Sundays with Kamala

July 21, 2019 | New York, NY

The only way, it seems, to make sense of anything these days is to accept the fact that nothing will ever really make 100% sense anymore. Things will always be just a little bit nuts. Human impact has made the Earth begin to wobble on its axis and in turn, we, too, are starting to act off-kilter.

It’s in times like these that we need people with conviction to lead us. People who’ll be the Trader Joe’s employees of our life paths, waving a bright green flag at the end of the line and telling us, “Here’s where you must stand! Here’s how you move forward.”

So today, we have Kamala Harris – senator, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, and Joyful Warrior – here to tell us how she uses Sundays to keep her life on track. Kamala’s got it down.

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Sunday morning, 6:00 AM: I open my eyes.

6:05 AM: I check in with myself. Life’s been dizzying lately. Need to think about who I am and who I aim to be. Am I a woman who collects lace Chuck Taylors? Yes. Am I a future president? Yes, if I have anything to say about it (and I do). Am I a writer? No, no, can’t go through that again. “The Truths We Hold” was hard enough.

6:07 AM: What was I thinking with that title? You can’t hold a truth. It’s not, like, a melon. It’s intangible. God, the one time I’m not literal.

6:08 AM: Truths, truths, truths…words sound funny when you say them over & over.

6:09 AM: Is this the real life, Kamala? Or is this just fantasy?

6:10 AM: Oh morning, Freddie. There’s a voice in my head that’s always speaking to me and it belongs to Freddie Mercury – another brown legend. My inner world is perfectly harmonized. As for the world outside me…

6:15 AM: To conquer the world, I must conquer my mind. And I am a shooting star leaping through the sky like a tiger. Defying the laws of gravity. I’m a racing car passing by like Lady Godiva. I’m gonna go go go. Sometimes I don’t know where my voice ends and Freddie’s begins. But I jump out of bed singing “Don’t Stop Me Now.” I think of my father saying, “Run Kamala, run!” when I was younger with the same amount of ambition. Yes! I run to the shower to begin the first day of the rest of my life.

9:30 AM: I stand at the kitchen counter feeling radiant, accomplished. 60-minute Soul Survivor workout? Check. Coffee brewed? Check. Almond milk poured into a bowl of Raisin Bran? Check. Kissed my husband good morning? Check. Now, some Me Time. Because too much love will kill you every time.

10:15 AM: I practice lightning round questioning in front of the mirror.

11:30 AM: Family dinner tonight – my favorite start to the week, a reminder that I’m in control of my life. Tonight, I’m making a multitude of pizzas. Pesto, Hawaiian, spicy Creole, a classic margherita. Our nation, it seems, is really just a bunch of unbaked pizzas. We’ve got all the ingredients, all the potential…but right now, everything’s kind of a mess because no one agrees on what constitutes a pizza.

“Our nation, it seems, is really just a bunch of unbaked pizzas. We’ve got all the ingredients, all the potential…but right now, everything’s kind of a mess because no one agrees on what constitutes a pizza.”

12:00 PM: One of my senior staffers calls to check in with updates and plan for the week ahead. I remind her that we are the dough of the pizza crust. We must always rise to the occasion. If we don’t, the pizza will not exist.

12:01 PM: She tells me I am 100% deserving of the Facebook group created in my honor “Slay, Kamala, Slay.”

12:30 PM: I knead the dough.

12:31 PM: We all need the dough, I realize, as I look out the window. People on the streets, people on the streets. It’s the terror of knowing what this world is about, watching some good friends screaming, “Let me out!”

12:45 PM: Pressure.

12:46 PM: Under pressure.

2:00 PM: News alerts pop up on my phone. There’ll be more debates soon. More scrutiny. No time for self-doubt now-

2:01 PM: What if I have to change my hairstyle? I love my hair.

2:02 PM: No, no, we’re better than this.

2:03 PM: What is ‘better’ though? What is ‘this’? Better yet, what is ‘is’?

2:04 PM: No, no – I am not going to be that president. No time for losers ‘cause we are the champions of the world. I am Kamoji, the animated superhero. I’ve been, in the words of one Barack Obama, “the best looking attorney general in the country.” I am mother freaking Momala, damnit.

“She tells me I am 100% deserving of the Facebook group created in my honor ‘Slay, Kamala, Slay.'”

3:00 PM: Pizza dough ready. Pesto made. Pineapples chopped. Andouille sausage sliced. Fresh basil acquired from local farmer’s market.

4:30 PM: I crochet a couple blankets for the chilly political cycle ahead. Along with mastering the art of a ferocious stare, I’ve also mastered needlepoint.

5:30 PM: Cory Booker sends me a supportive text.

6:00 PM: I curl up on the couch with a newly made blanket and a hot cup of chamomile tea, scrolling through Freddie Mercury’s greatest costume hits. God he really had that whole fiery statement jacket / shoulder pad thing down.

6:30 PM: What an icon.

6:31 PM: ‘Icon’ is just a letter away from I Can. I can win while inspiring young people to wear pearls. I can command respect on late night TV. Look how far I’ve come from being the ‘fun’ member of my college debate team.

6:45 PM: Anyway the wind blows, doesn’t really matter to me…to me. That’s not true Freddie, you sexy crooner. It all matters to me.

7:00 PM: My family calls. It’s time for dinner.

A New Hair-spective

A Letter from Soné | July 2019

When I was younger, the concept of survival seemed very important – what with all the teen movies about hot girls being mean to smart girls and the rampant myth of carrots causing cancer and the wars on terror and weapons that didn’t exist. So I carried around a copy of The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook to be prepared. At any given point in time, I knew how to escape quicksand, cure hay fever, wrestle free from an alligator, and spot someone with hiccups.

I knew it all.

Or, I thought I did.

One summer day, I walked out of my apartment and I noticed them: droplets of moisture hanging in the air waiting to attack my sense of self. My hair grew bigger and bigger and my hard-won confidence vanished. Ah, the unseen enemy: humidity.

For years after that, nothing struck more fear in my heart than a humid day. The ominous weather forecasts (91% humidity!). The fights with hair tools larger than my arm. The mascara running down my cheeks as I dramatically sobbed in front of the bathroom mirror.

And then a new book entered my life: Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. Suddenly, right in my tote, I had a military tactician whispering hauntingly strategic prose to me. Hope reappeared as I ventured out into the battlefield – nay, subway stations – of New York City.

I’m proud to say I’ve risen from the ashes of my blow dryer and conquered humidity once and for all. I’ve compiled some winning tips here to help you do the same. You can thank me later.

  1. Wear a bag over your head.

Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting,” Master Sun Tzu wrote. When you’ve got a bag over your head, there’s no fight – humid air will just waft on over to the oblivious well-coiffed person next to you. Not only will your hair stay intact, you’ll get extra protection from the sun and appear to be a purveyor of the latest trend, Trashy Chic. Win-win-win.

  1. Hydrate beyond your wildest dreams.

“Begin by seizing something which your opponent holds dear; then he will be amenable to your will.” Another gem. How much water do you drink on a daily basis? 6 cups? 8 cups? More than anything else in the world, humidity craves your dry locks.

Drinking 2 gallons of water a day will keep your hair hydrated and, as a perk, give your face that coveted fresh dewy look. Get your daily 2 gallons in and keep your hair yours.

Nothing struck more fear in my heart than a humid day. The ominous weather forecasts. The fights with hair tools larger than my arm. The mascara running down my cheeks as I dramatically sobbed in front of the bathroom mirror.

  1. Coat your hair in olive oil.

“The whole secret lies in confusing the enemy, so that he cannot fathom our real intent.” Don’t feel like peeing every 20 minutes after following the last tip? That makes sense. Next time you step out on a humid day, drench your hair in olive oil (known for creating a lustrous shine). Moisture particles will zoom towards your head and then bam – massive grease wall. Treat yourself and use the highest quality EVOO you can find.

  1. Leave town.

“The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.” I like this one because it echoes a key rule from the simple childhood game, Hide & Seek: If your enemy can’t find you, it can’t defeat you. Take a Mental Health day from work and flee the humidity for cooler climates.

  1. Give up. 

“There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare.” Proof that Sun Tzu was the wisest. It’s just hair. They’re dead hair cells. 7,200 seconds a day seems like a lot of time spent on fixing the part of ourselves that’s just trying to rest in peace. We could just throw it in a bun and get some ice-cream.

This one’s my favorite.

Until next time,

Soné

 

DevilDate

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Frigid winds. Vortexes. Rashy skin. Cuffing season’s in full swing, y’all.

But this year’s different. It’s a new year featuring a brand new you.

2019’s the year you’re gonna make it, right? You’ll conquer the world just by being yourself. You’re focusing on self-care, self-actualization, self-optimization. You’ve looked up what “glow up” means and you’re about to do it.

Sure, we’re 5 weeks into the year so you’ve probably had a few slip-ups. Everyone does. That’s what the whole failure leading to success thing means.

And it doesn’t help that life’s hard. Like, the other day when your coworker mentioned Valentine’s Day’s coming up and you stuffed your thoughts down with office birthday cake. And how’re you supposed to get anything done when it’s 6 degrees outside? Sometimes, quietly, under the covers, you think, maybe the stress of being your best and being alone are just too much.

Well, friend. Let me tell you about DevilDateTM.

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Download DevilDate from your phone’s App store for $16.66.

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Create your profile. Start by uploading a photo of yourself when you wake up in the morning. No filters, please.

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“I used to root for Wile.E.Coyote.” “Once, I replaced my ‘bff’s’ shampoo with Nair.” “Ugh I love telling people bad news, all that attention.” “I cheated on my ex for 2 years – she still doesn’t know.” “I don’t let people off the subway before I get on.”

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Blume for Boys

January 13, 2019 | New York, NY

My fourth grade teacher, Ms. Pialto, found me troublesome.

While the rest of class learned about the formation of sedimentary rocks, I spent all day reading books under my desk. I read Judy Blume’s “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing” and “Blubber” and “Fudge-a-Mania.” Preparing for new adventures – like puberty and breasts and following my imagination – felt way more important than dirt.

Ms. Pialto disagreed. “Soné, put the book away,” she’d say, with a mild eye roll.

And so I slouched further in my seat, out of sight. I soon begged my mother to let me wear my hair down, thinking, A) It’d make me prettier, and B) It’d help me hide my books. (Style always = utilization.)

But this bookish madness had a purpose. All I wanted was to spend time with Judy Blume. Judy understood me. She was always one step ahead. She had all the answers.

In the years since, neither of us, it seems, has changed. Blume celebrated her 80th birthday last year and to wrap up 2018, she wrote a new book: “Periodically Pissed.”

But wait. This one’s for men.

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It started with the words of Blume fan, singer-songwriter Amanda Palmer. “Women are currently scaring the bejesus out of people by doing something very non-dramatic and mundane: Telling It Like It is,” Palmer said last February.

New experiences are scary. They make us sweaty, nervous, unsure of what’s going to happen next. Everyone’s just too gosh darn exasperated with men lately. Maybe there are too many expectations, too many landmines, too many women saying, This isn’t the 60s anymore. We demand decency.

New experiences are scary. They make us sweaty, nervous, unsure of what’s going to happen next. Everyone’s just too gosh darn exasperated with men lately.

Who better than Judy Blume to gently guide the way for an entire gender?

It’s 2019 and women are taking ownership, not just over their bodies, but things like Congress too. And in a time brimming with uncertainty, Judy’s here to share some secrets into the unknown.

“My books have always been about the universal questions of adulthood and one question men always seem to have is: ‘Is she pissed or is she on her period?’” Blume said, sipping an iced tea on the porch of her Key West home, “It’s been a while since I wrote a banned book. It’s nice to live on the edge.”

My hero has done it again. She’s written another coming-of-age bible.

“Periodically Pissed” is a travel-sized guide. Chapters are short, with illustrations here and there, to help men better interact with women in the workplace, romantic relationships, and regular activities like grocery shopping. Emotions are separated by plastic tabs so that one can easily locate a Blumian explanation for them. See a woman crying? Flip to the Blue Tab. Screaming? That’s the Scarlet section. Is she no longer speaking to you? Go to Ivory.

It’s small but this paperback is chock-full of everyday scenarios that befuddle men. Judy’s voice is warm and cheerful throughout, like friendly gossip over blueberry muffins on a Saturday morning.

Oh, she marched out of that meeting when it ran 45 minutes over? Well, that’s understandable. And her voice shook when she stood up for that great idea no one liked? Mhmm. She ordered two baskets of fries at happy hour now, did she? Atrocious, but then again, all humans get hungry. And she sobbed uncontrollably at that video of a baby bonobo kissing a toddler? Okay, fine, that one’s probably her period.

Most explanations offer the same solution: “Treat her like a peer, anyway.”

“My books have always been about the universal questions of adulthood and one question men always seem to have is: ‘Is she pissed or is she on her period?’”

“This book, just like my past books, is an acknowledgement. It’s a way of saying, ‘I’m here. I understand. Life’s hard and all these women be so crazy,’” she mused.

And so, “Periodically Pissed” is for the everyman. It’s for the twenty-something with 2 female roommates, the men of Wall Street, the new CEO of that media corporation, the politicians in meetings with the Fab Four, or the respectful co-worker with a crush. It’s for highlighting and dog-earing and sharing over group texts.

It’s a secret asset detailing the world’s worst kept secret:

“Men don’t seem to have their s*** together. But a good book can help guide the way,” she said, and then paused, with a twinkle in her eye. “Then again, what do I know?”

“Periodically Pissed” is available at all stores with books. Get your copy today!

Keeping Up With Books

May 1, 2018 | Los Angeles, CA

Someone, somewhere on the Internet said one day, The devil works hard, but Kris Jenner works harder. The Internet, with all its tweeting minions, bowed solemnly to this truth. And in a Land Far Away & Far More Expensive, Kris Jenner heard this and smiled.

It’s been a crazy few days for the Kardashian family, what with one lover off on a Twitter spree, another blatantly cheating, tabloids circling the mess like hawks, and Kris Jenner – manager of America’s True First Family – doing damage control.

Otherwise known as “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”

But chaos on KUWTK means something new is on the way. Something shiny, something to be monetized. Something, perhaps, like books.
___

“It all started one afternoon this past December,” Kris told me at her Hidden Hills mansion, “[My daughters] Kim and Khloe called me into the kitchen and jokingly smashed a cake into my face. I was furious. What did I do to deserve that kind of disrespect?”

Reality TV hath no fury like a woman scorned – no less, by her own offspring. And so, Kris spent the next few months in deep thought. Somewhere in this sticky humiliation was an opportunity.

“The other night, I spoke with Khloe, who just gave birth to her daughter, True. I said, ‘Khloe, honey, this is the beginning of a beautiful new chapter for you.’ And it hit me,” Kris said, “A new chapter. Books!”

She took off her Céline glasses, clipping them to her leopard print dress.

“I wonder…if I’d pushed my daughters to read more, maybe they wouldn’t have grown up to waste perfectly good cake. Maybe I can help Khloe not get cake thrown in her face. What’s motherhood if you’re not passing down life’s lessons?”

Reality TV hath no fury like a woman scorned – no less, by her own offspring. Somewhere in this sticky humiliation was an opportunity.

Kris Jenner has, after all, taken motherhood to new levels. Over the past 10 years, she’s single handedly managed the careers of all 6 children in the Kardashian-Jenner clan. Their show, now in its 12th season, has paved the way for a QVC fashion line, tooth-whitening endorsements, makeup lines, multiple spinoffs, and an episode in which she considered being made into a diamond after her death. But something was always missing.

“This could be big. I’ve been researching, digging into some classics: Lolita, Little Women, Gone with the Wind, Pride and Prejudice,” she shuddered, “Oooh, that last one was titillating. There are entire worlds that don’t exist on television. Did you know that? Why aren’t we all reading more?”

And so, the matron of superficial beauty is on a mission to bring back books.

Except, they never went anywhere. They’ve been here all along, revered through the centuries. They win Pulitzers, appear in NYTimes Bestselling lists, get endorsed by Oprah – but nothing truly exists in culture until Kris Jenner takes an interest in it. Maybe, just maybe, books haven’t been managed correctly all these years. That’s all about to change.

“Books are fabulously understated,” Kris said, sipping a dry martini, “They don’t just go with your look, they elevate it. Just think – we could have a resurgence of literature with women at the forefront.”

6 particular women at the forefront, that is. With Kris’s business acumen, books will make their way to the Kardashian-Jenner brand – a brand with over 500 million followers who believe they’re just one lip kit, hair color, or boob job away from perfection.

The truth of the matter is that the right accessory can change a woman’s life. It allows her to express herself, it gives her a certain joie de vivre. While you can’t judge a book by its cover, you’ll probably judge a woman by the book she carries. Someone might as well make money off this fact. It might as well be Kris Jenner.

The right accessory can change a woman’s life. It allows her to express herself, it gives her a certain joie de vivre. While you can’t judge a book by its cover, you’ll probably judge a woman by the book she carries.

She knows this. Soon, fans will be taking Twitter surveys about their favorite books. Upcoming episodes of KUWTK will feature how to appropriately respond to a catcall over one’s “big books.” Designers are lined up for Books of the Week underpants. (Monday: “Eat, Pray, Love Me”; Tuesday: “This Ol’ Feminine Mystique”; and so forth). Kim Kardashian is developing an Old Book Scent (with hints of grass & vanilla) to add to her perfume line.

Later into our conversation, an assistant brought over a tray of oatmeal-raisin cookies. Kris waved it away – the tray was plastic. A few moments later, the cookies reappeared on an Hermès serving plate.

I asked Kris what success looks like for her new venture.

“I see a stylish young girl in a city somewhere. She understands that while looks matter, books matter more. She’s a trendsetter, she’s got all her friends reading. And when they achieve total global domination – which they will – they will be indebted to me,” Kris said, with a smile.

She took a bite of her cookie, looking into the distance.

“It’s all about creating opportunities. Where would my family be without me? Where would the world be without books?”

To think it all started with cake.

Sundays with Dominique

April 8, 2018 | New York, NY

One of my favorite things in life is a really great Sunday. Life throws a million things at us over the course of a week, but a great Sunday gives us the chance to breathe in and press “Reset.” We can try again. Do better. Be better.

It’s nice to know that the Romans were so optimistic for mankind, they allotted 52 days a year for us to just finish up brunch, open our planners, and course correct our lives. Sunday is the calendar gift that keeps on giving. Whether we wait for it or not, it’s always on its way – full of sunshine and possibility.

Today, Chef Dominique Ansel – creator of the globally acclaimed Cronut® – tells us about his Sunday routine:

Sunday morning, 5 AM: My wake-up call. I’ve always been an early riser.

5:01 AM: I lie in bed and think, “Dominique, what will you accomplish this week?” Then I remember I invented the Cronut. I’m already the World’s Best Pastry Chef. Nothing will top that, so I go back to sleep.

5:07 AM: It occurs to me that I run bakeries in New York City, London, Tokyo, and Los Angeles. I’m literally responsible for making the world happy.

5:10 AM: I get out of bed to floss.

5:30 AM: Sundays are all about rituals. After making a cup of fresh fruit juice, I settle in with a romantic comedy on Netflix. I once told the New York Times that I love romantic comedies – this is true. I have a lot in common with characters in rom-coms – we chase unrealistic highs in beautiful cities. While they chase love, I chase excellence. The ending always involves cake.

8:10 AM: “When Harry Met Sally” has ended. An empty kitchen faces me. I’d like to invent a dessert that makes women say, “I’ll have what she’s having.” What will it be?

8:30 AM: I read the newspaper to get ideas. At the height of my Cronut fame, one newspaper called me the ‘Willy Wonka of NYC.’ It was flattering, but I’m no Willy Wonka. I’m just a man in a kitchen innovating dessert.

8:45 AM: I feel terribly uninspired. Fame is a dark, twisted abyss that serves to torture gifted creative minds – particularly pastry chefs.

“I have a lot in common with characters in rom-coms – we chase unrealistic highs in beautiful cities. While they chase love, I chase excellence. The ending always involves cake.”

9 AM: I start whisking eggs with flour. I firmly believe in the Miracle of Whisking (though never Miracle Whip). It’s through the simple act of whisking that I came up with my Easter creation “Peep-a-Boo’s” – little marshmallow chicks surrounded by dark chocolate in real eggshells. Instagram loved them.

10:45 AM: Chefs at my restaurants around the world conduct their daily croissant tests. Alas, I can’t be Mark Darcy and love them just as they are. Our fluffy croissants must be 100% perfect.

11:30 AM: Still no new ideas.

1:30 PM: Still nothing. I remind myself that I am Dominique Ansel, creator of the world’s most wholesome shot (check out our signature Milk & Cookie Shot). People line up outside my bakery every morning because they love me.

1:45 PM: Do they love me, or my desserts?

1:46 PM: Is there a difference? What will happen if I run out of new ideas? There’s only so much a man can do with buttercream.

3 PM: I pick up groceries from the local farmer’s market to distract myself.

4 PM: I check in with my staff at our SoHo location and say hello to happy customers. Some are with friends, some are out-of-towners, and some are in sweatpants. One man tells me his plan to propose to his girlfriend here.

6:30 PM: Poignant subway ride home.

8 PM: I am back in my kitchen. Sundays, it seems, are about love. Suddenly, everything’s crystal clear. My one true love is the Cronut. That’s why I create a new flavor every month. Though I keep trying to outdo it, I’ll never get away from it. It enchants me (and my customers) to no end. Maybe I’m the lead in my own rom-com: “Dessert, Actually.”

9:30 PM: I watch “Notting Hill.” I’m just a man standing in front of the world, asking it to love his Cronuts.

12 AM: Lights out. Maybe next Sunday, I won’t be so hard on myself.