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Q&A with Laurel House (your QuickieChick)

I have compiled questions that I have been asked in interviews and thought you might like to read so that you can get to know me just a bit more…

Name: Laurel House (yes, that’s my real name)

What do you do? I’m a writer “by trade.” But building my own business and promoting my book has me “do”ing everything from video production to social media, styling to photo editing.

Who are you? Born and bred Angeleno, daughter, mom of Beignet (my black lab), sister, friend, sassy-sisterly advice-giver.

Where are you NOW? At home in zero-gravity chair with my computer on my lap- like always.

Something that no one knows about you? I’m afraid of flying (despite the fact that I’m also a travel writer).

What is your most marked beauty secret? ANSR. It’s an led little beauty machine that I swear immediately zaps pimples, helps minimize wrinkles, and has been a godsend to my stress-induced eczema

What is your idea of earthly happiness? Sitting in a hammock overlooking a vineyard to the right and the ocean in front of me with my pup and my love, while eating white truffle pasta, and drinking a perfectly paired glass of wine.

I don’t leave home without? Maybelline Great Lash Mascara and a hair thing.

Dream Job? I love love what I do as each day is always slight different. But I think eventually I want to be a Novelist.

Who are your beauty icons? Adele- she has the most soulful eyes and gorgeous lips. Catherine Zeta-Jones- she’s just striking.

What quality do you most admire in a woman? In my book “QuickieChick’s Cheat Sheet” I talk about the 3Gs: Gumption, Grace and Guidance.

Morning glory or night owl? Neither- which is odd. I wake up whenever I do (I can’t handle alarms)- at around 8/8:30. Then I usually work until late- maybe 11 or 12. Even if I’m out, I can’t keep my energy up past 2am.

Family beauty secret? Under-eye cream. My mom got me on it when I was 18.

Vegetarian or carnivore? I’m a serious foodie, but I’m mostly vegan at home and eat almost everything when I go out (it’s odd I know). So I guess that makes me 90% vegan. Two of my go-to dishes are my Quinoa/Cucumber/Avocado for breakfast and Cauliflower Miracle Noodles

What is your signature style? I love dresses that fall just above the knee and too high stilettos. But that’s only when I go out. I generally am I sweats or pjs (since I work from home).

What Country would you most like to live? Italy or Switzerland. I also love Finland. Of course, there’s nothing like Santa Monica.

Favorite color? Hot Pink. I call it “QuickieChick Pink” It makes me happy.

Favorite flower? Lotus. Unfortunately it only blooms 2 months a year- just like my favorite foods- White Truffles and fresh Dates on the stem. I think it’s a form of torture… that my favorite things are only available to me for a limited time. I also love “smelly” flowers like White Stargazer Lillies, Gardenias and Orange Blossoms- of course both are too delicate to put in a vase.

What Natural/Green/Organic beauty product can’t you live without? Jurlique Herbal Recovery Serum, Young Blood Liquid Mineral Foundation, Burt’s Bees Honey Lip Balm, Bare Escentuals Cheerful Blush

Mascara or lipstick? Mascara

Shower or bath? Showers to get clean. Baths to get calm.

What is your favorite part of your Body? My stomach

Vogue or New York Times? Both

Favorite blog? TheBlush and FabFitFun

What is the best part about your beauty routine? It’s fast. I think it takes me a total of maybe 4 minutes- maybe. If I am showering, its 15 minutes before I’m out the door. If I’m showering AND washing/blowing dry my hair- 30 minutes and out.

What is your beauty motto? No matter how pretty your face is, it’s your smile and energy that makes you beautiful.

One wish right now… at this very second… for a red velvet cupcake to be delivered to my door that magically won’t be stuck to my thighs in the morning.

MORE LONG-WINDED

Tell us more about yourself and your site. 

I am Laurel House, a healthy lifestyle expert and dating mentor, 4x published author, personal trainer and the “QuickieChick.” Since I was 23 I have worked for myself, leaving the corporate world to pursue writing. I sold my first book when I was 24 while simultaneously writing about fitness, travel, beauty, dating, and health as an editor for Fit and Fit Yoga Magazines as well as contributing to Men’s Journal, Playboy, Spa, and Elegant Bride. As a magazine writer covering lifestyle (basically everything from fitness to diets, travel to sex), I have had the opportunity to pack a lot of life into my 34 years, essentially being paid to experience, test, and write about how to be a fit, well fed, awesomely traveled chick. Soon I was hired as a television spokesperson for companies like Dunkin’ Donuts (their Latte lite), Hoover Vacuums, Wishbone salad spritzer, Olay body wash, Del Monte fruit cups, even KY Intense.

Beyond writing, I am a collector of knowledge- experience based knowledge to be exact. From getting married (and divorced) at a young age, to becoming a journalist entrepreneur, I have never been afraid to push the limits, take risks, prove myself and others wrong (or right), and make mistakes. For years I have said that the great thing about the mistakes I have made is that there is always a lesson! Finally, I am taking those lessons and living…

I am kind of the do-everything chick, but I don’t always have the time to actually do EVERYthing, so I am always looking for easy and effective solutions to maintain my fast-paced lifestyle while traveling all over the country, maintaining a relationship and my sanity!

QuickieChick is basically the platform for all of those life lessons and lifestyle expertise, brought together into one quick and concise concept, which St. Martin’s bought as a book. The book and brand have since been featured on E! News, Fox News, and in Glamour.com, Fitness.com, Shape, SheKnows, Seventeen.com, and lots of other magazines. I am also a contributor to FabFitFun.com, TheCollegeTownLife.com, TheBlush.com and I have a QuickieChick channel on Yahoo! Shine. Plus, my Quickie YouTube videos have received over 9 million views. Really, the whole concept began on YouTube when I was the Fit Life expert for ExerciseTV. I posted a video- a QuickieWorkout in Bed, a workout that I actually do and have done for years since coming up with the concept in college. But I didn’t come up with it with the idea of it becoming a brand. It was just a way of getting my body back after a pretty bad injury.

When I was a dance major in college I severed several ligaments in my ankle- snap. As I fell… I knew it was over. I walked, or was supposed to walk, on crutches for 6 months. I gained a lot of weight, became very depressed, and sort gave up in a lot of ways. My life had always been extremely active, and for the first time ever, I was forced to slow down. Since I drove a stick shift car and it was my left ankle, the handicap bus dropped me off at school. Eventually I started going to physical therapy and, while my favorite part was the massage, I was required to do upper body cardio workouts on special in-office equipment in order to maintain my cardio health and regain my physical strength. In a few weeks I was starting to return to my pre-injury weight. My smile started sneaking back onto my face. After a month, not only had I lost the weight, but I was leaner and more toned than I had ever been. And I still was not walking. Once physical therapy was over I replicated many of the moves at home. But, since I was lazy with my up keep, I recreated many of the exercises, even started making up my moves just by wriggling my body and seeing what muscles were being engaged. Then I simply gave those exercises names- like “concert” where you wave your hands side to side up in the air, “rope pull” where your body is the center of the rope and you are being pulled by each side, and “back pedaling” where you are holding the imaginary pedals of a bike and pedaling them backwards towards your face. Since I was the most comfortable in bed, that’s where I did them. Surprisingly, I kept the weight off. And so the Quickie Workout in Bed concept was created.

Why did you decide to start your blog?  What has been your favorite part about it?

One of the things I also love about learning is then teaching- paying it forward. QuickieChick’s Cheat Sheet is like the Cliff Notes version to life for chicks.

After the first Quickie Workout in Bed got 1 million views in just a couple of days, I expanded the “Quickie” video concept into other habits and areas that I multitasked with sometimes unconventional solutions- like Bites with Benefits (recipes and shopping lists with purpose… fat burning, beautifying, de-puffing, etc), Refrigerator Facials (turning a $1 ingredient into a $150 spa-quality facial), and dating advice (the extracted lessons learned…), and realized that there’s a quickie for everything.

My favorite part of writing the blog and then the book was when I would read certain post or parts of the book to other chicks or send it off to my 26year old sister to read and they were immediately engrossed, asking more questions and telling me how relevant it was in their life at that exact moment. Seeing the possibility of it inspiring, helping, igniting passion, and even changing the lives of other chicks… I loved it!

The greatest challenge was probably editing myself. I have a lot more to say, but this book covers so many different topics that I couldn’t dig quite as deeply into any one. Hopefully there will be more QuickieChick books, each with a specific focus so that I can really dig into the topics without having to cut myself off. It may be about “quick” but there are LOTS of tips that are quick.

 You call yourself a “QuickieChick.”  What is a “QuickieChick” and what is the lifestyle?

Just as “quickies” are fun, exciting, sometimes unconventional, resourceful, efficient, sexy, quick, in the moment, and always (or almost always) instantly gratifying… so is a Quickie Lifestyle. These aren’t long overdrawn processes that require prep-work, expensive equipment, patience and perseverance. They are right now. Oh, and it’s all done on a budget (because you don’t need to be wined, dined and stay in a 5 star hotel to have a quickie… do you?). Even beyond the fun and fast, LifeQuickies are about seeing that every experience, break up, lost job, screw up, embarrassment, success… (yes, even bummers have benefits) they all have a “net net,” an extracted message… a quickie lesson you can learn that just might change your mind, your path, or simply give you a different perspective, tweak your way of thinking, or make life (or just the task at hand) a little easier.

Upping your metabolism or your sex drive, easing a bad mood or a hangover, feeling better after a heartbreak or a hard workout, even faking a perfect body before a big date or faking confidence before a big meeting… there’s pretty much a quickie solution for every facet of life.

In the end, you may be a do-everything chick who lacks patience as a virtue and doesn’t have a lot of time to get a lot done, but you still need those extracts of information to help you achieve a better, more fulfilled and fabulous life. And since you don’t have enough time, patience or energy to have all of the full lesson-revealing life experiences yourself, I’ve done the dirty work for you and now, in a nut shell, here it is… quickie tips for fast-paced chicks- like you and me too. QuickieChick is your cheat sheet to life.

What are your favorite beauty product brands? What do you like about those brands?

-ANSR. It’s an led little beauty machine that I swear immediately zaps pimples, helps minimize wrinkles, and has been a godsend to my stress-induced eczema.

-Murad. I love that they take a complete beauty approach- inside and outside. I take their Firm and Tone Supplement packs a.m. and p.m. which I swear have saved my face, makes my nails strong, my hair healthy, and helps to fight against the unfortunate body signs of aging. I also use their cleaners, creams, and spf.

-Maybelline Great Lash Mascara. I won’t leave home without it (unless I’m going on a hike, running errands, or to workout). It’s inexpensive, you can buy it at the pharmacy, and it is fabulous!

How do you save money and look beautiful at the same time? What advice can you give to our readers?

I maintain a simple daily beauty routine that is ingrained in my life no matter how tired, sick, or rushed I am. I wash my face in the morning. Apply face serum followed by spf. I drink green tea ALL DAY. I mean- 8 cups a day! I even put a bag in my water bottle when I go out- no need for hot water. At night, I wash my face- ALWAYS. Then apply face serum, night cream and under eye cream. “I don’t have time” is not an excuse. It takes only about 1 minute! I also do weekly Refrigerator Facials! One of my faves is the Salsa Facial- It’s just Tomato (anti-aging and antioxidant) plus lemon Lemon (skin lightener/ balances hyper-pigmentation)- squeeze a small amount of juice out or each (2 parts tomato and 1 part lemon). Mix the mix together. Brush it on your face. Leave on for 5 minutes. Wash off. Your skin will be glowing and visibly refreshed.

What are your favorite things to do in your free time?

-Walk (or hike) and Talk with girlfriends. Instead of going out for drinks (which I sometimes do to), my social hour (or several) is also cardio hour. We get our hearts going and express what’s on our minds. It’s a great way to connect, think clearly, get some sage advice, and burn calories all at the same time!

-Drive up to Santa Barbara for a quick weekend away! It’s my exhale.

-Since I travel a lot for work, I like to stay home and veg-out watching Chopped on the Food Network, Top Chef/Masters (whichever is on) on Bravo, Snapped, or CSI Miami. I also like to watch movies at home.

-Yoga! I’m telling you… find a kick-butt and inspiring teacher and you will have the toughest, most detoxifying, balancing, sweat-dripping workout!

-Dining! I am a serious foodie and I love to try new places as well as go-to favorites. I’m all about Dim Sum for breakfast on the weekends. And I am obsessed with Red Velvet Cupcakes!

-Sitting in the backyard reading the newspaper and watching my pups wrestle on the grass. Makes me the happiest chick on the planet.

What are some of your favorite “quickie” fixes for “wardrobe malfunctions,” such as a run on a pair of tights, a tear, a loose button?

I am all about safety pins and make sure to keep them everywhere- in my wallet, my car, desk drawer. They are a great instant fix for a loose hem, quickly turning long pants into capris, adding an extra button to a too revealing blouse, attaching your shirt to your bra so it stops showing. I am also big into sharpies. The black is perfect for touching up black stilettos that have a little scratch and covering up a deodorant stain on a black top. For a run in a pair of tights, I go old school on that one: clear nail polish is the best fix. My mom taught me that one. And I always carry a mini sewing kit in my purse. Lots of hotels have them in the bathroom as an amenity… It’s a great souvenir!

What’s your favorite DIY skincare “quickie”? (A favorite homemade cleanser? Mask?)

Salsa Refrigerator Facial! Tomato (anti-aging and antioxidant) plus lemon Lemon (skin lightener/ balances hyper-pigmentation)- squeeze a small amount of juice out or each (2 parts tomato and 1 part lemon). Mix the mix together. Brush it on your face. Leave on for 5 minutes. Wash off. Your skin will be glowing and visibly refreshed.

Any on-the-go tips for makeup mistakes? (Raccoon eye, caked makeup?)

Forget your blush and need to give your cheek some instant life? Use a smear of lip gloss on each cheek! Just rub it in and you will immediately awaken your face! Mascara smudge on your eye lid? Wait for it to dry, then take a eye shadow brush (or just use your finger) and smear it all over the lid, creating a smoky eye effect. Add a swear to the other lid too to make them even.

You say women should reserve 25% of pre-tax income for rent; how much should women reserve for beauty/fashion items? 

Depends on how important they are to you, if you have to dress and look a certain way for your job, and what kind of base you are starting with. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to redo your wardrobe. Beauty and Fashion Buffets with your friends, shopping in your own closet, ebay, and 2nd had stores are easy ways to update your style without dipping into your savings.

How can we curb the urge to impulse buy?

Make a list and check it as many times as you need, but DON’T BUY OFF IT. If there is something you see that isn’t on your list, but is an essential, ask yourself what you are buying it for, do you really need it, is it worth the extra money?

Any DIY ideas that can help cut wedding costs?  

Get your dress from a 2nd had store. Dresses can be a huge cost of the wedding. You can shave a lot off just from that. If you don’t like the idea of wearing someone else’s dress, do a “cleansing ceremony” with it and “smudge” it- a traditional Native American ritual that removes bad energy from places and things.

If you’re crafty, make the invitations. They are surprisingly easy and can save you a bundle. Just go to card stores, check out the selections, and think about what you want yours to look like.

Forget the florist! Assign a bridesmaid to go to the flower mart in your town or connect with a farmer who grows flowers, and put together simple, chic, and cheap arrangements the morning of, or the day before the wedding. Instead of vases, use glass mason jars, water glasses, and other glass containers. The eclectic look can be fun without being funky.

Instead of an open bar, create a couple of signature cocktails and just serve those. It’s a fun way to save some money and add a bit more individual flare to the big event!

 

 

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