Tag Archives: philosophy

standing in my truth with shoes that finally fit

Unpublished Work © 2011 Cristina Carlino

cristina carlinomy last two blogs i wrote about “hands and knees” – a song i co-wrote with my friend, stuart mathis, two years after i sold my majority interest in philosophy. the lyrics speak to the effects i saw corporate america having on the women i worked with and loved as my own days at philosophy came to an end.  “honey i’m beat” is the cry of each chorus.   what i could not see at the time was how truly beat i was as well as a working woman failing as an executive chairman by day and, too often as a mother and partner by night.  i was on route to my own break that was decades in the making.   this is my story and truth that i have shared only with those closest to me until now as i near the end of my time as a spokesperson for philosophy.

to start, i began working when i was 16. i had always been an excellent student in high school who graduated with not enough courage or self worth to go to college so i signed up for  vocational beauty school with a friend  so i could learn to cut hair by day with fantasies of singing in her band by night. i was a failure at beauty school and dropped out at one point.  eventually i returned and earned my hours by working as the school’s receptionist.  looking back, what i was proficient at was understanding the physiology of hair, skin and nails. i loved it.  i just couldn’t read enough about it.  soon after i graduated, i went into business for myself with the help of my mother. i began putting fairly sophisticated product lines and procedures together for doctors based on my experience as their patient who suffered from both acne and very sensitive skin. when i was  29,  i founded biomedic and at age 36, philosophy.  all expected of me by no one. especially me. i loved my life and the success of the companies. biomedic was a brain child and philosophy a love child. i thought of them as my babies until at age 40 when i got pregnant for the first time. also unexpected.  i finally got to look up from my desk long enough to ask, “what am i doing?”.

soon i realized, like so many working moms, that i wasn’t doing well as both a working woman and a mom. i knew the first time i looked in grace’s eyes that my own personal available decision would be to  put my company up for sale as soon as it was ready.  that time came and the buyer was an iconic wall street corporation.  when i sold philosophy,  the plan was i would  step down as ceo and still be  the executive chairman and creative life force working 20 hours a week from home or the office which  was perfect as it took little  time away from my daughter. the security of that role was important to me because creating was what i did and i was still deeply invested in the brand. be that as it may, my truth was that my heart would prove to be far too soft for big corporate america.  at philosophy, we operated as friends and family, which was all i knew, and for me that type of culture really worked.  now i was a creative visionary that had been moved from a sandbox into what felt like a giant battlefield  with tanks coming through.

soon there would be all new heads of heads and my creative vision was just in the way of the new direction they wanted to take the brand. i realized i had sold a home with myself in it.  it was hard on everyone and brutal on me the day i got a call that my creative services were no longer needed.

although i had gotten what i wanted in  the  privilege of being able to be with my daughter,  decades of what i thought was my  identity as a business creator were swooped away in a phone call.  that call sent me into the dark.

today, after four years under the brilliance and expertise of the carlyle group,  philosophy has a new home with coty and i couldn’t be happier. we all get along beautifully.   while i have clocked a lot of time as a home mommy which i love more than anything, my life, like everyone else’s still has its share of stress, fear and resistance to more change.  and yet for me the truth is still i have never felt so much at peace.

that said, the truth is also that an event, a phone call, may appear to change our lives in an instant, but the emotional transition is never an event.  it is a process.  and mine has been a long ongoing often very painful one.  the call that  put me face to face with what i named my “beautiful beast” became a next  song for me and  a mid life  journey and journal that i will share you with you soon.

ultimately it is about what connects us to what truly matters – the moment and our capacity to love not just others but ourselves enough to say “enough”!

with peace and gratitude,






fate is chance, destiny is choice

cristina carlino

Unpublished Work © 2011 Cristina Carlino

about fifteen years ago, i scribbled those words on a piece of paper.  i didn’t  know where they came from or who said it first if it wasn’t me,  but those words were  one of the first of dozens of  messages i would write for the outside of skin and body care  bottles for philosophy, the company i founded in the brand new year of l996.  to create a second skincare company was my very conscious choice back then, although i did not at first know its name or at all what the company would become. philosophy became and remains in its own new way, a most wonderful  part of my life’s destiny.

today, i find myself thinking of that line again and what it can mean to our lives in this brand new year of 2011.  for me, rather than resolutions of what i’d like to do, i am looking at what i want to choose.   fate is chance  – what appears  to occur as an unplanned reunion,  buying  the winning raffle ticket,  or who you are seated next to in the movies,  destiny is choice-  a deep desire. if you are choosing positively , it will be courageous, exciting and very conscious.    as for all of the outcomes, they  all belong to a divine order.

so  today i choose to make conscious choices  and for this moment to start with what i won’t  be choosing rather than what i will be choosing .

l.  i won’t  choose past lives. i choose this one ,

2011 can be so much more original than just a sequel to 2010.  the less clinging to the past, the more enlivening my today.

2. i choose the future. i am choosing to be where i am.

when i look down at my feet and can be right where they are now, my dreams for the future are germinating in the rich soil i stand on.

3. i won’t choose gridlock.  i will find a new path when the one i am on is taking me nowhere.

choose to tell the  truth about what may  just be  persistence to making a closed door open  when in fact there is an open door just waiting for me at the other side of the room.

4. i won’t choose more walks then naps. dreaming can take me anywhere

and always in the divine magical privacy of my very own world.

5. i won’t choose mindless over mindful.

this includes not watching any reality tv show where a woman can’t stop eating toilet paper.

6. i won’t choose sugar. why add to my mood swings?

although it’s a hidden  ingredient in more foods than we know, i won’t choose the ones where sugar’s glistening on top.

7. i won’t choose to choose people, clothes or shoes that don’t make me either feel better or look good

choosing  the wrong things and people is an act of self hate and self sabotage. 

8.  i won’t choose guilt. i’ll embrace the words, “ i am doing my best.”

opening the door to guilt is just putting out a welcome mat for everything  in the world being your fault when very little has anything to do with you.

9. i won’t choose lies. not even little ones.

the little ones don’t stay little for long.  and the ones we tell ourselves hurt the most of all.

10. i  won’t choose gossip. it can ruin the life of another.

as well as my own.  i am so grateful to have discovered that gossiping feels physically awful.

11. i won’t choose to let others make important choices for me.   i choose for me.

unless you are a child, nobody else can know what is right for you.

and i am choosing above-all, to be here and awake in the moment as much as i possibly can.  because this moment  is where my joy of just being lives and my best, most conscious and courageous choices are always  made.  i am staying in a loving partnership with God, the master planner. for 2011, i choose faith knowing that whatever the divine’s outcomes, i will grow and blossom.  when you think of it, who could have created a greater adventure?

let the good times roll.

peace and blessings

make a joyful noise

Unpublished Work © 2011 Cristina Carlino

i have been spending  a wonderful summer vacation  in new york city.  i don’t  come to manhattan  looking for peace and quiet.  i come to change it up.  this is an island with no shortage of noise and noisy people trying to be heard above the noise.  what comes with it is also an unmatchable energy, innovation, invention and rhythm.  and then there is “Stomp – The Musical” that my daughter, grace and i went to see the other day on broadway.   if you aren’t familiar, stomp is a group of performers who create an extraordinary symphony of music , dance and colors using  unconventional percussion  instruments from brooms to garbage can lids, poles, to pounds of sand, bananas, basketballs and seemingly endless possibilities – including, literally, the kitchen sink.  as a child, i loved banging on pots and pans and so did grace.  they were our favorite and most fascinating household instruments.

now these professionally played pots and pans were dazzling to listen to plus the muscles on the arms of these musicians  were strong and beautiful to look at. it reminded me how strong our spiritual muscles can grow when we create our own rhythms, break a few rules and take a risk to dance to the beat of a different drummer.  our dream  takes off and we may  have someone or thousands of people snapping their fingers and clapping along with us. i know this to be true from how we started  philosophy.

theodore  roosevelt  said, ”do what you can, where you are, with what you have.” when i first read that quote  it took time  to sink in. it helped me open to the truth that the answer to my needs is often right in front of my nose. but always  somehow my need,  (not always my want),  is always supplied. a garbage lid, a spatula drum stick, a stomping foot to keep the beat. in the beginning years of philosophy,  we were told we needed models and professional photo shoots to show our new products. but we just didn’t have the budget for it. what we did have was our own pictures. lots of them. granted they were our pictures from childhood but they were already shot, free and became part of our brand.  To this day they work.

Stomp is a dream of two gifted people. once upon a time, thousands of years ago, the stick was an origin of rhythm and music . and so, thank god, we go.  the beat goes on.  our dreams are the mother of invention. we make a joyful noise.  and we do not give up faith that all of our needs will be met  one by one, right where we are to help us keep making it.

CEW Women in Beauty Series

Unpublished Work © 2011 Cristina Carlino

CEW Women in Beauty Series – West Coast
Couldn’t make it to the event? Well now you can connect with it anyways! On Tuesday, June 15th, Cristina Carlino, founder of philosophy, shared her insights, anecdotes and recommendations with Jill Scalamandre, CMO, Chrysallis, and CEW Chairwoman, to over 300 attendees at “Top 10 List: How to Build A Beauty Brand,” a CEW Women in Beauty Series event.

The discussion was held at the Fairmont Miramar in Santa Monica, CA. Attendees had the opportunity to network with colleagues at an informal, pre-event cocktail reception followed by the moderated program.

Some great quotes from Cristina and her Top 10 List:

“A brand, in my opinion, is based on the people who create it, co-create it, and help it grow. The “culture” of the company is the primary foundation on which any great brand is built.”

“There is plenty of room at the top, it’s the bottom that’s crowded”

“The product has to be a game changer”

1. Innovation, Efficacy and elegance. Are you innovation driven, price driven or service driven and why you can’t be all three?

2. Consistency, quality control and excellence. Why people don’t go to a restaurant once they have had a bad experience?

3. Authenticity, messaging, packaging. Why you need to be first rather than a fast follower?

4. Staying on brand message: tell the story and stick with it. Why you need to limit the amount of fingertips touching the brand?

5. Distribution strategy. Masstige versus prestige?

6. Supply chain and staying in stock. Product needs to be on the shelf based on supply, operations, and margin.

7. Merchandising and education. Inquiring minds need to know. Sensory people need visual stimulation. Everyone likes “law and order”

8. Multimedia and social networking. Why is hearing the customer and telling them the truth so important?

9. Philanthropy. What does the customer care about? What does the company care about? Why?

10. Building employees and customers and rewarding them in big and small ways. How?

At CEW’s Women in Beauty Series, leading women offer insights into beauty industry issues and inspiration for professional growth. This event was generously sponsored by Kaplow PR, Kolmar Laboratories, Nyx Cosmetics, Ungerer & Company, Nordstrom, Ole Henriksen, Neutrogena, Stila Cosmetics, Ouidad, Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare, WWD BeautyBiz, MaCher and Fairmont Miramar Santa Monica Hotel.