Femininity

Last night our founder had the absolute pleasure of seeing War Paint on Broadway with a fellow female entrepreneur.  To those unfamiliar, it’s the story of a rivalry between two #GirlsWithGuts: powerful, successful, ferociously competitive women, locked in an unrelenting rivalry and played by actresses who are two time Tony Award winners: Helena Rubinstein (played by Patti LuPone) and Elizabeth Arden (played by Christine Ebersole).

The musical shows what these women sacrificed in order to succeed, how both women were masters of self-invention who sacrificed everything to become the country’s first major female entrepreneurs, all by creating a movement that both empowers and enslaves other women.

Helena truly started from nothing, created everything from the first moisturizing cream to the first beauty treatment involving electricity to the first pure Vitamin C based treatment and built an empire which continues to this day within L’Oreal.  A legendary innovator and a tireless entrepreneur, Miss Elizabeth Arden established the American beauty industry a century ago.  Born Florence Nightingale Graham, she traveled from rural Canada to New York City, where she opened the first Red Door salon on Fifth Avenue in 1910.  Arden was the first to introduce eye makeup to American women and pioneered the creation of the “makeover.”

There’s delicious bitchery and barbs aplenty, but the more indelible takeaway is the poignancy of all that these women had in common.  Both were self-invented immigrants — one from a Polish shtetl, the other a Canadian prairie — excluded from the ranks to which they catered. Both refused to share credit with men at a time when women were underrepresented in the business world. Both got rich by telling women what they wanted before they knew what that was. And both were ultimately undone by their refusal to embrace change.

Thankfully the musical depicted a rivalry so passionate that it compelled each woman to innovate and up her game rather than portraying it as a catfight . . . but it also left you feeling a bit distraught.  Here we are roughly 100 years later and women still struggle with whether they really can have it all.  What if these two women had collaborated, what could they have created; could they have achieved more with less sacrifice?

PC: Joan Marcus Christine Ebersole and Patti LuPone, center, and cast in War Paint

Fashion 

We’re proud to announce that Jamie Lewinger (of More Than Turquoise, also a “JLEW”) launched MTT ~ The Collections with FAB Native American jewelry this week.

We’ve been a fan of hers for a while, loving that she often shops local but enjoys traveling too.  On the blog, you’ll find fashion lifestyle and taste of New Mexico, with a dash of Jamie’s wonderful sense of humor thrown in. Her style is bold, colorful and glamorous although Jamie likes to joke that she is a “fashion spaz” because, “I’m kind of all over the place with my style. I like it all.”

It’s no wonder we here at JLEW are big fans!   Shop the jewelry here.

Fitness

We spoke with fitness expert Amanda Obregon (yoga instructor for our first event at the W Times Square) about the great strides women have made excelling in sports and breaking away from the limiting “social grips” placed on females.  Participation in sports is up: Before Title IX, one in 27 girls played sports. Today that number is two in five.   More realistic/less altered images of women in the media are appearing more frequently: As of this year, models in the EU are now required to have a medical certificate, valid for up to two years, confirming their general physical well-being and the fact they are not excessively underweight.  Commercial images of models that have been retouched must be designated as such.

The positive progress excites us but we know more needs to change so we asked about what fitness myths or body shaming fears she encounters among women and wants to debunk.

She shared that recently a client asked: “Is it true you should never grip your dumbbell because it is dangerous?”  “If I hold them without gripping and just keep my fingers extended and cradle the dumbbell in my palms without closing my thumb, will that really develop longer, leaner muscles?”

This 5’0″ curly haired firecracker almost exploded out of her seat aghast as she recalled the questions.  She wants fitness enthusiasts and newcomers alike to understand this advice is FALSE and irresponsible. There is not one shred of science to back up this “never grip myth.”  No professional coach would tell an athlete (female or male) that gripping in and of itself is dangerous.  Nor would a professional trainer encourage you to give anything less than your full potential.  Lifting more than 8 pounds will not make you look like an NFL quarterback but dropping one that heavy on your toe because you didn’t grip it could hurt indeed.  We could go on and on . . . but prefer to debunk the “never grip myth” once and for all using some real world examples.

You grip when you grasp a jar and open a lid . . . when you climb up a ladder . . . when you hammer a nail . . . when you hold a pot with a handle . . . any time you pick something up and hold onto it you grip.   There are many different grips: supinated, pronated, alternated, neutral and false.  They all have their moments to shine.

So don’t be afraid . . . get a grip!

Wonder Woman gripping her shield PC: Warner Bros.

Flair

Just for kicks, picture the reactions of Helena and Florence, upon reading the claims of these purported health and wellness experts and products.

Thanks for keeping it real High Snobiety.