Friend of the Week – Karen Bard Sayah
Your City: Los Angeles, CA
Karen’s Whats – Winky Lux: This “lipstick” is clear with a teeny tiny flower embedded in it but when you put it on it reacts with your PH and makes your lips the most beautiful, just bitten version of themselves. It looks different on everyone! It’s the coolest for a casual lip.
Frame Denim’s Le Lara Original: I’m a mom so I wear mom jeans! This pair from Frame is really flattering because the waist is high and the leg opening is relatively slim. I like to pair them with a muscle tank. I am about to buy a Vision Street Wear one and wear with my Vans hi tops because I want to look like 80s Jon Cusack!
Bitch Sesh: A Real Housewives Breakdown Show Podcast: Bitch Sesh is a Real Housewives breakdown show hosted by the hilarious Casey Wilson and Danielle Schneider. I actually walked up to Casey at synagogue on Rosh Hashanah and told her how much I loved the podcast. Inappropriate.
Westworld, Transparent, and Billy on the Street: I got pretty into Westworld and recently binged Transparent. I know I am late to the Transparent game but I got way obsessed. I was taking to my bed every night at 8pm and watching 3.5 hours of it on my iPad. I also love Billy Eichner and like to watch him scream at unsuspecting pedestrians.
Dang Coconut Chips: I am addicted to them. It’s a bad scene.
FRIEND OF THE WEEK: 11 QUESTIONS
1. Nickname: Kar, K, KB, K to the B, Pooch or La Pooch (it’s what my husband has taken to calling me), Bardo, Kiki.
2. What’s your short story? It goes from east to west…I was born in New England, Greenwich, CT to be exact, and then I started to creep my way across the country. I wound up in Madison, Wisconsin for college and upon graduating headed straight to San Francisco. I was in SF for close to 14 years—experienced the tail end of the boom and lived the bust, hustling with Gina and Amy at Splendora for 6+ years and then went to help lead Fashion PR at eBay. I met my husband in 2007 and left SF for LA in 2012 with both a heavy heart and pregnant belly. Four years and 2 baby boys later, I’m just keeping it real in my home office. I have my own business and do PR and brand strategy for fashion and lifestyle brands and specialize in celeb and influencer programs. I may or may not be wearing a pair of Crocs right now. Don’t judge.
3. What’s your jam? Jay Z and Beyonce’s “Part II (On The Run)” is about as perfect of a jam as you can get, I literally think about it all of the time. My Instagram bio says that “Mr. Roboto” is my go-to karaoke number so that should give you an inkling of what I am into. I essentially like any song that I can perform an interpretive dance routine to. I have been known to bust out the Britney Spears “Toxic” choreo if egged on (sadly doesn’t take much convincing). I used to work in the music industry and in all seriousness, I love 80s new wave and 90s shoegaze like New Order, Slowdive, Spiritualized, Cocteau Twins, Psychedelic Furs, classic hip hop like the Beastie Boys and Eric B. and Rakim, Biz Markie, Biggie Smalls, and I can’t shake my love for Van Halen. But I am not entirely stuck in the past, I know all of today’s hot hits too! Ariana Grande, Major Lazer, Bruno Mars…you know, what the kids like. I take hip hop dance class almost everyday and channel my inner Janet Jackson while keeping it tight on the 5, 6, 7, 8. Shout out to my crew at LA Dancefit!
4. What motivates you? At the risk of sounding really corny, my husband and kids keep me on track. My husband works really hard, sometimes around the clock, and literally never complains. He keeps it in perspective and always positive. When I find myself getting all bananas because children are literally hanging off of every appendage on my body and screaming my name at full volume I pause and channel his can-do attitude and the kids inherent sweetness. Plus, nothing beats breathing in the warm scent of a 4 year old and 14 month old first thing in the morning. Heaven.
I also try to do a mitzvah everyday, even though some days I miss. Whether it’s holding the door for someone at pre-school, paying someone a compliment, or sending an unexpected note, niceness goes a long way.
In terms of work, making people happy is what motivates me. I like to tell people what’s cool and get them excited about it. I’ve been that way since I was a kid, a real people pleaser. My work mantra is like that Vanilla Ice lyric “if there was a problem, yo, I’ll solve it.” There’s always a solve. I have so many mentors! My good friend, work wife, and super creative, Andrea Linett, my LA business sisters Cara and Sharra, friends and leaders from my eBay days, my extended network, the list could go on and on. I ask their advice all of the time. Teamwork makes the dreamwork.
5. Who do you think you’d have great friend chemistry with? I can pretty much talk to anyone but if I had to pick a fantasy crew they would all be hysterical storytellers that were willing to dish. Hook me up with Andy Cohen, Derek Blasberg, Lena Dunam and Maya Rudolf and add in a dash of the divine Gwyneth and Ina Garten to feed and water us all and ratchet up the class factor. I mean, I like to get into it with braniacs too but if I am being completely honest I would rather laugh my ass off with the aforementioned gang.
6. What qualities do your favorite friends have in common? They are all funny, smart, curious, ass kickers. Quick with a joke, pithy quote / caption, and ability to talk pop culture with the seriousness of a Meet the Press roundtable. They are all good huggers too. I hate pat-pat huggers.
7. What’s the smartest, most inspiring, awesome thing you’ve read, watched, or listened to? A couple of years ago I discovered Casey Neistat’s movies and YouTube channel. This was way before he blew up and had his daily vlog and Beme. I got deep into Casey’s world and devoured his storytelling, watching all of his videos over the course of a few days. Something about the way he treated his son, Owen, and girlfriend / wife, Candice, on camera was more raw and honest than a lot of things I had seen. It reminded me to feel.
8. What whets your appetite? I am a major cook and cookie monster. I go to like 3-4 different grocery stores and farmer’s markets on a weekly basis. I cook almost every night during the week and rely on my cookbook club (group of ladies that I cook and text kibbitz with) for daily inspo. I experiment with new recipes all of the time and must have a full fridge and pantry. I’m not that precious about everything being organic or fancy but I try to keep things whole n’ healthy. I also frequent the kosher markets here in LA and all of my friends make fun of me because I’m like buying my kosher chicken alongside all of the Orthodox Jews, Persians, and Israelis and am able to my own amongst the piles of cucumbers, herbs, and cart stealing. My sister-in-laws trained me Ninja Warrior style about how to get in and out of Pico Glatt in one piece…”make sure to wave $2 at the butcher and then they will help you first.” I can’t even believe I just wrote that sentence.
9. What’s next on your To Do List? Going on a roller coaster. I am deathly afraid. I am going to challenge myself to go on the one at the Santa Monica Pier because it’s like for 5 year olds. That and experiencing a legit earthquake. Not that I actually want that to happen but it weighs on my mind so much that I feel like I need to get it over with so I can deal with my pervasive anxiety about it!
10. How are you friends with Gina + Amy? This will be more than a few words. The year was 2000 and I was looking for a new gig after being laid off from MTV’s interactive group. I knew about Splendora and was already a fan. I saw that they were looking for some sales people so I sent an email and hoped to hear back. Luckily Gina asked me to come in for an interview. I remember exactly what Gina was wearing: black dress, purple pashmina (when pashminas were SO expensive), and slingbacks. She remembers what I was wearing too. We spoke about the job and she kinda hired me on the spot. I remember thinking to myself, “Wait her name is Gina but is she Italian? No, she can’t be, she’s so exotic looking and talked about being Jewish…what is she?”. I soon discovered she was Samoan and Jewish…jackpot. Then it was time to meet Amy. I met Amy in front of Neiman Marcus in Union Square. I remember what she was wearing too, her embroidered Tocca pants, I was in a denim wrap skirt. She breezed through the rotating glass doors with her signature smile and we then walked to Macy’s and sat in a booth in the basement eating french fries and talking to one another like we had known eachother for years. That was how I got hired at Splendora. I worked through pretty much every job—the website, the books, the events, the newfangled ideas, the crazy team lunches and dinners, late nights, and hysterical laughter. I now realize how ahead of our time we really were but still have no idea how the 3 of us and our crack crew (Al, Jess, Jen, Syd, Ruster, Eric, Heidi, Lily, Katie, D.Pell…etc.) sat in one office and got anything done. I probably spent an equal amount of time trying on Gina’s clothes as I did writing a million issues of Friday Foreplay. We’ve celebrated everything together, weddings, babies, family times, holidays, weekends away… life. I even woke up one time in Vegas with Gina spooning me with a smile on her face while she slept. There is a time capsule filled to the brim with our stories, and they are mad funny, we were lunatics. Their zest for life is unmatched. If it was not for Gina and Amy I would not have found my voice and found myself. I’m forever grateful to my sister friends. I love these broads.
11. What’s the single best piece of advice you’ve ever received? This is perhaps less advice driven and more of an awakening. I was going through a really tough time when I was living in San Francisco and I remember talking to my best friend Sharra and trying to understand why I was so unhappy. We were talking about some facet of her relationship with her then boyfriend now husband and said to me “you know, I am just generally a happy person.” It was in that moment that I realized, WTF, I am a happy person too! Where did I go? I have to dig deep and find that person again. And I did. And I’ve never looked back.