In August 2005, I walked out on a dream. I was certain that there was no such thing as having it all.
My 20s were defined by an insatiable desire for success. I wanted a voice not just an image. I became obsessed with telling stories and I worked at a studio that valued heart, soul and passion above all else. A radical feminist in college, with a minor in Camille Paglia, I took pride in becoming my own "witty controversialist." I was ready to take on any institution and more than happy to settle into the front lines. As a woman in a man's world, film and the arts in general, most boardrooms are like a battlefield. If you fall, you've got an army of eager graduates ready to trample you and take your place. In short, you had to be good or you were just another casualty. Appropriately, I went to work for Harvey Weinstein at Miramax Films, a cowboy in his own right, at a time when Independent Film was on the rise. It was here I found my voice in story and learned about the power of true passion and how it inspires innovation.
My success grew exponentially, however, I still heard the whispers over knee knocking family dinners. Any formal congratulations on my most recent success was always followed by a hushed whisper, "It's unfortunate she can't find a husband"... little did they know I was barely looking.
The knowledge was frustrating that even in modern America women's lives continue to be measured by their success at capturing the right man. I always understood I wasn't prepared to sacrifice a career I had worked so hard to build. My mother had taught me to be fearless, strong and independent. That was the goal.
One of my favorite films we developed at Miramax, now Weinstein Company, was based on the novel I Don't Know How She Does It, about a woman struggling to balance her day job as breadwinner and life as a mother. The hilarity that ensues is nothing short of a Greek tragedy. So when I finally did fall in love, truly in love, I left one dream behind to start another. I became a wife and a mother and it was the only place I wanted to be.
And then came the diaper changes, the vomit, the endless sleepless nights, the Mastitis, the late night feedings without even the slightest regard for my own personal well-being and happiness. In short, if I read the job description, I would have turned it down in an instant... at any price. As a woman, my most important role and the job I was put on earth to do made me feel like a failure.
During those late night feedings, I turned to my best friend from childhood, Lisa Stolov. Old friendships such as these are original works of art. Timeless and priceless. With one child, she was traveling weekly and trying to choke down the guilt each time the wheels lifted off the runway. She also confided in me that it was the beginning of the end of her marriage. With her mother by her side, her rock, she faced each day and tackled new challenges with tireless optimism. Although we were living very different lives, we struggled with the same feelings of isolation.
Lisa always had a passion for the world of beauty. I can remember senior prom, huddled in the ladies room while she applied make-up, offered beauty tips and handed out product to anyone in need of a fashion emergency. She can see the inner beauty in people and knows how to inspire confidence from within. She can tell you the five products to carry in your handbag to transform your look from day to night as well as how to get the smell of spit up out of your hair if you need to attend a gala after a day at home with the children. Practical knowledge for real women. Vogue just wasn't our reality.
Entrepreneur-minded since she graduated high school, she developed a successful bath and body boutique and product line. She continued to hone her expertise and played a strategic role in development and launch of top-selling beauty lines into Barneys New York and Saks Fifth Avenue -- this positioned her as one of the top professionals in the beauty industry.
Having been through motherhood first, Lisa shared her triumphs over teething and sleep training and soon, with endless help from my mother, I hit my own stride. We started exchanging recipes and beauty tips.
With the help of exercise and healthy eating, we began to get our bodies back and soon stopped saying, "Who's that girl? She looks familiar," each time we passed by a mirror. The one thing Lisa and I couldn't get back was time. We needed information fast. We still wanted to look and feel our best but we didn't have time to do the research. Around this time, the concept for dishinoutbeauty was born.
Lisa continued to travel the globe in search of the best products in mind, body, fitness and beauty. Meanwhile, I found my Zen in cooking for the family. We would share our stories and quest for looking and feeling younger and stronger through every day choices. The foods we eat, the beauty products we slather on, and most importantly, the exercise choices that were truly inspiring rather than the latest fad to become obsolete like last year's couture clogs.
This vision and our happily ever after culminated in our website, dishinoutbeauty.com. A website that delivers the hottest trends in the world of food and beauty in one free, witty and practical daily newsletter. We pitched it to my husband, Jon Brod, who knows a thing or two about the building of a website and he loved the concept.
An old friend came back into Lisa's life and connected us to Matt Bryer at Macrojuice in the UK who worked tirelessly to bring our vision to life. Complete with avatars based on our likeness. We recruited our entire family onto the project. My mother, Sydney, as illustrator and Lisa's father, Tom as chef.
Our families have always been connected. With mothers that share the same birthday, we have always felt our friendship was fate. We learn from their strength, fearlessness and unconditional love. They continue to inspire us each day. Lisa's mother, Dale wears a ring that says, "Imagine, believe, receive." Words we live by.
Now I look back on that day I walked out into the streets of Tribeca, facing the fear and the unknown only to learn it actually is possible to have it all.