Five Rules For Life: Liesa Goins

Bloomingdale’s copywriter Liesa Goins is one of the smartest gals in the biz (seriously, one article I did for her on hairdryers required research of quantum physics–never let anyone tell you beauty is for idiots) and also one of the most hilarious. This Cosmopolitan and Women’s Health veteran also boasts a degree from Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, in addition to a somehow never-faded ravishing red mane. She frequently advises me on the ways of the world, so I thought she could share a thing or two with all of you. Here, Liesa’s Five Rules.

1. Go to the bright side.
Fashion in Manhattan is a sea of black. While I can’t argue with how easy and uncomplicated a monochrome wardrobe can be, I also find it boring and uninspiring to dress like I’m ready for a funeral. Maybe it’s my skim-milk complexion, but I just don’t look chic in the somber shade like so many of my colleagues do. So my closet is full of jewel tones and patterns that feel happy to me. Wearing deep purple, emerald green or electric blue is my Prozac and possibly Ritalin – I feel calmer, more composed and generally more cheerful in color. Color is memorable, can be unexpected and a bit risky; it tells people who you are and projects personality – essential qualities for anyone looking to stand out from the wall-to-wall black outfits in a room.
2. Makeup is not an Ikea dresser.
I spent the first two decades of my life convinced that makeup, much like Scandinavian furniture, was too complicated for me to attempt understanding. After living with a couple of women who are very low-maintenance and very put together, I learned that looking good doesn’t have to involve an instruction manual and hours of stress. If getting out the door requires convoluted assembly and possibly an allen wrench, you’re working too hard. After about 30 minutes of effort, there are diminishing returns on how much better you look than when you started. Laboring over your hair and makeup creates a visual effect equivalent to a janky Ikea dresser with drawers that don’t close properly. The most beautiful women are more ABC Carpet & Home – their beauty comes from looking effortless and having their own unique style.
3. Send a thank-you.
Growing up, I wasn’t allowed to play with a single Christmas gift or spend a dollar of my birthday money until I wrote a thank you note. And that rule is one I still follow. Taking the time to acknowledge a person’s kindness is always worth the effort. I try to show my appreciation for anyone who’s made a thoughtful gesture or done something to make my life easier. Gratitude is seriously underrated and showing a little makes a big difference in how people treat you.
4. Enjoy every bite.
Dieting isn’t something I’m good at. But I have developed one philosophy that works: I try to make sure every calorie I consume is worth it. So if I’m going to have dessert, it has to be something I really want, not just flan or whatever because it’s available. (Who craves flan anyway?) I try stop eating when I’m full and before the waistband of my Spanx rolls over. This helps me avoid some of the mindless eating that keeps me out of skinny jeans.
5. Don’t point out the negative.
I’m still working on breaking this habit, but just about every woman I know is guilty of this. Here’s how this usually plays out:
Compliment Giver: Your hair looks great today.
Me: Really? It’s dirty and I need to have my roots done and I think it smells like buffalo wings.
CG: ummm

Why is it so hard to simply say “thank you”? There’s no need to point out what you think is wrong with yourself if another person is telling you what’s right. And 99.999% of the time, the only reason someone notices a negative quality is because you help them find it.

Thanks, Liesa! Stay tuned for more Five Rules installments. “Five Rules,” is a series on Rouge18 in which I ask others to share their five rules for life about anything and everything. You can learn a lot about a person by reading which five things govern their actions, no? 

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