When Elaine D’Farley, SELF Magazine’s Beauty Director, arrived for our interview, the contents of her overflowing purse reflects everything that Pretty Impressed is about. “I have Izze’s library books and a T-shirt for her performance that she forgot this morning, the last 3 issues of SELF because I have a ton of meetings today, my makeup bag (of course), and my Manolos because I can only wear them for a few minutes!” she laughs. Izze (short for Izadora) is Elaine’s 8-year-old daughter whom she, and her husband Klive, adopted from China. Here she spills the beans on how it was making the transition at work after adopting Izze and all of her beauty and fashion secrets that keep her looking always on-trend.
Pretty Impressed: What was the most challenging part of going through the adoption process and keeping up with your work life?
Elaine: First of all I have no regrets. It’s the best! I can’t see my life any other way. So for all the waiting, and thinking about it and worry, it’s meaningless now because it’s the best thing that has ever happened to us. Honestly, the biggest challenge was before getting Izze. You can control everything else in your life, your work, your stress, and you can work on those things. But getting pregnant? It’s out of your control. It was awful. I wasn’t getting pregnant and people were always asking questions. Now, I’d tell anyone who is going through fertility issues, that you can do what you want. There are so many babies out there! And it’s such a miracle. I’m not very religious, but I believe in destiny now. Sort of like when you meet your husband and you decide, “I can marry this person.” You get this child and you instantly get a surge of protection and love and this is your child—it’s very profound. I watch these movies we have of getting her—like you watch movies of taking Amelia home from the hospital—and that’s Izze’s story.
Facebook Giveaway! Win Elaine’s Beauty Must-Haves. Details at the bottom of this post.
PI: Did you take maternity leave?
Elaine: I received one week adoption leave plus all my vacation days, which added up to six weeks total. And during that time, I had to go to China, get Izadora, bring her back and move her in. It was intense! All of a sudden I had a toddler—she was 13 months old!
PI: When you got back to work, do you think it was harder for people to realize the transition you were going through since you didn’t walk around pregnant for 9 months?
Elaine: I’m lucky because at SELF, 17 babies were born between the time I announced I was adopting Izze and I actually got her. When you adopt from China, you have to get all these documents from your work, which I did in 2004. It wasn’t until 2007 until we finally got her. During that time, so many other editors had babies and people started to feel self-conscious around me and say things like “Are you still getting your baby?” I even felt awkward because that’s a lot of emotion. So when I finally got her, everyone was so happy for me! They put a picture of Izze and me in the magazine.
PI: What does Izadora love about your job?
Elaine: She loves to come to the office! Everyone fawns over her and she loves all the products in the beauty closet and the funny things publicists send to grab our attention.
PI: What doesn’t she like about your job?
Elaine: Izze hates that my meetings don’t happen on time. For example, I’ll have a meeting scheduled for 3 p.m., but then it won’t happen until 5 p.m., which means I can’t pick her up from school, like I had planned. I’ve explained to her so many times that when I’m late, it’s because meetings don’t happen on time. She doesn’t understand that I’m not totally in control of my time. I have responsibilities and obligations, and she hasn’t got it—yet!
PI: Your work days are super busy with a ton of appointments that can start as early as 8 a.m. and end as last as 9 p.m. How do you make that work as a mom?
Elaine: I make sure that I squeeze in at least one routine moment with my daughter every day. I don’t always get to walk to her to school or pick her up or read her a bedtime story or see her when she’s brushing her teeth because my schedule changes all the time. So on the days that I have an evening event, I make sure that I walk her to school. When I have a morning event, I make sure I’m home to read her a story. I need that one-on-one quality time to feel sane. When that doesn’t happen, I feel like it’s getting out of control and scale back. I always have that in mind when I look at my schedule. Twice a week Klive and I make sure to have a sit down meal with Izze at the dinner table.
PI: As the Beauty Director of Self, one would think you work out a lot. How do you squeeze that into your busy schedule?
Elaine: My goal is to workout three or four times a week, but it’s really hard to fit it all in. As you get older you have to work out more to maintain! In my pre-mom life, I loved yoga, but it takes an hour and a half, so who am I kidding? I can’t do that anymore! Now I do spinning. It’s 45 minutes. It’s fast and I found a Flywheel on the same street as Izze’s school. The things that used to work in the amount of time they used to work don’t work anymore.
PI: How do you keep your energy levels up?
Elaine: Eating right is a really big thing for me. My bad habit is to not eat a lot during the day because I’m so busy, then I’ll eat a really big meal at night. And it’s so easy to get into the habit of wine at night, coffee in the morning. I’m much better off when I have a Dr. Frank Lipman Revive Shake in the morning, which has four servings of greens. I mix it with almond milk, ½ banana, and some berries. And I’ll have green tea instead of coffee. Then I try to have a salad at a real lunchtime hour and a piece of fruit for a snack. I try to practice what we preach in the magazine!!
PI: OK, spill your fashion tips!
Elaine: A dress is my uniform. I like dresses that aren’t too tight. I have bumps and bulges now and that’s really challenging. The dress has to have something special about it too. Something that’s maybe a little trendy, like a color or accent. I love Marni dresses (shown above right) because the fabrics are so cool. So the shape can be pretty simple, but because the fabric is so cool, it looks great. Today I’m wearing this really fun Sandro dress (shown above, left) and I love the print on it. Whatever it is, it has to be comfortable. You can find a dress for $300 on sale that looks a lot more expensive than it really is. Outnet.com is my favorite place; it’s the Net-A-Porter.com sample sale site. It’s really dangerous. You can put alerts for your favorite designers and sizes, and then they’ll send you an email when something is available. ShopStyle does that too. I do a lot of shopping online, which I think is shocking because I’m in New York City. But it’s such a time-saver to shop at night or while I’m waiting for meetings to start when you’d can’t really focus on digging into a project. I find it strangely relaxing!
PI: What about accessories?
Elaine: I’m very minimal with accessories because I think they can be fussy and expensive. If I’m wearing an all back dress or something simple, I’ll put on a big statement piece, but in general, I like the fun prints on dresses so you don’t really have to wear anything else. I also think accessories can complicate things, like changing at the gym—it’s just an added thing to take on/off and hopefully not lose. But I love fab nails! There are so many fun colors to wear now, nails are an accessory. Today I’m wearing Essie Bright Tights ($8). I love how bright it is. Getting a quick manicure is the fasted way to feel pulled together.
PI: OK, Beauty Director. Now spill the beauty products that you use all the time. It’s your job to look beautiful 24/7!
Elaine: I have a Sonia Kashuk Dot Print Soft Cosmetic Case, $7. They are really affordable and come in great fabrics—they’re the best. I love the RMS Lip2Cheek in Smile ($36) which is a little pot of color that works on cheeks and lips. It comes in all different colors. It’s so genius and easy. I also have a tin of Rosebud Salve ($6)—it’s great to use on your lips, dry cuticles, little rough patches. I put it everywhere—even on Izze! Also, Laura Mercier just created a compact version of her famed tinted moisturizer (Laura Moisturizer Tinted Moisturizer Crème Compact SPF 20, $45). It’s very clever because you just swipe the pad on top of the cream, but it goes on like tinted moisturizer. It’s very light, but it fixes things. It’s a lot easier to use when you’re on-the-go.
PI: What about your hair?
Elaine: I prefer a long and blunt haircut because it looks good even when I don’t have time to blow it out. More layers always require more styling time. But when I want some waves, I think Sarah Potempa’s Beachwaver is amazing. It’s a curling iron that has a left and a right button to change the rotation of the barrel, which gives you those great beach curls. Just start at the bottom of a section and roll up. I also use Goody Ouchless Ribbon Elastics (sold in drugstores) because they don’t leave a line in my hair. My hair goes up and down all day long!
Win Elaine D’Farley’s Beauty Must-Haves!
One lucky winner will receive Essie Bright Tights and RMS Lip2cheek in Smile, a total value of $42. Winner will be randomly chosen at 2 p.m. on October 28th, 2013. All entrants must be at least 16 years old and live in the United States. To enter, Like us on Facebook, then share your supermom tips in the comments section of the GIVEAWAY ALERT: Win Self Beauty Director Elaine D’Farley’s fave beauty products! on Facebook. Good luck!