the sparkly life

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Should I Let My 8-Year-Old Dye Her Hair?

kids with dyed hair
This is not my kid (yet!), but this is the look she wants. Photo via @kidswithcoolhair

My eight-year-old daughter wants to dye her hair. Like really wants to. And not a soft, natural shade either. She wants "unicorn tips," which is essentially a blend of pink, purple, and blue from the mid-shaft of her hair on down. It's bold--statement hair, if you will.

She has wanted this for several months now, and asks for it every day. And I'm not exaggerating. Every. Single. Day.

And here's the issue: I'm totally against it! Part of the reason I'm opposed is because it's just not healthy. She doesn't just want a translucent tinted glaze (we tried that already--it didn't show up). Instead, she wants vibrant, bold color, which on her brunette hair means we'd need to bleach it first. And I'm someone who has highlighted their hair pretty continuously since the age of 14, so I know that bleaching is incredibly damaging. I don't want her supersoft, shiny hair to turn into straw quite yet!

dyeing kids hair

But if I'm being honest, there's another, bigger reason I'm anti-unicorn-hair: It just seems too soon. She's eight years old! So still a kid! (I was about to write "She's not even a tween yet!" but then I googled to see how old tweens are and apparently they're 8 through 12, so...welp.)

Eight years old is very much a transition age. She goes back and forth between telling me she loves me--and telling me I'm the worst mom in the world. She has started watching old episodes of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody on her iPad, but she also still wants things like American Girl dolls and squishy toys (it's a thing--don't ask). She has definite opinions on her clothes (no dresses! anything with emojis is good!), but she also still wants me to select her outfits each morning. She is clearly starting to grow up. But do I really want to speed up the process by giving her grown-up hair, too?

This isn't the first time I've freaked out about her wanting to make a change to her hair. Last year, I worried that a major haircut would make her look older. It didn't--and I loved the cut--but a bob is different than purple streaks. I fear that colored hair will visually fast-forward her a few years, and that's not okay with me. I want my little girl to stay little for as long as possible--even if that makes me the worst mom in the world.

So what do you guys think? Would you let your kid dye her hair? Have you let your kid dye your hair? Am I just being crazy? Or would it be crazy for me to let her do this?

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Here's Why You Should Join BJ's Wholesale Club (Plus, Use My Secret Discount to Save!)

bj's wholesale club membership

As you guys may have noticed, for the past few months I've been working with BJ's Wholesale Club, and during that time, I've become legitimately hooked on it. Today I'm going to tell you why I'm obsessed--and share an amazing membership discount with you! (Spoiler alert: If you use this link, you can join for just $25!)

Here's why I love it: I love going into the big ol' store (mine is in Jersey City) with my big ol' cart and loading up on things I need (and, okay, maybe also some stuff that I don't exactly need...!) and all at seriously great prices. I always go to the store with some specific things on my list (my go-tos include large sizes of the stuff my family tends to go through super quickly like double packs of Applegate bacon, jumbo boxes of Stonyfield yogurt tubes, huge jugs of Tide laundry detergent, and the absolutely glorious multi-packs of sunscreen). 

But I also love meandering through the aisles, checking out the deals, and scooping up some great unexpected things, too. I've found tons of cool stuff this way like my favorite new workout socks, vitamins, yummy desserts, and more. And I always stop by the book section; they have amazing choices for kids and adults. And don't even get me started on the awesomeness of a BJ's shopping trip before a party. I always head there before a bash to stock up on drinks, frozen hors d'oeuvres, paper goods, cakes, candy, chips, etc.

And because I've become such a fan, I wanted to share the love with you guys with this exclusive BJ's membership discount! If you use this link, you can save $30 off the normal $55 fee and become a member for just $25! (And honestly, you'll earn that back in savings practically immediately!)

A few of the benefits:

-Members save up to $500 a year, and an average of 25 percent on groceries. 

-BJ's is the only warehouse club to accept manufacturer's coupons. 

-Speaking of coupons, they also mail you a huge book of coupons every month that has hundreds of additional crazy deals throughout the store. I've never been much of a coupon clipper, but I always bring my BJ's book with me, because the coupons are really good and they're for things I actually want like $1 off Dove body wash, etc.

-Members can save a ton of money on gas, because BJ's has some of the lowest gas prices around.

-And this is really cool: BJ's members can now get same-day delivery of their items through Instacart! This is particularly awesome for us city dwellers who don't necessarily have cars, but that said, the same-day delivery option isn't just for cities. It's available at every club, nation-wide. Because let's be honest: Having your groceries delivered is pretty awesome for busy moms everywhere.

If you'd like to join, please click here. And if you do become a member, definitely let me know here or on social media. Annnnddd...if you put it on social, be sure to tag me (@alyssahertzig) because I'll retweet or regram you! Woo hoo! :)

And if you're already a member, please tell me about your favorite items below. I'm always looking for new ones to try!

Thank you to BJ's for sponsoring this post.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Here's How I Spent 36 Hours in Los Angeles

alyssa hertzig
the jeremy west hollywood
the jeremy west hollywood
The Jeremy at night
My days are typically filled with school dropoff, errands, vet visits, and logging hours in front of the computer. But this week, I had the coolest experience and wanted to share it with you guys! Garnier invited me and a handful of other beauty editors to fly to L.A. to have a facial with their celebrity esthetician Shani DardenIt was a whirlwind--I was basically there for 36 hours!--but I made the most of it. Here's what I did. 

First, we stayed at The Jeremy, a new hotel in West Hollywood, which I really liked and recommend if you're going to be heading out there. The location--on Sunset Boulevard at La Cienega--was fantastic. You can walk to lots of great shopping, restaurants, bars, and it's a short $5 Uber ride to other cool areas like Melrose or 3rd street. They have a rooftop pool (FYI, it's gorgeous, but small--not very many chairs), and a great casual coffee shop/restaurant off the lobby. (I recommend the Hollywood Market salad if you eat there. So fresh, healthy, and delish!)

orange wine

orange wine
At The Eveleigh, from left: Gwen Flamberg of Us Weekly, April Long of Glamour, Erica Metzger of Better Homes and Gardens, and moi

Speaking of food, I ate so much and so well. Night one, we ate at The Eveleigh, which was amazing. The food was delicious and the restaurant itself was beautiful. (It also had this cool retractable roof, so it totally felt like you were eating outside.) We ordered nearly everything on the menu to share (and I'm not exaggerating). Everything I ate was awesome, but my very favorites were the ricotta and stone fruit salad and Sunday sauce pasta. I also discovered the joys of orange wine there! Have you guys had it? It's very summery and refreshing, so kind of like rose, but with a little more depth. So yummy!

best mexican food los angeles
Our spread at Tocaya Organica

Day two, we ate lunch at Tocaya Organica, which I am now obsessed with. (In particular, I'm obsessed with trying to find a way to bring one of these to NYC! We have nothing like it.) It's a chain of beautiful "fast casual" Mexican restaurants with incredible tacos, salads, sides, etc, all made with organic, very fresh ingredients. It's surprisingly affordable ($10 gets you two tacos, two huge sides, and one of their fun homemade drinks like watermelon limeade). My favorites were the chips and salsa, the carne asada Cali Green taco, and the Mexican street corn. But it was all amazing. 

best italian food los angeles
The spicy fusilli at Jon & Vinny's. (Disclosure: This is actually the only photo here that's not mine. I'm not kidding when I say that we were so busy stuffing our faces there that I completely forgot to take pictures. This one's by @racheldeckerr.)

Day three dinner was the very best of the whole trip. We ate at Jon and Vinny's, a tiny Italian hotspot in the Fairfax district. Truth be told, I wasn't that excited about doing Italian (it didn't seem very "Cali" and we certainly have no shortage of great Italian in NYC and Hoboken), but it ended up blowing me away. Once again, we ordered like crazy people and got way too much, but it was all out of this world. Truly some of the best Italian food I have ever eaten! 

It feels impossible to pick favorite dishes here, but if I had to, I'm going to say the bruschetta with ricotta and orange honey (drool), the caprese salad (there were like five different types of tomatoes in it--heaven!), the gem lettuce salad (this was possibly the second best salad I have ever eaten in my life), the shaved zucchini and arugula salad (and this might have been the very best one!), Little Nats pepperoni pizza (yep. again, one of the best pepperoni pizzas I've ever had), the spicy fusilli with vodka sauce (this is amazing and is one of their most famous dishes, but just FYI: it's not at all spicy!), and the polenta with six-hour bolognese. And to top it all off, they have soft serve ice cream for dessert! I got the chocolate-vanilla twist and it was sooo good. Honestly, this restaurant was absolutely incredible. If you are in L.A., GO.

alyssa hertzig
With superstar facialist Shani Darden
And while the food was great, the absolute highlight of my trip was my facial with Shani Darden. I'm honestly not typically a facial person (basically I rarely feel like they do anything and if I'm going to a spa, I'd always rather get a massage), but this one completely changed my mind--and my skin! Shani typically (literally) only sees celebrities (think Chrissy Teigen, Rosie Huntington Whiteley, her actual BFF Jessica Alba, and Emmy Rossum, who walked in right after I left!). She works out of this adorable, very private Spanish-style bungalow on an unassuming street in Hollywood. The living room is the waiting room, what would have been the master bedroom is the treatment room--it was the cutest. 

And the facial itself was incredible! Shani customizes every treatment for the individual client with a bunch of machines (for me it was vibration therapy, microcurrent, and red and blue LED lights), thorough extractions, masks, and more. My skin was blindingly glowing when I left, and it felt plumper and more hydrated than it ever has in my life. (I've been wondering ever since if I've been walking around in a perpetual state of dehydration, because my skin just does not feel that plump and juicy and good normally!). Shani even texted me the next day to check up on my skin and offer a few product recommendations. I wish I could see her again, but unfortunately, I'm probably going to have to become an A-list star to make that happen! (Shani only sees her existing group of celeb clients. The other editors and I were very lucky, temporary exceptions!)

The nail polish display at Miniluxe
The rest of my time was spent window-shopping (Fred Segal, Melrose Place, etc), getting a blowout at Drybar West Hollywood (I mean, obvs, right?), and getting a manicure at Miniluxe, a super cute (and crazy clean) salon on Sunset. Inspired by the perfect L.A. weather, I went with sunny yellow nails that felt so right in California...and now feel a little off here in Jersey!

Oh well. Guess I'll just have to go back soon. ;)

This trip was short, but seriously amazing. Big thanks to Garnier (Kylie, Donna, and Ali--mwah!) and Shani for having me. Little something you might not know about me: I have a long history/love affair with Los Angeles. My dad grew up there, so when I was a kid, we would go every year to visit my grandparents. And I always dreamt of living there! I finally moved to L.A. in my early 20s and lived there for two years. I left to go to grad school, always intending to come back, but then I moved to New York, met my husband, and the rest is history. But this trip rekindled my love for L.A. I truly love and miss it so much, so it was almost emotional to be back there. I'd move there in a second if we could!

The good news: I'm actually heading back to L.A. in about two weeks with my family! More on that soon. ;)

Monday, July 16, 2018

Meet The Mom Version of Back-To-School Shopping

BJ's Wholesale Club

back to school shopping

We're smack in the middle of summer, but I can feel it: Back-to-school time is coming.

I know this because I was in a store the other day and ran right smack into a huge display of school supplies. School supplies! In July! I mean, is it just me, or does everything seem to come earlier and earlier each year? Stores start displaying the Halloween costumes in September and Christmas decorations the day after trick-or-treating, and now back-to-school is suddenly getting the early-bird treatment, too. 

It seems crazy, I know, but when I saw the display of pencils and notebooks, I realized that it might not be that nuts to start thinking about this stuff early. We're basically halfway through summer right now (sad face), which means school will be here before we know it. And shopping early means you get the best selection, but it also means that you (kind of, sort of) have your life in order, right? Being prepared with all your school stuff at the ready means fewer last-minute scrambles. It also gives almost a sense of calm and order to this little corner of your world. Basically, it allows you to have one area of your busy life where you can feel confidant saying, "I got this."

BJ's Wholesale Club

BJ's Wholesale Club

So as I threw a few notebooks and packs of pencils into my cart, I realized that it might not be such a bad idea to expand this sense of preparedness and do some "back to school" shopping for other areas of my life, a little stocking up of basic items that will set my family up for success (or at least set us up for a life of not constantly hearing "Mom! We're out of [fill in the blank]!"). Let's call it back-to-basics shopping.

This year, I'm vowing to be prepared by stocking up on the things we're seemingly always running out of. I don't need to be rushing to get ready for school drop-off and realizing I'm out of shower stuff, or trying to tend to a cut on my finger and discovering I only have Spider-Man Band-Aids. So for me, that meant stocking up on those daily essentials you never really think about until you're out of them.

BJ's Wholesale Club

BJ's Wholesale Club

And as I've told you guys before, BJ's Wholesale Club is the perfect place to do just that. They have a surprisingly large health and beauty section with all of your favorite brands in bulk, which means no more running out of the stuff you need. I scooped up a big ol' jar of NatureMade multivitamins, Olay Fresh Outlast Body Wash in three fun scents, and jumbo packages of Band-Aids and Neosporin, Secret deodorant, Crest toothpaste, and my favorite Oral-B Glide dental floss

Now my kids are set for school--and I'm set for life. (Ha--I wish! But I'm definitely set for Band-Aids and body wash, okay?) ;)

Thank you to BJ's for partnering with me on this post. Are you a BJ's member? If not, here's a cool deal: You can get a $25 gift card just for signing up! Click here for details.

Friday, July 13, 2018

14 Cool Things You Need to Click On Today

That's my daughter on her way to "Job Day" at camp. She had to dress up as an occupation--and it had to be something that she could wear all day while still being able to play and not get too hot--and let me tell you, deciding on this outfit was a battle. She didn't know what she wanted to be, and everything I suggested was apparently "stupid." There was lots of fighting, lots of crying, lots of arguing, but in the end, she decided to be a vet, and I'm pretty psyched with the homegrown costume that we cobbled together in literally four minutes as we rushed to the busstop. What do you think?

And what are you guys up to this weekend? We're heading to the lake where we have friends coming over. I also have Salvation Army coming on Monday, so I'm going to do a little last-minute decluttering and (hopefully) donate a bunch of stuff to charity. (And if you think all the decluttering I've been doing this summer means my house is super clean and organized,'d be incorrect!)

Whatever you're up to this weekend, I hope you make it a great one. Here's a few fun links to check out in the meantime!

• Did you see my post earlier this week with the deal for free Mrs. Meyer's products? You can get a hand soap, dish soap, and hand lotion, and a cute metal caddy for free! It's only live for the next few days, so definitely check it out. You can also skip my post and go straight to the deal here, if you want. I won't be offended. ;)

• I'm probably not doing a big, dedicated Nordstrom Anniversary Sale post (unless you want one--do you?), but here are a few things I have my eye on/recommend:

- Barefoot Dreams Circle Cardigan: I bought one of these last year. It's the softest thing you have ever felt, and it works equally well with jeans and booties to wear during the day, or cuddled with sweats for a cozy night on the couch.

- Moto Jacket: I bought a similar one in the sale last year, but I like this one way better. It has a hood! And it's just $64! (And yes it's faux leather, but the one I have by the same brand feels surprisingly real.)

- Lace Top: Such a pretty grown-up going-out top! I love it with gray, black, or regular jeans. Plus, it comes in four pretty colors (my favorites are the burgundy, forest green, and blush) and it's under $50!

- Sneakers: When I first saw these sleek, space-age-y sneakers, I thought they had to be by Alexander Wang or some other fancy designer. But then I saw they were under $50, and then I noticed the brand!! OMG--I did a double take!! Whatever. I think they are the coolest

Rebecca Minkoff Feed Bag: The size of this bag is just perfect. Not too big, not too small, and I love the crossbody style. And it's about $150, but made of real leath-uh. Love!

• I'm obsessed with these Tamara Mellon flat sandals! I just bought them in this tan, but I also love, love, love the black, and the gold is (omg) soooo good.

• New workout clothes always inspire me to exercise--at least for a little while! These colorblocked leggings are SO cute. Only question: Which color to get?!

• This artist crochets little decorative cacti. How cute are they?!

• This Modern Love essay about a dying husband's peculiar last request is by Judith Newman (a truly incredible writer who used to write for me when I was an editor at Allure), and it is one of the most beautiful, most amazing things I have ever read. It is a movie waiting to happen. (I'm sure there has to be a bidding war going on for the rights, right now!) You must read it. 

• In NYC, there are crazy people singing in the subway all the damn time. They're just not usually Lin Manuel Miranda.

• Have you seen this video for the DIY Water Dispenser? No offense to this blogger, but it has to be the dumbest, most pointless DIY I have ever seen. (And don't feel bad for her: The video has racked up 43 million views...!)

• There's going to be a Downton Abbey movie!!

• So excited for this Netflix movie. It looks funny, sad, and sooo good. 

• I'm also dying to see this movie in the theaters. (It's kind of in the same vein. Maybe I'm just feeling nostalgic for my school days??)

And in case you missed it, I...

• Wrote honestly about what it feels like to be fired. (It's been one of my most popular posts in years. I've been floored with the response!)

• Talked Fourth of July.

• Shared a limited-time deal for free stuff!

Have a great weekend!


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Deal Alert! Here's How to Get FREE Mrs. Meyer's Cleaning Products

grove collaborative

You've probably heard me rave about Grove Collaborative before, right? I've been using and loving it for over a year now, ever since a friend turned me on to a deal they were offering at the time. So, I tried them just to get the deal--and I've since become a complete and total Grove fan. The prices are surprisingly low and it's so convenient. I buy all of my cleaning products there now! 

And now I have a deal for you...

If you're not familar with Grove, it's an online site that carries natural products for home and body, and the best part: They offer these high-end, normally pricy brands at very competitive, very affordable prices. They carry Mrs. Meyer's, Method, Burt's Bees, Caldrea, Seventh Generation, Acure Organics, Jason, and many more. 

The truth is, I hate cleaning. But fancy cleaning products that smell amazing just make the job way more bearable, right?

grove collaborative

Well, I love Grove so much that I have partnered with them periodically to bring you special deals, and I have a really good one today! With your first order of $20 from Grove Collaborative, you will get the following (full-size!) items in your choice of scent for FREE:

• Mrs. Meyer's Hand Soap

• Mrs. Meyer's Dish Soap

• Mrs. Meyer's Hand Lotion

A cute metal caddy (pictured above!)

• Free Shipping & a 60-day VIP trial (VIPs get free shipping on every order, free gifts, exclusive sales, and more)

The products and caddy are normally a $30 value, so it's a great way to check out some really nice products that you otherwise might never have tried!

(*FYI, if you're already a Grove Collaborative customer, you aren't eligible for the deal, but if you use this link, you can get a free set of Grove's walnut scrubber sponges, which I use and really like.)

grove collaborative

You can cancel anytime, so honestly, it's worth at least placing one $20 order for some basics like paper towels, sunscreen, deodorant (they carry my favorite, Schmidt's!), etc--and then getting all the free stuff! Then you can decide later whether or not you want to continue ordering through them. (That's what I planned to do when I got my deal, but I've totally stayed on and I order all of my cleaning products through Grove now.)

This offer should be good as long as supplies last, so grab your free Mrs. Meyer's products and caddy now!

Note: This is not a sponsored post and I was not paid to feature these products, however I will receive a small affiliate commission from any purchases.

Monday, July 9, 2018

This Is What It Feels Like To Get Fired

alyssa hertzig

This post has been almost three years in the making. First, I was too shell-shocked to write it. Then, I was too embarrassed. Then, there was a period of time when I worried that if I gave details like this, I'd have trouble being hired in the magazine industry again. But now time has passed. I'm not embarrassed or even upset, at all. (90 percent of the beauty editors I was working with at the time have since lost their jobs, as well, so I'm hardly alone.) And the magazine business that was struggling then, is on its last legs now. There really isn't another magazine industry job to get anyway. It seems like as good a time as any to finally tell my story.

Two and a half years ago, I was fired from my job as the beauty director of a major magazine. 

Well, "laid off" is the technical term. And while that might not carry the same stigma as being fired for cause, at the end of the day, it's really the same thing. I came into my office one morning with a job, and I left it that afternoon without one.

That morning was typical. I was in the office, at my desk working. Looking back, I do remember my managing editor emailing me to ask for some contact for a big project I had been working on for the magazine. This struck me as a little odd, but not enough to sound alarm bells. (I had been working with a big cosmetics company on a co-branded collection of polishes between the brand and the magazine. I had been the sole negotiator on this and it was a big "win" for the magazine. In hindsight, I see that they wanted to make sure the deal didn't fall through since I was soon to be out the door.)

And a little background: Although there wasn't anything blatantly different about the day, magazine people were certainly nervous around this time. Many magazines in my company had already been laying off people over the past month or two. The longtime editor of the magazine I had worked at previously had just been let go. It was a tense time. And though I was nervous, I also felt comforted by the belief that, in my industry, beauty directors didn't tend to get fired. Our department was the one that brought in a huge portion of revenue through beauty advertising. They needed us, right? (Sigh.) 

I also didn't make a huge salary. I mean, it was certainly decent, but nothing like some of the other beauty directors. (I had taken a big pay cut when I had accepted this job, but it had been worth it to me because I only had to work three days a week. I had Mondays and Fridays completely off. For a mom with two little kids, it was a dream.) So all of this to say that I--like everyone else--was always a bit nervous about the state of the industry, but I wasn't that nervous. 

Eventually lunchtime rolled around. Now, usually, 95 percent of my lunches were spent as working lunches. I was either out at a lunch event learning about a new product, having a lunch meeting with a PR representative, or (most often) I was eating at my desk, editing a story and catching up on emails between bites of cafeteria salad. But on The Day, I was actually meeting friends for lunch at a restaurant a few blocks away. Four of my mom friends from Hoboken had come into the city to meet me for a fun pre-holiday-craziness lunch. I remember feeling a little stressed and guilty as I headed back to the office since I had been gone over an hour.

Soon after I got to my desk, my phone buzzed. It was my editor-in-chief's assistant. "Alyssa?" she said. "---- was wondering if you could come to her office for a minute." Now let me preface this by saying that this was a completely ordinary thing. My editor often had me pop in to discuss a story or a potential idea. As I always did, I grabbed my pen and a pad of paper and headed over.

The fancy offices at my company were constructed entirely of clear, floor-to-ceiling glass (imagine fishbowls), so as I walked up, I noticed there was someone else seated in one of the chairs across from my editor. She looked familar but I couldn't place her at first. "Who is that?" I wondered. "Was it someone from advertising?" As I pushed the glass door open to walk inside, it hit me: The woman was from HR.

And at that moment, I knew.

alyssa hertzig

I sunk into the empty seat opposite from my editor-in-chief feeling a bit out of my body. She immediately launched into a speech that had clearly been given the HR edit. This was a time when magazines needed to make difficult choices. This so hard for everyone involved. This had nothing to do with performance. Blah blah blah. She then got up and walked out of her office, leaving the HR woman to deal with the specifics.

She started talking logistics and dates--when I would receive my last paycheck, when COBRA would start, etc etc. (Side note: Why do they even bother? I was in a daze at that moment and remembered none of it later. Thank god it was all on paper.) When what sounded like the Charlie Brown teacher voice stopped, I asked if I was allowed to go back to my desk. She said "Of course!" I would be able to go to my desk to get whatever I needed to get and do whatever I needed to do. (I was/am grateful for this). I just needed to be gone by the end of the day. 

I walked to my corner of the office imagining all eyes were on me. (They weren't--no one knew anything at that point.) I fired off a text to my husband and two of my friends letting them know I'd been laid off, then I asked my team (an associate editor and an assistant--both amazing) to join me in the beauty closet. (This was our only private space on our "collaborative," cubicle-filled floor.) I told them the news--even though it hadn't yet sunk in to me. They were upset. I told them not to tell anyone until I was out of the office. I was desperate about this. I hadn't cried yet and I knew that I would if people started parading over to my desk to say goodbye. 

I went back to my computer and started emailing everything from my work account to my personal one. I forwarded emails and contacts and stories I'd written. There was just so much. This took hours. I then looked around at my desk. Beauty editors receive a literal constant flow of beauty products and gifts and bottles of wine and swag--it was all piled on, under, and all around my desk. I grabbed a carry-on suitcase that I had received at a recent Ulta event and started stuffing it. (Who knew beauty editor freebies come in handy when you're canned?! The sleek white suitcase was definitely way more chic than the stereotypical open-topped cardboard box.) I filled it with some of my more important office stuff (framed photos of my kids, my makeup bag, the tape recorder I used for interviews), then I asked my assistant to pack up the rest the next day and have it sent to me. Turns out, the remaining stuff filled seven huge boxes that arrived on my doorstep later that week. (Seven boxes that I couldn't face opening for over a year.) 

While I was packing, the executive editor of the magazine came over to talk to me (she was the one who had hired me in the first place and who I worked most closely with on a day-to-day basis). We snuck away to the beauty closet and had a heart-to-heart. Soon after that, my managing editor came by and we did the same thing. And this, surprisingly, was the first and only time I cried. I don't know what it was, but something about my managing editor--who I liked and respected but hadn't ever had a particularly close relationship with--being so kind and friendly to me, just really made it feel...over.

I also found out then that only two of us had been laid off. Our staff was so small that letting go of two higher-level people had been enough to satisfy the budget issues. And the other person was currently on leave, which meant I was the only one in the office being laid off that day. (This makes it worse, by the way. Years before I had been a part of a magazine closing. And though that was extremely sad, as well, there is a huge amount of camaraderie when it's literally every single person on staff leaving. But when it's just you, it's just you.) 

Around 5pm, I turned off my computer, grabbed my suitcase of shame, and left the office for the last time. I was supposed to head to a beauty event that night, but I skipped it. (It was actually the launch of hairstylist Jen Atkin's new-at-the-time haircare line Ouai.) I was so sad, because I considered Jen a friend (this was before her meteoric social media rise; she used to cut my hair in her hotel room!), but I couldn't face going and telling all of my beauty editor and PR friends the news. I also couldn't face going and pretending everything was still normal. So I went home, hugged my son and daughter, and went straight up to my bedroom. (If our nanny wondered why I was coming home a little early--and with a suitcase--she didn't say.) 

alyssa hertzig

I logged onto my work email (it was still active, and, inexplicably, would be for about another week) and emailed the magazine's staff to say goodbye. I then emailed every PR contact I had to tell them the news, let them know I'd be freelancing, and share my personal email address. 

And though everyone in the beauty industry knew within hours (it's a small world and we're a gossip-y bunch!), I didn't tell most of my non-work friends for weeks. And though I quietly edited the info from my social media and internet bios, I never explicitly shared the news on the blog here.

Because I was embarrassed. That's one of the emotions that comes with being fired. There are many. There is anger.  There is fear. There is sadness. And there is confusion. I had been a beauty editor for the past 12 years, but could I still call myself a "beauty editor" now? Was I a beauty editor if I was no longer editing beauty for a magazine? Is an accountant still an accountant if he is laid off from his accounting job? I didn't know.

The truth is, there were so many things about that job that I hadn't liked. It wasn't the perfect place for me. I was getting bored writing only about the very narrow topics that the magazine covered. I was frustrated that we didn't have the budget to shoot our own stories. I was annoyed by things a lot. But there were also so many things that I did like. I loved my part-time schedule. I loved my team. I loved the work we were able to produce with very little resources. And I loved the closeness I felt with the editors at other magazines who I saw several times a week at various events. In truth, I had thought many times about leaving my job, but that didn't soften the blow. No matter how you feel about a job, if you're going to leave it, you want to leave it on your terms. And when that choice is taken from you, it can be crushing.

It turns out, I started a trend. Two months later, the majority of editors at my former magazine (the one I worked at before the one I had been fired from--it's confusing, I know) were let go when the new editor in chief cleaned house. And over the next year, my beauty-editor friends at other magazines began to peel off, too. Some magazines closed, others were laid off for budget reasons. It was a trickle and then a flood. When I go to beauty events now (and I do still go), I sometimes barely know anyone. There are fewer and fewer magazines and smaller and smaller staffs. It is truly the end of an era. And as someone who dreamt of working for magazines since I was a teen, that feels very sad. 

But I'm doing okay! Great, actually! I've been lucky--and busy. Once news got out that I had been laid off, so many of my editor friends reached out with assignments, and for that I will be forever thankful. I also started writing for brands and doing some consulting (which I love). And I worked on the blog, of course. (Though not nearly as much as I wanted to. Both fortunately and not-so-fortunately, I was busy enough with assignments that I couldn't focus on the blog as much I would have liked.) 

And yes, I still consider myself a beauty editor! I still write about beauty. I still cover the market. I still edit sometimes, too. I'm a beauty editor. (And you laid-off accountants, you're still accountants, too, dammit!)

There are very few magazine jobs left, but even if one opened up, I would find it very hard to go back to that life. I like the freedom and the flexibility I have now. I work from home, which means I can go to a fancy beauty product launch in New York City--and then go straight to pick up my kids from school. I don't miss school plays or presentations, and I still get to work in this industry. And though I certainly wasn't happy that December day two and a half years ago, it now feels very much like the best of both worlds.

So I'll leave you with a little advice: If you get the dreaded call to HR: Stay calm. Don't say anything you could regret. Don't sign anything that day. (Go home and digest the paperwork first. If you want to argue about severance or anything, there will be time later.) Try to get back to your computer so you can email yourself everything. 

And consider keeping a rolling suitcase under your desk. It beats a cardboard box any day.

Have you ever been laid off? Or fired outright? I'd be so curious to hear your story! Thanks so much for listening to mine.