Girl Friday: Ashley Fauset

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Photography by: Kristen Honey

 It is my profound pleasure to introduce you to Ashley Fauset.  With a penchant for puns and a touch of the sarcastic, Ashley is a refined nest of contradictions – one who is equally comfortable cracking a can of PBR or wearing a stunning pair of Louboutins. She is my favorite type-A personality, meticulous and detail-oriented, while still managing to emanate an effortless beauty that belies the administrator crunching numbers in her head.  Perhaps that is from her years as a dancer where she learned such control with grace, or from her past life as an event planner that taught her to be the perfect host amidst a perfect storm. Likely it is from her current role as mother where she has had to juggle time, space and emotions while still finding time to take a ballet class.   Ashley keeps us all in line here at Move, making sure we dot our I’s and cross our T’s, while also adding so much to our team with her work ethic and aesthetic.  I hope you will enjoy learning a little bit more about her.

How did you get involved in Move?
Autumn, Jenn and I have been writing our own blogs for the past few years, so awhile back, we formed a small group of female bloggers that met weekly– almost like  blogging ‘study hall.’  After about a year the group began to fade, but the three of us kept meeting, continuing to inspire and motivate each other. It was Autumn’s eventual idea to launch a collaborative site where we could join forces to not only reduce the individual pressure of posting daily, but to learn, grow and support one another in the process.

How would you describe your style & what role does fashion play in your life?
[quote_right]Chasing after my one-year-old boy has shifted my daily wardrobe dramatically.[/quote_right]My style is sophisticated and simplistic. I tend to gravitate toward classic lines and timeless styles- A-line dresses, pencil skirts, peep-toe heels, cropped cardigans. Chasing after my one-year-old boy has shifted my daily wardrobe dramatically. Now I’m clad in cigarette jeans, a Splendid tank and Toms most any day a week, but I look for any excuse to throw on a cocktail dress and step into a pair of Jimmy Choos. I’d label my style as chic minimalism.

What would you say is the definition of chic?
Chic is the epitome of femininity. It’s sleek, tailored, sophisticated, and timeless, with clean lines that flatter your figure. I think of Edith Head’s famous quote: “Your clothes should be tight enough to show you’re a woman but loose enough to show you’re a lady.”

Does being an event planner spill into your everyday life?
I’ve always been a planner, even before I started working in events. In junior high, I would plan out my afternoons on notebook paper, blocking out and scheduling every hour between the time I left school until the time I’d go to bed. I’m slightly less compulsive now, especially as a mom, but I constantly amend my methods of daily tasks to achieve maximum efficiency, from the way I fill the dish rack to planning routes to run my errands.

As a new mom, you are often forced to make a hard choice: aesthetics or functionality. Which do you value more?
To me, functionality definitely outweighs the importance of aesthetics. That said, I still shy away from much of the mainstream obnoxious toys and baby gear. I’m finding it’s possible to have both. I do a lot of careful research before purchasing items for my son, and so far, have been pretty successful in finding things that are both aesthetically pleasing and practical. The only drawback is that the cost is almost always higher for the prettier things. The wooden toys are always more than plastic ones. I offset the difference by choosing to buy fewer, more carefully selected items for him. The same goes for clothing. I found a pair of grey skinny Marc Jacobs jeans on sale and bought them for my son. It was a totally worthwhile purchase. He wore them all the time and fit into them for 11 months!

I saw a picture of you and your infant son at a concert at the El Rey, your son is quite an adventurer! What do you attribute that to?
[quote_left]I’ve taken my son to a handful of concerts and museums, to outdoor cinema and music events.[/quote_left]My husband and I are very laid-back when it comes to our parenting style. As artists, it’s very important to us to expose our son to music, art and culture, which is one of the reasons we live in Los Angeles. I’ve taken my son to a handful of concerts and museums, to outdoor cinema and music events. I think it helps shape his character and sparks a little light in his mind. He’s a very engaged and interested little guy, and I hope he continues to be that way.

I know you travel often with your son. Do you have any essential travel tips?
Simplicity is key when traveling with a one year old, especially when flying. I learned to pare down my packing, especially what I stash in my carry-on bag. I learned the hard way about gate-checking my nice stroller, sadly. (Damn you, Delta!) Buying a small umbrella stroller for the airport is definitely worth the twenty dollars they cost.

You have a love affair with all things French. What are some of your favorite Francophile things?
I can’t live without Champagne. [quote_right]I can’t live without Champagne. Well, I could, but I’d prefer not to.[/quote_right]Well, I could, but I’d prefer not to. I absolutely love  macarons from Ladurée. They have the most exquisite flavors like Blackcurrant Violet and Cherry Blossom. I rarely wear perfume, but when I do, it’s Hermes Un Jardin sur la Nil. The scent is perfect; light, citrusy and alluring.  I’ve also been collecting pieces from Louis Vuitton over the years, which is a bit of an indulgence, but I only buy them when I’m actually in France; they’re my fancy souvenirs. My favorite is my Pomme D’Amour Vernis wallet. It was the first piece I bought, and I still use it every day.

How did being a dancer influence your self image?
I think it’s impossible to avoid body-image issues as a ballet dancer. Mirrors are essential tools in classical dance training. It’s a way to gauge if your movements are at the right angles, and facing the correct direction; to keep spacing and time while moving through the studio space. I spent countless hours a week staring in the mirror, aware of each and every curve and line, judging my body in its kinetic state. I always had minor complaints about my body in general, but it wasn’t until college that I developed an eating disorder. I counted calories obsessively. While my roommates went out, I spent Friday and Saturday nights at the gym, exercising for hours. When my efforts didn’t produce the results I wanted, I dove into a tailspin of full-blown anorexia, refusing to eat for days at a time; punishing myself for moments of weakness at the end of the day when I’d break down and eat a quarter of a bagel. It was ugly, unhealthy, and ultimately made me even unhappier. Transferring schools and leaving behind the influences that enabled my anorexia helped me change my habits and get back to a healthy weight.

What do you consider to be your hardest won or most treasured life lesson?
It’s so hard for me to answer this question without sounding cliché, but the most impactful lesson I’ve learned has been to not take anything for granted. Life is in a constant state of change, and where I am today is not necessarily where I’ll be tomorrow. I lost my mother to pancreatic cancer eight years ago. [quote_left]Life is in a constant state of change, and where I am today is not necessarily where I’ll be tomorrow.[/quote_left]I watched her take her last breath. Although I was well aware of her diagnosis and life expectancy, a voice in my head kept me calm, lied to me, told me there was still a lot of time before she’d be gone, and so I didn’t take advantage of the time between her diagnosis and death. There were conversations I wanted to have; questions that will forever go unanswered. I regret my cheery, sugar-coated demeanor, and wish I would have had the courage to have a painful heart-to-heart chat with her. After several months of being ill, there was a moment in which she tried to tell me she was going to die. She had been to the doctor that morning; the prognosis was grim. I blasted her with sunshine, foolishly telling her that we’d figure something out. I cheated myself out of an opportunity to share an honest and excruciating moment; the opportunity for me to tell her how scared I was; for her to tell me the same. It was the last coherent conversation we had before her mind succumbed to the prescribed Oxycontin. I wish desperately I would have handled that moment differently.

What are your best go-to beauty products?
For face: Pure Oxygen Crystal Cleanser from SKN Beverly Hills, NARS tinted moisturizer, Jane Iredale pressed mineral powder, Rosebud Minted Rose lip balm. For hair: Bumble and Bumble Brilliantine styling creme. And for body, I love Kiehl’s Creme de Corps body lotion. It’s luxurious and creamy and leaves my skin soft and glowing.

You love coffee, tell us about the role caffeine plays in your daily life.
Believe it or not, I was a tea-drinker for many years, fancying myself more refined than the coffee-drinkers I knew. Then one day, a new coffee boutique opened in my neighborhood. It changed my entire life’s trajectory. I had never before tasted coffee quite like what they serve.  [quote_right]I love the ritual of making coffee[/quote_right]I love the ritual of making coffee: I open the tin of beans, inhale the aroma that swirls up toward my nose; pour beans in the burr grinder; the grounds into my French press. I wait (im)patiently for the grounds and water to make their magic, then depress the plunger and pour into my favorite cup. The first sip is always the best; rich and velvety.

What are you most enjoying learning about yourself lately? How has motherhood shaped your image of your self?
I have always been labeled as a Type A personality, an over-achiever, meticulous. These traits serve me well in the working world, being essential to event planning. Mothering a toddler is a constant game of spontaneity; I’m making decisions on the fly throughout the day. I’m finding space to let little things go nowadays. I am in a transitional stage where I’m finding a better balance to life. I allow myself time to relax, and am less critical of myself for doing so.

Do you have a favorite quote you live by?
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” I love the cheekiness of this, though it does ring true to me. I am definitely observant of the world and the people around me. Learning from others is invaluable.

What advice do you have for younger women who may be following in your footsteps?
Anyone who has hopes of being an event planner, and more specifically, a wedding planner, should learn to develop a thick skin. As a perfectionist and hopeless people-pleaser, it was challenging for me to learn not take things personally. [quote_left]it’s almost impossible to avoid day-of surprises, no matter how flawless the plan may be[/quote_left]Not every aspect of an event can be scheduled, and it’s almost impossible to avoid day-of surprises, no matter how flawless the plan may be. Learning to think on my feet and to solve problems as fast as they arise was the key to my success as a planner.

How do you see your future?
That’s such a big question. In the next few years, I’d like to take a couple trips abroad, continue teaching my son to swim, (and to do everything else), find time to go on dates with my husband, and maybe have another baby. I’d like to see Move LifeStyle gain a solid community of engaged readers, and I hope that my writings inspire some of them.

Girl Friday is a phrase more common to the 1940s and 50s, defined as “a female employee who has a wide range of duties,” and is most recognizable from the film His Girl Friday. Here at Move LifeStyle, we’re resurrecting its saucy vibe for the title of our last column of the week which profiles inspiring women in the workforce.

Photography by: Kristen Honey