What is your favorite AK item and why?
My dream bag is the AK Weekender in navy. I travel constantly for work, and this bag would be such an elegant solution for short trips. I'd carry it as my handbag/overnight/computer bag all in one. I recently suffered epic embarrassment after whipping a pair of undies out of my handbag during a meeting, (I was trying to grab my phone...) It may be time for a bag upgrade that can handle all the junk I carry around with me.
What are your top 10 latest obsessions and what can you not live without and why?
A spooky rendition of MacBeth set in a disused hotel. Interactive theater where you literally chase the actors from room to room as they play out the story. Depending on who you follow, it's different every time. I can't get enough of it!
I'm an old Goth at heart, and let's face it, Rick Owens is like a god to us.
Tara Levitin is a Houston-based jeweler and friend, and I can NOT stop collecting her work. Her things are slightly sinister, and very reasonably priced. She sells through her website.
My Ray Caesar Print
Ray is my favorite artist, and I dream of a house full of his work. His work looks like paintings, but are all actually created digitally. He pushes the boundaries of what's possible in digital art.
My new cosmetic range - Nonie Creme, Colour Prevails!
How can I not have this on my list?! 150 pieces of make up, nail lacquer and semi-permanent hair dyes, all luxury manufactured as I've always done, but soon sold at major mass market retailer, Walgreens! I can promise you will wonder why no one has done this before. Available now onwalgreens.com and coming soon to their stores.
I'm over 40, and my skin is a BIG deal to me. This Japanese skincare system is the only reason I can leave the house without a bag on my head.
The world renowned (ok, well, in my head it is), "Nonie Creme Hot and Dirty Martini"
In my world, if it is 5 o'clock, you are holding a martini. Period.
Grey Goose vodka over ice, then add olive juice to taste, fresh chopped jalapeños to taste, 3 pickled jalapeño slices, a teaspoon of pickled jalapeño juice, and two olives. Shake hard and dump the whole mess into a martini glass. Prepare to have your mind blown.
I have a jumpsuit obsession
We call them my "fat suits", because they hide a multitude of muffin top. Favorites are a black silk one by Vince, my new denim boiler suit by 6397, also my evening fat suit by No. 6. I throw them on with major stilettos and a ton of rings. Available at totokaelo.com
Yeah, I know, that's kind of awful, but I took my husband and six-year-old daughter there last week, and it was deserted. We had about 7 pools to ourselves, and the weather was spectacular. In the evening we hired a vetted nanny from the concierge and hit the casino. It was a blast. Is it wrong that I want take my family to Vegas for Thanksgiving, and tell my parents that we are staying home this year?
It is my "When will Game of Thrones be back??!!" fix.
What are your top 5 prized possessions?
Burberry Trench with giant fox fur collar
I feel like a punk Joan Collins when I wear this.
I'm one of those pathetic people who has to be within an arm's reach of her phone at all times or risk a massive panic attack.
My original wedding band
It's SO not my taste anymore, and I tend to wear all sorts of different things on my ring finger, but it's so precious and special. We were so young and SO clueless.
Three dresses from my mom
An original Charles James, and two pristine Halstons, all from the early 60's. I can't bear to wear them, but I am saving them for my daughter. (They are also a size zero damn it)
My silver mohawk
My hair is my way of saying "I will succeed, AND be myself, and you can't stop me!!"
Best Advice you have ever received?
Leave your ego at the door. It's not always about you
Personal mantra or quote you tote around with you?
Lead or get out of the way. (Contrary to the best advice ever, but hey, you gotta start somewhere.)
Tell us about Butter London and how it came to be?
I had built a career in London as a manicurist on fashion shoots, and shows, and it was time to start my own line, but I had NO idea how to do that. In the end, a U.S. based British entrepreneur approached me and although neither of us had done anything like it before, I knew she was "the one". I left my career and husband in London, moved back to the States, and had to literally start all over again from zero.
It was an 8-month-old kitchen table start up company when I joined, and we starved and worked ourselves stupid, but we never thought for a second that we would fail. You simply can NOT entertain failure, ever. We took that company from the kitchen table to multi-million global player; it's one of my proudest achievements.
What is your favorite Butter London moment?
My favorite moment was when people finally knew the brand without being told. I'd meet someone, and they'd ask what I did, and I'd spend 20 minutes trying to explain that we were a nail polish company, not a food company, etc etc. Then one day, I started my spiel, and the woman just freaked out. "Oh my god, I love that brand!!". After that it seemed like everyone knew the brand, and realizing that we had grown a global entity from nothing was very humbling.
What is your background?
I'm a fine artist by trade. I studied Fine Art and Art History at Scripps, and always thought I'd go into the art world. Then I fell in love with a wildly inappropriate British rocker and followed him to London at 22. With no visa, and totally cut off by my furious parents, I had to figure out how to survive. I started doing nails to make cash, I was desperate. But in the end I loved it so much. I loved talking to people, hearing their secrets, making them feel happy and beautiful. The rest is history. I married the rocker kid by the way. 20 years and counting.
Tell us about your next adventure in buisness?
It's a doozy!! My next adventure addresses the disconnect between the beauty offering in the mass market and the beauty offering at prestige retailers. We all shop high/low these days, but why does inexpensive make up look so...inexpensive? I'd like a prestige shopper to walk into her local Walgreens, get her prescriptions, toothpaste, and stunning, prestige quality cosmetics under one roof for a fair price. Colour Prevails is now available on walgreens.com and will hit their retail stores nationwide shortly. I'm ecstatic about it, and I hope you will be too!
What are two things people would never know about you that you want to share?
I'm Latina! Ok, yes, I'm the whitest Latina in the world, but I'm very proud to say that I am Mexican-American. People are always shocked by that.
I have a morbid fear of flying. People always assume that I'm this jet-setter type who floats from the plane to the boardroom, but every single flight is a nightmare for me. I am going to have to get help for it. It's taking over my life - and I fly up to 8 times a month.
What are your favorite apps on your iPhone or iPad?
What is your guilty pleasure?
Eating in the tub. No, seriously, isn't that disgusting? I will literally take a whole plate of food in there and a vodka martini.
What is your favorite undiscovered place?
Salish Lodge in Snoqualmie, WA. It's a big run-down lodge with giant fireplaces, and views of a huge waterfall. You can hike and explore, but we never make it out of the lobby because of our martinis.
What are your beauty essentials?
Tatcha, as mentioned before, but also Cetaphil Daily Moisturizer SPF50. I am a HUGE advocate for SPF, and have had many precancerous moles as a result of Texas sunburns as a child. Also, Lucas Paw-Paw ointment from Australia. It's this crazy "everything" ointment that I use for...everything. I'm obsessed with my new Colour Prevails Eye Shimmer Polishes, and finally, I can't function without my Colour Prevails Nail Lacquer in Boss Lady
Where do you go to escape?
My house, to be honest. It's not big or fancy, and we live like hippies, but my house is the Grand Central Station of my social circle. There is a constant stream of kids, animals, music, the odd motorcycle and love. It's the best place on earth.
Best kept secret in the city you live in? Do you have one for Houston too?
The Butcher & Baker in Greenlake. This teeny, tiny little restaurant that my gang invades every Sunday at 10am sharp. The best food in the city - no joke.
The Menil Collection. Low key, but epic museum, just a wonder. Also - Galveston Island. It's not Houston, that's true, but Galveston is our own little vacation-land, 45 minutes from the city! My folks lovingly restored a house in the historical district, then had it utterly destroyed by Hurricane Ike in 2008, and then restored it again. It's just magnificent, what a feat.
What is your recipe for success?
Success comes in many forms, so start by understanding what YOU think success looks like. (It ain't always about the money). Next, be fearless in your approach. Getting what you truly want requires risk and often failure at first, so be prepared to dust yourself off and change tack, but never, ever give up. Trust me, life has laid me out many times, and I've probably burnt as many bridges as I've crossed, but I feel blessed for every single day of it. If you don't enjoy the journey, you are going the wrong direction.
Who is Nonie Creme and why do we love her?
Nonie is my CRC sister. We have known each other since we were 10 where we went to summer camp together and were in the same tribe. In one word....cool. She beats to her own drum and so it is not surprising to me that she started her own creative company and hit a home run. She has always been creative with an amazing sense of color and a can do it attitude. She loves life and is not afraid to live it. Our camp was a strong sisterhood and we bonded and banded together thinking we could do anything and I love that Nonie kept that going. She may look fierce on the outside but has the biggest heart on the inside. Her creative edge is inspiring and her work ethic is to be studied. She is the bomb and I hope she inspires you to go out and live your life and make your dreams happen!