So, one of the extreme pleasures of maintaining a blog is that I can hide behind the relative anonymity of my computer and hurl criticism, insults, and snark at people whom I’ve never met. Some of the people have it coming. Others probably don’t. The target currently in my sights probably doesn’t; she’s likely a pretty impressive woman. But she’s rubbing me the wrong way. At least, she is the way she’s presenting herself here. On GOOP, Gwyneth Paltrow’s whatever the hell it is. Lifestyle blog? I really don’t know.
In today’s issue of GOOP, venture capitalist Juliet de Baubigny tells us how she manages to pack an absurd amount of awesome into each and every day. Before we get to that, though, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself, Ms. de Baubigny?
I am a Partner at Kleiner Perkins, Caufield & Byers, a venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, California. I balance this with my work as a board member of Product (RED), the organization started by Bono and Bobby Shriver to help fight HIV/AIDs in women and children in sub-Saharan Africa. I’m also on the board of Trustees of the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco and actively involved in the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, California. Needless to say, I lead a busy life.
In other words, “I’m AWESOME.” And no, I’m not just sitting here in my pajamas at 6p.m. having only left my apartment once today (to procure coffee) hating on a woman whose life is more interesting and accomplished than my own. I’m saying there are ways to toot your horn without ticking everybody off. Dashing off your list of accomplishments while name-dropping Bono and tying it all up in a “Needless to say, I lead a busy life” bow ain’t the way to do that.
But let’s move on. Tell us, Ms. de Baubigny, how do you start your day? Wait. Really? Do we really need to ask this question? How do you think she starts her day? She gets up with the roosters and works out, of course. That’s what these people do.
I try to seize “Juliet time” first thing in the morning. I get up between 5:30am – 6am and quickly scan my email. Then my priority is exercise … I’ve found that having a trainer come to my house on a Monday really motivates me—she’s knocking at the front door so going back to sleep is NOT an option.
“Oh, and did I mention I’m fabulously wealthy?” Because only the fabulously wealthy do that sort of thing: Talk about really expensive shit like it’s something everybody could afford. Have trouble getting your lazy ass out of bed in the morning? Just hire a trainer! And not just any trainer, but one who comes to your house! Which is apparently big enough to work out in.
On cardio days, I use the elliptical or spin bike for 30 minutes (including lots of sprints). I bring my iPad and use the Flipboard app to curate my social media (Facebook, Twitter and categories that are important to me: business, technology, style, design, fashion). The iPad is a lifesaver for me: in 30 minutes, I have read everything that I need to start my day!
First of all, I hate people who say “cardio days.” Hell, I hate people who say “cardio.” It sounds clueless and douche-y. Secondly, of course she “curates” her social media. She probably also has a “well-edited” closet. Give me a break: You screw around on Facebook just like the rest of us. Get over yourself.
Let’s move on to the most important meal of the day:
Breakfast: super important and always super-rushed with the pressure of everyone being out of the door at 7:45am. I really make a point of sitting down with my children—even if it’s for 15 minutes. A great time saver is to make steel cut oatmeal, put it in a ceramic bread loaf pan and slice it each morning, add a drizzle of maple syrup, milk and 45 seconds in the microwave—healthy breakfast in seconds and I can make it last over 3-4 days!
I’ll tell you what’s an actual time saver, lady: Clif Bars. What you just described is only a time saver if you typically whip up entire breakfast buffets. It involves forethought and dirty dishes. Also, you’re way too excited about it: “I can make it last over 3-4 days!” In my head, I hear her saying that with a lot more exclamation points.
Hair: A great time saver is to have a weekly blow out. This means that you don’t need to wash your hair each day—the time that you save with a blow out can save you minutes in the morning.
Weekly blow-outs are something I’ve never understood. I mean, if you’re my grandma, and you get your hair set every couple weeks or whatever grandmas do, then fine. I’m sure it will make perfect sense when I’m 70. But this is a woman who works out daily. Including 30 minutes of cardio (with lots of sprints) (while curating her social media on her iPad). How is her hair not just completely foul by the end of the week?
Makeup: I was given an amazing present of a makeup lesson with Wallet Lubrich. She taught me how to do my daily makeup in 5 minutes. No joke, I can dress, do my make up and be out the door in 15 minutes.
“No joke, I really am that awesome. And so is my makeup artist. Wallet.”
At any rate, next we hear about her jam-packed work days, facilitated by her “amazing assistant (Thank you Diane!).” And her weekends, during which she “carves out key moments to do emails and return calls.” (She says that like it’s something strategic and exciting, rather than the soul-sucking, life-shortening experience we all know it is in reality.) And Sunday dinners, which are day-long rituals that begin with trips to the farmer’s market. Because of course she goes to the farmers market. And of course she has to point that out to us.
Your life sounds pretty fucking aspirational, Ms. de Baubigny. Deign to share a few tips on how us mere mortals might so much as even attempt to trek to the base camp of your Everest of awesomeness?? Of course you would:
My great friend, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook…
Pardon me for interrupting, Ms. de Baubigny. Readers, super secret tip #1 is “Introduce all your friends by their professional accomplishments.” If they’ve done amazing things, you’ll bask in the glow of their awesomeness: “This is my friend Maryclare. She’s a former helicopter pilot with the U.S. Army who served in Iraq and then got her MBA from Harvard Business School.” If they’ve been sucking up the planet, you’ll look like the fucking Human of the Year by comparison. “This is my acquaintance, Ted. Are we acquaintances, Ted? I don’t know. We grew up in the same neighborhood. Anyway. Ted never really launched. He went to community college, and he lives in his parents’ basement. Sometimes he sells baseball cards on eBay.”
Where were we, though? Right. The blueprint to awesomeness! And the COO of Facebook!
Tip #1: Make lots of Excel spreadsheets!!!
My great friend, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, shared with me a great tip … create key spreadsheets to help manage your home life; for example, travel check list … 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.
Tip #2: Take random shitty potshots at your husband!!! In what’s been a very long post that has referenced her children many, many times, this comment below is the first we hear of her husband:
Do not try to give a list to your husband, the reaction is not quite so positive!
That’s lovely. She plays Super Woman, and casts him as a lazy schlub who can’t handle a list.
Tip #3: Lose all sense of spontaneity!!!
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 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.
And thus, an entirely here-to-fore unknown level of Type A behavior is revealed to me.
Tip #4: Replace enjoyment with efficiency whenever possible!!!
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.
Tip #5: Name-dropping is an excellent tool for letting people know you’re awesome!!!
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.
N.B.: She actually said that. “I really need girlfriends. Girlfriends are the ones who give you great time-saving tips.” You can’t make this shit up.
I try to organize a girls’ night once a quarter and do something really fun together. 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!
I like how she tosses out that last part. It’s as if she suddenly remembered that the people who read Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle blog probably aren’t the people who lead Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle. So until you’ve got the money and connections to invite Jon Bon Jovi over for your own private concert with your girlfriends, you know, you can just have a potluck with wine. That’s fun, too. It’s okay. Every night doesn’t have to be the best night ever.
Pretty spectacular, eh? If I may share a tip for this woman, though, and perhaps the people at GOOP, as well: One place where time is well-spent is proofreading. Or absent that, one place where money is well-spent is on a proofreader. Because, holy crap.