Hello dolls! I’m very happy to greet you this morning because I’m debuting what I plan to make a new monthly series. It’s an interview series titled “Sitting Pretty With…” that will put the spotlight on amazingly talented, inspiring, and gorgeous women (inside and out). I will start out featuring girls I know but I plan to also feature some fresh faces (making new friends!).
This month, I’m sitting pretty with Allison Norton of Polka Dot Media. She’s 1/3 of the team that dishes out your daily dose of inspiration on LaurenConrad.com (plus, a handful of other social media accounts, etc.). Allison also never ceases to amaze in the Instagram world. Her colorful outlook on life becomes clear the moment you glance at her feed! Did I mention that she’s also my best friend/roommate (we’re on 20+ years of friendship!)!? Read on for a full rundown of her dream job, her fashion and beauty musts, her decor go-tos, her adventures in traveling, and her expert opinions on Santa Monica, CA.
Name: Allison Norton
Neighborhood: Santa Monica, right off Montana Avenue
Company/job: Co-Founder of Polka Dot Media, Managing Editor of LaurenConrad.com
Instagram Handle: @allison_norton
LET’S TALK BUSINESS…
Describe your company in 3 sentences of less.
Innovative, driven, friendly.
You started your own company. What has been the most rewarding experience?
The highlight is definitely the two talented women I work with—Ilana Saul and Rachel Rosenbloom. We all met at the company we worked at before, and I’ve always respected them. We each bring new ideas and strengths to the table each day, and I feel lucky to have found people I work well with.
What is a typical day in the life of Allison?
Each day is different—I might be spending 8 hours at a photoshoot one day, then getting ahead on writing while working at home the next day. But on a typical workday, I like to wake up early and get my workout out of the way… So I’m up at 6:30 for spin class. After working out, I’ll go home, make a #BeWellSmoothie and get ready for the day. Then it’s off to meet the girls at our office to work for the day. Throughout the day, we usually do mini photoshoots to create original imagery for LaurenConrad.com and the @LCLaurenConrad accounts. We often get out of the office for lunch to meet with clients, work friends, or just to give our eyes a break from our computers. Then it’s back to work for a few more hours. Some of our evenings get booked up with blogger events around the city, which are always fun when we get to visit with friends we know in the industry. Lately, I’ve added evening tennis lessons one night a week into my schedule with my best friend Jillian (who writes this blog you’re reading now!). It’s been such a fun and active release at the end of the workday.
What keeps you inspired at work day-in and day out?
I’m a visual person by nature, so I find inspiration scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest throughout the day. If I ever have writer’s block or if I’ve been working on the same project for too long, I’ll take a break to browse through both of these social outlets. It gives me a refresh, and following inspiring people reminds me why I do what I do.
Is there something that you know now that you wish you’d known when you started your company?
I wish we had the luxury to celebrate every major milestone we’ve accomplished since we started our company. I think it’s important to celebrate hard work and give each other pats on the back when we reach our big goals. But when life is moving so quickly, it can be difficult to stop what you’re doing and remember to celebrate those moments. We’ve gotten better at going out to dinner when we have something to celebrate—hiring our first full-time employee, signing another client, hitting our sales quota for the year. But I think it’s important to look back and reflect on the big picture things you’ve accomplished, especially when you’re the one running the show.
LET’S TALK FASHION…
Describe your style in three adjectives.
Classic, California, feminine.
What are your wardrobe staples?
My Mansur Gavriel bucket bag (I don’t go anywhere without it), J Brand Jeans, a great pair of black booties and J. Crew’s Vintage Cotton V-Neck T-Shirt in White.
If I peeked into your closet, what color would be the most prominent?
Black for winter; blush, white and navy for summer.
Are there any trends you’re excited about right now?
I love the style of jeans that’s in right now—it’s a relaxed, high wasited fit, cropped at the ankle. But I’m still looking for the perfect pair.
What fashion piece would you splurge on tomorrow if you could?
Well I just splurged on these Chloe booties last month that I’ve been wanting for years… So I think I’m good for now!
What has been your biggest fashion moment with your job?
New York Fashion Week is always an exciting time for me. I’ve been during September and February, but September is much more my style (I’m a warm weather gal). When Lauren [Conrad] showed last September fashion week, that was a pretty big career moment for all of us involved.
We also recently wrapped a big fashion photoshoot that I helped organize, and it was a lot of hard work that I’m proud of. That’s all I can say about it right now, so you’ll have to stay tuned!
LET’S TALK BEAUTY…
What are your beauty must-haves?
My makeup routine is simple and pretty consistent each day. Sometimes I’ll add a bolder lip at night or winged eyeliner. But it’s usually tinted moisturizer, blush and mascara. The everyday products I swear by are…
- Jouer’s Matte Moisture Tint in Nude
- Perfekt Lash Perfection Gel
- Tarte Cheek Stain in Blushing Bride
- Honest Beauty Brow Filler in Dark Blonde
- Dior Addict Lip Glow
As for skincare, I believe in natural products that are free of chemicals and have as many organic ingredients as possible. Here are my skincare faves:
- EmergenC Scientific Organics Kombucha Cleanser
- Epicuren Acidophilus Probiotic Facial Cream
- ISUN Sunstone Facial Oil
- Virgin, unrefined coconut oil for body lotion
What perfume do you spritz on as you walk out the door?
Trish McEvoy’s Blackberry & Vanilla Musk
What color nail polish are you currently wearing?
Essie’s ‘Lapis of Luxury‘
LET’S TALK DECOR…
Describe your decorating style in three adjectives.
Inviting, beachy, clean.
If your mother taught you one trick about interior decorating, what would it be?
Invest in fewer, bigger pieces.
What is your favorite piece of art or furniture you own?
I love my large Australia Ocean print from my dear friend Gray Malin. Every one of his prints takes you on a different vacation.
What’s on your bar cart?
We’ve been collecting pretty pieces for our bar cart for a few years now, and it’s coming along beautifully! We have vintage champagne coupes from the Rose Bowl Flea Market, vintage crystal decanters from Etsy, pastel colored paper straws, bottles of Pellegrino, fresh hydrangeas—and then the good stuff: Veuve Cliquot, Bombay Sapphire and Grey Goose, and a bowl of fresh lemons for a little zest.
Do you have any must-have coffee table books?
My top three are Vogue Living Houses Garden People, American Beauty and Los Angeles; Portrait of a City.
LET’S TALK TRAVEL…
Beach or Mountains?
East Coast or West Coast?
What is your favorite destination?
Anywhere in Europe.
Are you planning any upcoming trips?
Yes! Harbour Island, Bahamas and Maui, Hawaii this spring, then a big trip to Southeast Asia in the summer.
Who is your favorite travel buddy?
My best friend Jillian!
Go-to cocktail when you’re traveling?
I like to go with the bartender’s recommendations—it’s fun to try the local favorite when traveling.
Tell us your ideal datingmoon (R&R’s term for a trip you take with your boyfriend/girlfriend).
My boyfriend and I spent a weekend surfing and wine tasting in Santa Barbara in October and it was a blast. I’d love to plan a datingmoon in Nashville, Tennessee or Austin, Texas sometime in the future. There are so many fun cities to see in our own country!
What is your top bucket list destination?
Bali or the Maldives.
LET’S TALK SANTA MONICA…
What’s your favorite part of living in Santa Monica?
I love being able to walk everywhere in our neighborhood—to the Whole Foods a few blocks away, to my dry cleaners and to friend’s houses. I love how I don’t even get in my car some weekends.
Fill in the blank: “On the weekend, you’ll find me at _____________.”
Hunter Vincent’s Boot Camp (my very favorite workout), surfing in Malibu with my boyfriend, getting my week’s worth of groceries at the Brentwood Farmer’s Market, or brunching somewhere fabulous with Jillian (some of our favorite spots are here, here and here).
Best date night restaurant?
Best healthy restaurant?
I love Kreation Kafé on Montana Avenue. We can walk there and the smoothies are my favorite.
Los Angeles has great Mexican food and seafood. What are your can’t miss spots for both?
The Hungry Cat has the best oysters and a killer lobster roll. And I love the tacos and margaritas at Blue Plate Taco.
Jill Roberts, Planet Blue, Scoop NYC, Sugar Paper and Jenni Kayne.
Hiking, surfing and going to the farmer’s market.
Photography by Allison Norton
I absolutely love the new series and can’t wait to read about each fascinating women in the near future! It is so inspiring to read about such passionate, hardworking young women!
Thanks for introducing us to Allison!
Thanks SO much Sarah!! I’m SO glad you love the new series!!! XO, Jillian
I love this! I am a huge fan of Allison’s instagram feed, so it was great reading a little bit more about her and her fashion must haves. I’m located in NY, but I definitely lean towards the fun California style once the weather warms up! Can’t wait to read more!
Thanks so much Victoria! Allison’s Instagram really is a dream! I’m so glad you loved following along! Stay tuned for next month’s Sitting Pretty With interview! XO, Jillian
This is such a great idea! I stumbled upon Allison’s Instagram a few weeks ago (which is actually how I found your blog/IG) and feel inspired every time I look at it! Great questions too & loved Krista’s interview as well. Xoxo
Aww thank you so much Samantha… you are too kind!! That means so much! I’m so glad you enjoyed the interview! XO, Jillian