One of my favorite articles in Harper’s Bazaar is the regular feature, “24 Hours With.” It’s the ultimate peek into the lives behind the names of people in the fashion world. With all due respect to Bazaar, this series turns its focus on people in the event industry. First up is Cindy Celis, director of sales at Luxe Linen. Those who know her find her to be indefatigable. In the day she is busy with meetings, at night she can be found at networking events from Santa Barbara to the South Bay and yet still home in time to tuck her youngest into bed. On the weekends she might be at dinner or a concert with her husband Jesse, but in the day, she’s on the soccer field cheering on her three kids, Paloma, 11, Bella, 9, and Tyler, 6. Twenty four hours with Cindy gives us a glimpse of how she gets it all done.
4:30 a.m. The alarm goes off every morning at this time. I’ve already set out my work out clothes the night before. After hitting snooze once, I get up and get into them. I grab a sweatshirt and tiptoe out of the house by 4:40 so I don’t wake anyone up. I never eat before a work out. I read that it’s better to work out on an empty stomach and that if you work out within a half hour of waking up, you burn more calories and it’s better for your metabolism all day.
5 a.m. At the gym, I rotate my workouts, starting with a five-minute warm up then I mix it up with cardio one day, chest and back another, abs another. Legs and cardio another day. I know the gym can be a social place, but I don’t have a trainer and I don’t socialize here. I take a shower at the gym and change into the casual clothes I brought, then head back home.
6:30 a.m. I start the process of waking the kids and getting them ready for school. It’s all about routine. I have coffee – I like Folgers — and start making the rounds. I watch 10 minutes of news – I love channel 7… their news anchors are simply smarter! I always snuggle bunny with Tyler for a few minutes every morning, then I get myself ready. I am a jeans girl, especially during the week. I dress them up or down depending on where I’m going. But for networking events, I love my heels and dresses! My look is totally Banana Republic which I stalk for sales. Once I’m dressed, I go to the kitchen to make lunch for everyone, as well as breakfast, and do a second round of nudges to get everyone ready.
7:30 a.m. Everyone is ready to go. Jesse takes the girls to school and I take Tyler. I always walk him into class. Then my day starts, but not officially until I speak with Percy Sales from Percy Sales Events for my morning pick-me-up. Whether it’s on the way to a meeting or going into the office, we never miss a morning call.
9:30 a.m. I typically will schedule a meeting at this time. From where we are, it takes that long to get to most of my clients. It could be an appointment with new clients. If they are planners, we talk about what they need, and their clients and budgets. If they are at the lower end of the price point we talk about satin lamour, in the middle its shantungs and dupionis and at the high-end, the events will need a bit of everything depending on the function (bar, buffets, dining tables, etc.) Venues are totally different. At that meeting, I’m getting to know their clientele, their needs and how we can partner for them long term.
11:30 a.m. I either have a second meeting, or a lunch meeting. One day a month at this time I have a marketing meeting with Dahlia Wexler, the owner of Luxe. We talk about what’s new, new locations, new business, new events we are donating to, style shoots and social media updates.
2 p.m. Typically, I’d schedule another client meeting for this time of day. On Friday I meet with Dahlia to touch base.
3 p.m. If I have a networking event that night, I won’t take an afternoon meeting. Instead, I head home to be with the kids. I’m usually picking them up from or dropping them off at soccer practice, then helping with homework.
6 p.m. This time is either dinner with the family, or a networking event. After last Decemebr when I went to 20 events in about as many days, I now try to only go to two events a week and I’m more selective. One will be an organization or association meeting such as MPI, WIPA, or ISES, or an event we are sponsoring. The other will be more out of the box, such as an art opening, or a venue preview. If it’s an event we are sponsoring, I get the guest list beforehand and identify the people I want to meet. If it’s unsponsored, I say hello to friends and connect with the venue person to say hello. I try to have fun no matter what. It’s important to have a good time with colleagues and peers rather than be all business. And I love this industry, so that’s not so hard!
One thing I always do is get to these events early so I can take my own photos before people arrive. I share these with our partners or on social media later. I do Facebook and Instagram, no Twitter. If the event is near home, or Jesse is out of town, I leave early and am home by 8 p.m. If I know there is no way I can get home by then, I just roll with it.
8 p.m. By this time, dinner and homework are all done. The girls, who share a room, usually giggle or chat for a while then fall asleep about 9:15. This is the time that Tyler, my youngest, and I get to spend time together. We read together every night. It’s my favorite part of the day. We read a lot of Dr. Seuss. He loves I’m not Going to Wake Up Today and Mrs. Wow Never Wanted a Cow. He loves that because his teacher’s name is Mrs. Chow, so we change the character’s name. That cracks him up.
9 p.m. Lights out and then I go back and clean the kitchen. I always have to mop the floor … I don’t know why. I call it my Cinderella moment. I then make sure that all the girls’ homework is in their backpacks so we are ready for morning. Then I get ready for bed and find Jesse. If he’s lying on the bed watching sports, I join him and check e-mails to see if there is anything I need to take care of, or send to my assistant, Shaun. If Jesse [an aeronautics contractor] is in his office working, I don’t disturb him. We make Friday our date night, and we spend all our time on the weekends together as a family. Routine might not sound exciting, but it’s important to us that our children spend time being children and so we try to make their worlds as simple as possible. In this day and age, that’s a lot of work! It goes by so fast so we make the most of it. Needless to say, by the time my head hits the pillow, I’m asleep in 10 minutes.
— As told to Liese Gardner
Top photo of Cindy: This is one of the only pictures where I feel truly beautiful! Funny because as a Mommy of three, it’s not easy to always feel attractive yet that’s how I felt on that very special industry event at City Club LA.