Here's what I can only imagine Maria Menounos' To-Do List Looks Like.
Be the youngest person to host Entertainment Tonight: Check
Lose 40 pounds and keep if off: Check
Juggle multiple jobs on network TV including Access Hollywood and The Today Show: Check
Write a bestselling book: Check
Oh yeah-- and she does her own make-up and clothes styling and grows her own food!
This glamourous gal is also down-to-earth and chock full of common sense advice. Luckily for us, Maria's sharing her tips in her new book "The Everygirl's Guide to Life." Somehow between everything else she has going on, Maria carved out a few minutes for a chat with yours truly for GalTime-- and she shares some fantastic ideas.
GalTime: We have to know what inspired you to put this book together?
MM: I'm always stopped by women on the street asking me questions about how I lost weight, how I manage to have so many jobs and get so much done, how I had success so young. I felt I could answer the questions in a book. I love to share information and enjoy helping others. I also get sad when I see women suffer or fail when they don't always need to. From my success and failures as well as the experts I've met at The Today Show and Access, I know I can help women avoid that.
GalTime: You are BIG on being organized-- what is that so important? What simple step(s) can a girl take to get started?
MM: Organization is the closet thing to a key to happiness. It's also one of the few things in life you can control and execute without being born into money or even a genius IQ. In addition, I've never met an organized person who was a failure - ever!
To get organized, top to bottom, dedicate a day off, a weekend off or even an entire vacation week to do so. Attack every drawer, closet and storage area in your house as well as every file in your office and even everything that's in your car. It's tough and tiring BUT will pay off big if you do.
You'll be empowered and more relaxed on future days off if you do and more effective in your daily lives. Put things back in their proper place on a daily basis from there on and do a yearly maintenance organization. I suggest doing it over Christmas week as I do. Most people have the time off then and it sets you up strong for the new year.
GalTime: Love the concept in your book as you as your own CEO-- can you explain?
MM: You are in control of your life and destiny. You ARE the CEO of your life. By taking that title, you're reminded of that and empowered. You decide whom to hire and fire (who you bring into your life) and what course you wish to go in. A true CEO knows that.
GalTime: In your book you write about some interesting characters: Vampires and Sunshine Committee. Who are these people and how do they fit in to our lives?
MM: The vampires suck your energy and some are worse than others. The lesser vampires just wear you out. It's all about them. They only bleed you and give little in return. The worse vampires are negative, bitter and jealous and wish nothing good for you and even wish you harm. These people must be avoided at all costs. They will inhibit your success, happiness and health. The only time you should have to deal with vampires is through your job. Your personal life should be free of them. However, work vampires should only be tolerated long enough to succeed and excel to the point you, one day, have the power to distance yourself from them. In some cases, for health's sake, it's just better to walk away even from the job.
People from the Sunshine Committee are the people in life who bring the sunshine. They are the ones who are happy and positive about life and even about your success. These people should be sought after and warmly embraced. Success, happiness and most importantly health
will follow when you surround yourself with them.
GalTime: You write about the idea of "Kaizen." What it is and how does it work?
MM: It stands for "continuous improvement." Being in state of mind where you're always open to new ways of doing things better and I learned it from Toyota!
Everyone from the CEO to factory workers there are encouraged to practice Kaizen and the company has had great results applying it. Always be seeking ways to grow and do things in your life better - even when everything seems perfect. When we're not growing we're dying. Who wants to die? Kaizen keeps you fresh, young, successful and happy. Plus, it's fun!
GalTime: You had us at "no"-- please share your no fail response when put on the spot...
MM: Always say "let me get back to you on that." I put myself in so many bad positions by not saying that. By saying 'let me get back to you on that' you buy yourself ample time to think decisions through properly. Do I really have time to house sit or drive that person to the airport or loan them money? Is this really the job I want or the raise that I want? The response lets you answer properly, saving you and even the person asking future stress, strain and aggravation.
GalTime: Speaking of saying "No" how do you balance your career(s), social life and Maria time? What do you do for fun?
MM: Work is fun and when it isn't I make it fun. I love walking my dogs, cuddling with them and watching TV and movies.
The reason I write about screening rooms in the book (I took the back and my garage and made one for 600 dollars) is because it does save you money in the long run. By staying in and watching movies and TV in such a cool way you spend less and you relax and recharge more. Most TV's are that price or in the thousands of dollars but in the book I talk about how you can have your very own screening room in your living room or bedroom for under 600 dollars. It's so much fun for me.
GalTime: You are a mix of modern woman (careers galore) and common sense girl (growing your own food)... how do you make it all work?
MM: Organization, time management AND carrying a sense of urgency in my days. I'm urgent about accomplishing tasks - when possible I accomplish tasks as soon as they come in. We joke that I'm on "Team Get #@!% Done!" This helps me to get a lot accomplished.
GalTime: Growing your own food is in vogue again-- but you've always done it-- how? Why? Can anyone do it?
MM: My parents are immigrants and they grew their own food from birth. Anyone can do it, regardless of where you live and what space you have. If you Bing search "urban gardening" there are tons of tips. Also, I did a short video that you can see at bing.com/maria.
GalTime: We'd love to hear about your successful life change re your 40 pound weight loss-- is there a take-away idea for others?
MM: Journal everything you eat. Write down every morsel you consume. You'll be surprised as I was when I did it over how much you consume. This helps with money spending too by the way. You'll spend less if you do. For food, you'll eat less. From that point, I cut back on portions SLIGHTLY each time. Literally from 5 slices of pizza to 4 and so on.
GalTime: Hot water as a secret weapon-- please tell us more!
MM: So simple you'd think I'm joking. I laughed too when yogi Cameron Alborzian taught me about it but, ten pounds, more energy, better skin and less stress later, I'm not laughing anymore. Sipping hot water all day is soothing and calming. It also hydrates your skin and aids in digestion. It curbs your appetite, too. Many times we think we're hungry and we're actually just dehydrated. Drink it when you are hungry and throughout the day and you'll see. Just give it a try.
GalTime: Ok lady, we see you on TV and in the mags looking gorgeous all the time. In the book you reveal you do your own hair and makeup? What are your tips and how can we incorporate them into our own lives?
MM: Okay, this one is far too long to explain plus I fear it's such a visual task. Go to bing.com/maria for a 6 part video I did on the subject. From start to finish-- I show my entire make up process. At the time, I was getting made up for my Johnny Depp interview.
Some other quick tips-- get your makeup done at a Macy's or another department store. Have the makeup artist explain every step as they apply make up and videotape it from your phone, flip or pda. You can refer back to the video later. You and your friends can chip in to hire a makeup artist on a Saturday to come and give you the same instruction.
Look at beauty shots of models and celebs whose make up and style you look and want to emulate, making sure they share you facial features and tones. Practice trying to emulate their styles or take the photos to the Macy's make up artist or the one you hire. Don't be afraid to just sit in the mirror and practice one Saturday. Whatever route you take practice is the key. My mom never knew how to apply make up. Now at age 56 she's learned. She applies it so well and looks amazing too.
GalTime: Great tips! DITTO for the outfits... how the heck do you pull it all together? Can you give us some advice?
MM: Visit bing.com/maria for great fashion tips in the weeks to come. Meantime, stores like H and M, Forever 21, Old Navy and even Target are great for getting affordable outfits. A lot of the clerks who work there can be your stylist too and help you pick out what to wear. Better to have multiple outfits then a few expensive ones. Know that stars today are rocking cheaper clothing and proud to do so more than ever. It's cool to be cheap!
GalTime: As a Boston Gal, can you share a couple of your favorite hometown places?
MM: Boston has the best pizza -- Pizzeria Regina is amonst the best. The Liberty Hotel is a hip place to stay or part at. Now that I've moved, it's my second home. Calvin Cherry, the Manager, always makes guests feel like they're at home.
Want more of Maria's tips and advice?
Catch Maria on her book tour. Here are the places/dates where she'll be signing copies of her bestselling book "The Everygirl's Guide to Life." Click here for more details.
April 25, 2011, 6:00pm in Seattle
April 27, 2011, 7:00pm in Chicago
April 29, 2011, 7:00pm in West Palm Beach
June 13, 2011, 7:00pm in Florence, SC
June 14, 2011, 7:00pm in Kansas City
June 15, 2011, 7:00pm in Atlanta
Buy the Book: "The Everygirl's Guide to Life" is available in bookstores and on Amazon.com
Watch her Lifestyle Videos: In addition, Maria has teamed up with Bing, the decision engine from Microsoft, to serve as the exclusive online destination for her “EveryGirl Video Tips of the Day presented by Bing.” Over 40 videos featuring Maria’s secrets and tips on everything from travel, health and style to organization, career and fitness, will help people make their everyday decisions on a range of topics. For Maria's lifestyle tips: bing.com/Maria