The A Day in a Life strand here on LLG has long been one of my favourite parts of the blog. I have been insistent right from the beginning that all the content on the site is generated by me, and the only true exception that I have made is when a brilliant, fascinating woman takes the time to tell us about how she keeps it all together for A Day in a Life. We have had – and will continue to have – household names, as well as entrepreneurs, business people, artists, designers, creatives and more. But I was aware that, so far, I hadn’t had anyone from the digital world contribute, and so I thought of my dear friend Lola Gusman, who does what many of us aspire to – she holds down a stressful and demanding day job, whilst bringing up her family and managing to fulfill her creative aspirations – in Lola’s case, with the highly successful green beauty blog and Instagram feed, The Hermes Hippie.
So I hope you enjoy her typically New York day, even if you feel vicariously exhausted by the end of it…
Over to you Lola:
If there is a defining characteristic to my life, it would have to be a supremely consistent lack of routine. I work full time as a corporate attorney in New York, as well as running the green beauty blog and Instagram ‘The Hermes Hippie’. I don’t have a nanny, which means my day is a ballet of coordinating work, school drop-offs and pick-ups, and my blogging side gig (which takes up nearly as much time and effort as my proper job). Add my attempts to maintain a semblance of a fitness regimen along with having a social life, and it means that my “typical” day is always a little non-linear.
I started my blog two and a half years ago, initially as a way to exorcise my writing demons. I have always loved to write, but could never quite find my story. I got interested in, and then fell in love with, green beauty after it rescued my skin following the birth of my son. I’m an obsessive researcher (thanks, law school!) and my research skills certainly came in handy when I first started my green beauty journey.
At the time, there weren’t many objective, well-written and researched resources for people like me. I found myself spending an inordinate amount of time commenting and answering questions on various comment threads and forums and decided it was time to get my own thing going. The great thing about having a blog is that I not only get to research and write, I also style and take all my own photographs. It’s a true creative outlet and I adore it.
I was inspired by Caroline Hirons and her no-nonsense, hyper-educated (and hyper-opinionated) approach and wanted to do something similar for the green beauty consumer. I also didn’t follow the accepted blogging format: instead of short, frequent posts, I write lengthy, obsessively researched screeds and post as infrequently as once a month. To my huge surprise, the blog seems to have resonated and I have since amassed a wonderful, smart and passionate following. I love the way green beauty has turned from a hippie-ish niche into a global juggernaut and I cherish the friendships I have built with the brilliant brands that are transforming the industry. I’m not sure what the future holds for my little blog, but I’m excited to find out.
6:00-6:30 am. Wake up, reluctantly. I have always envied and resented all those lucky people who manage to hop out of bed at the first break of dawn with spring in their step and a song in their hearts. I’m a night owl and don’t really feel like myself unless I have had at least 9 or 10 hours of sleep. Of course, since having my son 7 years ago, my nightly average tends to hover between 6 to 7 hours, so I blame any personality deficits on perpetual sleep deprivation. Thankfully, my lovely English husband is a saint (or terrified of my moods), so he usually sacrifices his own sleep to let me lie in on the weekends.
I need time to get myself going in the morning, so I tend to bury myself in my phone while I nurse a cup of coffee: I catch up on emails, review social media and get a lowdown on the news. I know it’s terrible, but I never have breakfast in the morning, so I try to compensate by loading my coffee with a bunch of tonic herbs from Sun Potion. I feel as though deep inside, I am the girl who makes fabulous smoothies each morning, but in reality, this happens about two or three times a month at best.
6:45 am. Wake the kiddo. He is definitely my child when it comes to sleep, so waking him up can sometimes be an ordeal. He is also a budding foodie (yes, I know, this is the most obnoxiously New York thing to say), which means that I can hardly ever get away with a bit of cereal for breakfast. His favorites are avocado toast (eye roll), crepes with farmer’s cheese and fruit or sunny side-up eggs with soldiers. Typically, my husband and I tag-team the morning prep: the one who is not taking our son to school is in charge of cooking breakfast and getting him ready, which means that when I’m doing it on my own, the morning is a mad rush.
While Junior Foodie is having breakfast, I run around like a particularly hyper headless chicken, taking a shower, slapping on some skincare, setting out his clothes and attempting to dress myself, while resisting the urge to wear sweatpants to the office. We were relieved that our son’s new school does not have a uniform (sticking to black, white and gray monochrome for 4 years was wounding my fashion-loving soul), though it does make choosing his outfits slightly more challenging. Nothing as challenging as what I go through every morning, though. For me, getting dressed means a constant negotiation between comfort, rudimentary stylishness and some semblance of office appropriateness.
7:20 am. If I am on the school run, I try to be in an Uber and on our way before 7:30. The one drawback of our fabulous new school is that it’s virtually inaccessible by public transport and I don’t drive. I grew up in communist Russia and didn’t drive until moving to America. I then let my license lapse while I lived in Romania as I was always an incompetent menace on the road. So I gave up on driving altogether. Thankfully, my husband adores driving (he still believes it’s not too late to make it into Formula 1), which helps keep our Uber bill just this side of insane. After drop off, I head into Manhattan and into the office.
On days when my husband does the school run, I take a few minutes to enjoy my coffee in peace and then use the free time to take some shots for Instagram. To some, it may seem like a frivolous thing to occupy myself with, but it takes me quite a bit of time and effort to write my admittedly lengthy blog posts and since I do so fairly infrequently, I treat Instagram as a mini-blog. It takes me a bit of time to pick the props, set up the shot and write the caption, so I will often start answering urgent work emails at the same time.
9:00 am – 3:00 pm. Because I work as a consultant, my working hours are quite flexible. Typically, I arrive in the office anywhere from 8:30 if I am doing drop-off, to 10 am. My work day is standard lawyer-y stuff. Please, do disabuse yourself of any notions of Ally McBeal-esque fabulousness or Good Wife-like drama: it’s basically lots of contracts, lots of conference calls and lots of Sad Desk Lunches (although I take full advantage of the many food delivery apps on my phone to get not-so-sad things like Russ & Daughters bagels or Japanese soba). I love what I do, but though I knew I wanted to be a lawyer since I was about 12, it isn’t exactly my life’s passion.
I would be thrilled to make writing my job but, sadly, for the moment, lawyer-ing pays the bills a heck of a lot better. For now, I consider myself the gentlewoman farmer of the blogging world and my blog is strictly non-profit. Still, it takes quite a bit of effort, time and expense, so that might change should I ever figure out the balance between independence and profitability, but for now I am proud to maintain true editorial integrity.
3:00 pm – 7:30 pm. If I am on school pickup duty, I leave the office around 3 to get to Brooklyn for pickup. I get the full debrief on my son’s school day in the car on the way home. Once we get back, he gets down to homework and I sit down to finish whatever work got left over from the office or attempt to squeeze in some blog writing.
With one of Sasha’s best friends in the US, Yoann, and our SoulCycle instructor
If I am not doing pickup, I tend to stay in the office until 6 or 7 depending on my workload. I also do my best to make it to SoulCycle at least once during the week (and twice on the weekends). I have always been slothful and un-athletic and considered gym-adjacent activities akin to torture. And then I discovered SoulCycle. Somehow, the mixture of psychotic, type-A competitiveness, pop spirituality, darkness and awesome music got me hooked and I am now properly obsessed. As an upside, I now can run up the subway steps, rather than breathlessly huffing my way up, so I’m really quite comfortable with the cult-like aspects of the whole thing.
Lighting the Hannukah candles with my son. Photo by Belathee Photography
8:00 pm. We typically pop our son in bed around 8 or 8:30 and, if we’re staying home, my husband and I will usually order take-out. We are both quite decent cooks and do attempt to cook occasionally, but I would be lying if I claimed it was a frequent occurrence. As we are both pretty fried at the end of the day (and because evenings in are fairly rare), we mostly chat and catch up on our favorite TV shows or new films. My husband fancies himself as a mixologist, so our evenings in do typically involve a cocktail hour (he is a dirty martini aficionado but I prefer a good Manhattan): it’s all rather Mad Men, minus the fabulous outfits, all the smoking and the affairs.
With my English husband and my son at home. Photo: Belathée Photography
As I said, these evenings in are fairly infrequent. New York is a very social city and taking full advantage of its cultural and culinary delights makes for a rather full schedule. We have a sizeable, close-knit and incredibly fun group of friends and we usually get together at least once a week.
Add to that work dos, seeing other friends who are constantly popping into town, theater visits, concerts, school events and an occasional date night and we can sometimes be out five times during the week. Because of this, weekends are reserved for family time – play dates, day trips, museum visits – all very fun and fantastic, but it does mean that we are often exhausted come Monday.
11:30 pm – 12:00 am. As I mentioned, I am a night owl (and a bad influence on my poor husband), so bedtime is rarely before 11, even on the evenings when we stay in. It takes me ages to get ready for bed, as I am rather obsessive about my evening skincare routine. At my most tired, drunk and unbothered, it still involves a thorough face wash and application of some sort of facial mist and oil or balm. Otherwise, the routine can include a staggering number of steps and products, which I will often photograph for Instagram and use to give mini-product reviews. Once in bed, we will sometimes attempt to read, but it only lasts for a few minutes, as my husband will start dropping his Kindle on his head about 5 minutes in.
Of course, this perfectly ordered and calm existence is going to be upended rather soon, as we are (unexpectedly) expecting our second child. It’s an incredibly exciting and slightly terrifying adventure and I am looking forward to the changes it may bring.