, what you want to accomplish and in what time frame.
- Focus on the task at hand. Be thorough.
- I cook a lot, especially on the weekends, so I like to plan a rough menu for the whole weekend and get the food in on Friday. Obviously stores and websites that deliver make this a dream. In London I use Ocado. Also James Knight, my favorite fishmonger, will deliver. Having all of the ingredients means I’m prepared even when I don’t think I am.
- I always lay the kids uniforms and school things out the night before once they are asleep. When it’s quiet I can check the “kid list” for show and tell items to bring in, consent forms, ballet kit, etc, so that the morning is less of a scramble.
- The school run is a great time to return calls (in whichever direction that the kids are not in the car) so don’t forget your hands-free device.
To see the entire post you can click here.
Next from the same post are some tips from a venture capitalist. Yes, it’s a bit manic, but there are a few really great tips in here that anyone can probably fit into their lives…even if they don’t use excel or have a personal assistant or are dear friends with the COO of Facebook.
Juliet’s top 10 time savers:
- The power of the list: My great friend, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, shared with me a great tip, when we were both on maternity leave after the birth of our first child, to create key spreadsheets to help manage your home life; for example, travel check list (clothes, toys that each family member needs to bring with them for travel. Believe me, my children are very grateful after I managed to forget their underwear on two consecutive family holidays!). I also find it invaluable when I’m packing for a business trip at midnight! Other lists include grocery staples, birthday lists, monthly household task lists. I file them all in a binder and keep in the kitchen where anyone can access them. It saves a ton of time and money. Note—do not try to give a list to your husband, the reaction is not quite so positive!
- Aggregate all your medical appointments: Another time saver is to try to do all your standard appointments on one day or one afternoon. For example, September is back-to-school time for us all and I plan an afternoon to take my children to the doctor, dentist, and hair. I do the same for myself in January. That way, I can get it all out of the way in one afternoon and ensure that the appointments really happen!
- Plan ahead for birthdays, holidays: I’m afraid that I’m one of those people that
really does try to plan ahead. It saves me from too many moments of last-minute panic! I sit down in October and pull together my gift list for the holidays. I buy hostess gifts and presents for the children’s teachers well ahead of time. I love One Kings Lane so much that I got Kleiner Perkins, Caulfield & Byers to invest in it. It’s my main stop for beautiful products for the home and have my wish list throughout the year that I can stockpile. Use this time as a moment to support initiatives or causes that are important to you. For me, I buy products from Product (RED) like Starbucks gift cards, Caroline Bucci bracelets, Nike laces, and Apple Nanos. My other great gift is a donation in someone’s’ name to Donors Choose—all the monies go to a wish list of teachers in public schools. I keep the gifts in transparent plastic tubs and then wrap in groupings, tagged with a sticky label that indicates the content of the gift. I have an accordion file that is filled with birthday cards labeled by category: child birthday, adult birthday, Valentines Day, Halloween etc. That way, I can always have a card at the ready to send.
- Condense your appointments: find a great salon that understands time pressure and can accommodate your schedule. I have a great salon near me that I can go to at the end of the day to have a facial, manicure and pedicure at the same time. I’m in and out in 70 minutes. Not relaxing but efficient. Same for other appointments. I have acupuncture at 9.30pm at night. It’s a wonderful end of the day.
- Shop for clothes at key moments during the year: While some of my friends maybe surprised at this, I cannot stand to shop. I don’t like it, I don’t have the patience for it and it’s not fun. But, I love clothes and fashion so it’s a problem. My solution: make a wish list at key moments in the year—mine are fall and spring. I plan my key pieces, order, and then I can forget about it for 6 months. Also, find a great alteration person. Twice a year, I meet with her, review my clothes, sort out my closet, plan key looks for travel, weekend, evenings, and holiday. That way, I can dress, pack and travel in seconds. It’s worth the investment of time upfront.
- Curate your own web: find a list of sites that really help your life. For me, it’s Net-A-Porter and Kirna Zabete for all my shopping, ideas on how to style clothes and hours of fun. Note, try to avoid shopping when your husband is looking over your shoulder—”you are not really going to check out all of those clothes in your basket, are you?” Amazon.com—for everything from books, beauty products, night diapers, to household products—love, love Amazon Prime! Zappos for all my childrens’ shoes. Zazzle—for great t-shirts for kids’ sports teams, stamps for holidays and cool customized products. Vivre for amazing gifts for friends, and my husband. GOOP, which is my digital “girlfriend,” and covers all of my lifestyle needs. Indagare for travel, Chasing Fireflies for childrens’ Halloween costumes, Oriental Trading Company for childrens’ parties, Crew Cuts and Papo d’Anjo for my childrens’ clothes.
- “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”: One of my partners gave me a great tip for time management. At the end of each week, I review my calendar and look at the following categories: Work: did I spend my time in the right places, right meetings, impacting the highest upside situations? Home: did I have dinner with my children at least 3 times during the week? Did I read to them at least 5 times in a seven day period? My Husband: Did we have at least one dinner on our own or with great friends? Did we find time to take a walk/run/bike ride together? Monthly: did I see my girlfriends for dinner? Daily: having a really good laugh about something!
- Bring your notebook everywhere: I have a black Moleskin notebook that I bring to each meeting. At the end of the day I go through it with a highlighter and mark open action items. Some get transferred onto my outlook task list. Most I try to get done at the end of each day.
- Adapt to what works for you: I work full-time, so I can’t attend the afterschool classes or as many moments in the classroom as I would like to, but I still want to be involved. So I organize one or two key moments during the school year to have the class over for a project—that way my children see me interacting as “Mummy” and I can connect with their friends and mothers. Things that worked for us: co-hosting a Valentine’s party for the girls in my daughter’s class, doing a Halloween cookie decorating party with my son’s preschool class.
- Get your girlfriends together: I can’t see my girlfriends as much as I would like and I really need that girl time. Also, your girlfriends are the ones that give you great timesaving tips, keep you grounded and make you laugh. I try to organize a girls’ night once a quarter and do something really fun together. It’s also a great way to introduce amazing women. For example, my friend Olivia Chantecaille came to visit and we had a makeup party—lots of champagne, makeup lessons and laughs. I did the same for Philip Lim and had a trunk show with my friends. But often we’ll just have a potluck supper and a glass of wine. Nothing fancy but super fun!
Things that make my life really amazing:
- Hike in the Redwoods with my family on the weekends.
- Find a great TV show to watch with your husband—for us, Mad Men on Sunday night
- Go to a concert/art exhibition regularly—went to see Sheryl Crow with a girlfriend last night—she rocked! I’m excited to see the opening of the new Impressionist show at the de Young Museum in San Francisco on September 25th.
- Discover and find what inspires and grounds you. For me, the work of the ONE campaign and Product (RED) has given me such an inspirational education in the work of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.
- Taking the time to give big, long hugs to each member of your family each day and tell them how much you love them.
- Getting 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night!
Number 6. getting 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night is my first task to tackle!
Now that we are no longer homeless, I’m finding it difficult to stay on any sort of schedule.
While being transient was certainly stressful, it had it’s advantages. For example, when you stay in hotels and other people’s homes there is a certain foundation of home life you don’t really have to worry about (like cleaning out the fridge, or waiting for the cable guy or reorganizing your closets). Now that I have my own home again after such a long time, it’s actually a bit difficult for me to keep up with what it takes to run it. Being displaced made me soft! Not to mention the counter-intuitive fact that sometimes the more time you have, the less time you have. You know what I mean right? I’ve always worked and have had lots of places to go, things to do, people to see. Now…my life is so calm, it’s stressing me out! I suppose that’s for me to sort out with a therapist one day, but for now I’ll get to where I’m going with this.
I’m experiencing schedule envy.
Here’s how it happened:
- we settled into a great apartment
- I work part-time, about 4 days a week for 3 hours or so
- the rest of the time I’m home with my toddler while my husband travels for work
I found this to be a VERY exciting prospect when it was first presented to me, a complete step up from the insanity of last year, but now I find, I need more structure than this! I only have myself to answer to in terms of what I’m doing with my time and I often find it hard, on my own, to really be disciplined enough to get everything done that needs to be done. What ends up happening is that I’ll give myself an hour to do something and 3 hours later my mind has wandered onto something else. I will have completely reorganized a closet, or created an exhaustive list of preschool possibilities, or baked a cake. But then what I didn’t do was my taxes, or the laundry or make that trip to the grocery store. And now I don’t feel like going to the grocery store anymore—and no one will know but me.
See what I mean? I need a way to be accountable to myself. (I’m totally accountable to my son ps—don’t worry about that for a second—if anything, I’m too available to him.) I need what the French call, a cadre, or frame.
Maybe I’m being a little hard on myself, but when I have this kind of time spillage, even if it’s productive, it doesn’t feel good. When I have a day that stays on track, that accomplishes the goals I set for it, it feels great. It really does. So I’m collecting strategies for how to make this happen in my life.
It had me drooling with schedule envy. I thought…I can do this too. Just because a tornado in my bedroom wouldn’t wake me up at 430am and I don’t have a driver or a trainer or a bathtub that draws me to it four times a day, doesn’t mean I can’t find other ways to be held accountable.
Mr. Ford’s Schedule:
4:30 A.M. I never really sleep much and often start my day at this time. When I am very lucky and sleep through the night, I might get up at 7:00, but that is rare. The first thing I do when I get out of bed is weigh myself. I do this every morning, and if I have gained more than two or three pounds, I try to eat fruit and vegetables exclusively for a couple of days until my weight is back to my ideal. I make myself a tall glass of iced espresso (I don’t like warm drinks), get into a hot bath, and slowly sip my drink as I come to life. Often I lie in the tub for a half hour and just let my mind wander. I find a bath meditative and usually prepare myself for the day in this manner. Once out of the tub, I throw on my gym clothes.
8:00 A.M. Typically, I answer my e-mails. On average, I get about 100 per day. Then I do a bit of work before working out with my trainer at 8:00. The home page on my computer is set to the Daily Beast Cheat Sheet, an excellent summary of the news of the day from different publications around the world. I work out at a gym at home with Pilates equipment, cardio equipment, and free weights. I usually do about 30 to 45 minutes of cardio and then a half hour of crunches, push-ups, stretching, and other exercises using my own body weight, as I can tend to bulk up quickly if I use weights more than occasionally.
9:15 A.M. After working out, I have a breakfast of whole-grain muesli or bran cereal, half a banana, and several slices of pineapple. Then I take another bath, this time with soap, and wash my hair. Naturally, I use my own beauty products; I wash my face with either my cream cleanser if my skin feels dry or gel cleanser if my skin feels particularly oily. I then trim my beard and brush my hair into place. I use my daily moisturizer and take my small makeup brushes to touch up any skin blemishes or dark circles with stick foundation (color no. 7). I put on my “uniform”: a white shirt, a dark tie, a gold collar pin, a black or dark-gray single-breasted peaked-lapel suit, and black cap-toed shoes. I wear a variation of this look every day that I am in a city. (My other uniforms are for Santa Fe, Mustique, or a ski resort.)
I carry my computer and other work to the office in one of my black leather bags. Because I rarely walk in London, I never wear a coat. Actually, I tend to walk much more in New York. In L.A. and Santa Fe, I drive. I have a driver in London because I am slightly dyslexic and cannot drive in the U.K.; after all, the traffic runs the opposite way to that in the United States. An International Herald Tribune is always waiting for me; I find it the perfect newspaper for me, quite condensed with a quick global perspective on the news. Reading, or skimming, the paper usually takes me precisely the same time that it takes for me to get from my house to my office. I don’t carry a phone with me because I hate talking on the phone and especially hate talking on cell phones. I do have an iPhone, but I use it primarily for music and as a camera. In an emergency, of course, I use it as a phone. I am not really even sure what my number is. I have an iPad but use it just for reading books or screenplays, and I carry my MacBook Air with me everywhere.
10:00 A.M. I usually arrive at the office by 10:00. I have a weakness for doughnuts and often completely ruin my diet by eating a doughnut or two when I arrive.
As president and CEO of the company, I spend a good bit of my day in business and design meetings. These might be women’s ready-to-wear fittings, men’s fittings, handbag-prototype reviews, footwear fittings, jewelry-design meetings, cosmetics meetings, or eyewear meetings. I tend to work on several different product categories on the same day. My executive team is scattered around the world, in London, New York, Los Angeles, Milan, Florence, Hong Kong, and Tokyo offices. Consequently, our meetings are often via Skype.
1:00 P.M. I hate going out for lunch during a workday because it slows down my pace and ruins my rhythm. I prefer to eat at my desk. Actually, I wander around the design studio with a plate in my hand as I dine on, for example, salmon sashimi and a salad of tomatoes and mozzarella. I often have a bit of dark chocolate after lunch.
6:00 P.M. Most nights, I work at the office until anytime between 6:00 and 8:00, depending on whether or not I have to go out to dinner. If I do have to go out at night, which I do about four nights a week, I try to take a 45-minute nap, have another hot bath, and put on a clean shirt.
8:00 P.M. I am not someone who likes cocktail parties or large dinner parties, but I have to attend them often. I much prefer very small dinners with close friends. I eat at the same restaurants in London most nights: Scott’s, No. 35, J. Sheekey, Mark’s Club, Harry’s Bar, or Cut at 45 Park Lane. If I am meeting someone for drinks first, I always like to go to the Fumoir at Claridge’s. My favorite evenings are actually spent at home. Richard [Buckley, Ford's partner of 25 years] is a great cook, and I love dinner in the kitchen with just the two of us and the dogs.
10:30 P.M. When we come home from a night out, Richard and I walk the dogs around Grosvenor Square and then head up to bed. Believe it or not, I usually take another hot bath and wash my face. Then we watch a bit of television (usually things we have recorded) or read and go to sleep. I don’t wear anything in bed. In fact, I rarely wear clothes at all when I am at home.
MIDNIGHT I am usually in bed and with any luck will get a few hours of sleep!
While Michael was in Tampa in February, he stayed in a private house that was halfway between Tampa and Orlando. We decided to join him last minute because he couldn’t stand being away from his family a minute longer. Aw. The house was terrific. Classic Florida. I loved it. It brought me right back to my tweens.
Les Miz was playing in Tampa at a lovely theatre right behind what’s known as the riverwalk. So we drove into work with him one day and took the little man on the riverwalk and to their fantastic Glazer Children’s Museum.
located right behind the theatre. I hate to say it…but that museum leaves the Children’s Museum of Manhattan in the dust. Just look at the fountain that welcomes you…
It cost $15 dollars and has 8 million things to do. We were there for AGES. I decided just to add links of all the different exhibits because why not? Have fun checking them out.
- Airplane Travel
- Art Smart was the place we stayed the longest. There were all kinds of creative (non-messy) ways for kids to enjoy creating.
- Central Bank
- Cruise Ship
- Design + Build was so much fun. For younger kids, just the idea of building of something on their own was exciting, but older kids could learn about the science behind the construction.
- Get Moving —when we were there this was a simulated dance floor that had G dancing to MC Hammer and Thriller. All the kids were SOOOO serious about it.
- Engineers Workshop
- Fire House
- Publix Super Market — brilliant. It had everything. Shopping carts, veggies, baked goods, seafood and meat counter, frozen food aisle.
- Outback Steakhouse Cafe
- Kids Network Michael and G ala Anderson Cooper broadcast a hurricane coming in from the South via green screen.
- My House, Your House
- Tug Boat Tots
- Vet Clinic
- Water`s Journey —this thing was so great. I was so sad that G wasn’t old enough to go on it. Look how amazing it is!
There were also great reading and resting nooks, equipped with bean bags and books.
On Michael’s day off we decided, ‘When in Rome’ and high-tailed it to Walt Disney World. We knew the baby was really too young to fully enjoy it, but we did it anyway.
And we were surprised to discover that G was right on board with the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House, The Carousel (of course) and It’s A Small World (which they have really spruced up since I was there—20 years ago).
But what surprised us the most was how much he enjoyed the Haunted Mansion. He LOVED it. I don’t think he’s old enough to be scared of it yet, he just pulled that sort of contemplative face he gets sometimes…you know the one.
We left only after about 3 hours because Grandpa Michael couldn’t take it anymore…and that’s ok…because it was hot and crowded and Downtown Disney yielded just as much fun. Downtown Disney is open to the public, I guess. It’s a complex of shops and restaurants and I saw on-line the night before that this dinosaur themed restaurant was given high marks by reviewers.
I was a little leery, but I must say they spared no expense with their recreated dinos. Most of them were life-sized and every once in awhile one would roar and G would say…’oh no.’ They had several different dining areas and we were fortunate enough to get to sit in the ‘ice age’ which was a big blue cave with frozen dino bones in it. Every once in awhile our section would experience a ‘meteor shower’ and the blue cave would make a really loud thunder-ish noise that you couldn’t hear anything else above, then the room would flash orange and yellow. It was quite the atmosphere to enjoy a (really outrageously priced, but surprisingly delicious) goat cheese salad.
After lunch we wandered into the other rooms like this paleo-octopus bar—
and private group table with a big jelly fish hanging over it—
excavate dino bones with a little brush. See the family photos here. We really enjoyed ourselves. There was even a BabyCakes bakery next to the Lego Land. Go Erin McKenna! She’s the founder of BabyCakes NYC, and creates vegan, wheat free, gluten free treats. I love to see the lady entrepreneurs expand. I went down to her shop on the Lower East Side when G was still really little and she was there. She chatted with me about the baby and I kind of felt a little star struck because I’m so impressed with her creativity and diligence. I have sort of a small business crush on her!
We ended the day at Lego Land. I think that is just a great place to end any day when you have a little boy. Especially when they have a giant dragon made entirely of Lego in the water at the front entrance.