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Interview

At Home with Anne-Cecilie

When it comes to meals and make-up, co-founder of Never Stop Learning, Anne-Cecilie, always finds her way back to her Scandinavian roots.

Anne-Cecilie Engell Speyer co-created the Never Stop Learning platform in order to foster a collective learning space. After building a successful career in marketing and advertising at companies like Calvin Klein, Donna Karan and Iconix, Anne-Cecilie turned to more intimate, interpersonal communication. As such, NSL facilitates a safe space for individuals and companies to have fruitful conversations about groundbreaking topics with highly accomplished experts.

As a native of Denmark now residing in the states, Anne-Cecilie also has the best of both worlds when it comes to navigating beauty, breakfast and the home. When it comes to meals and makeup, Anne-Cecilie always finds her way back to her Scandinavian roots. Read below to see how makeup routines can kind of be like bedding, and more.

Anne-Cecilie in the Kitchen

Your favorite Danish breakfast?

Danish Rye Bread (Rugbrød) with Petit Basque Cheese (Danish havarti when I was younger) and strawberry jam. Or, uncooked oatmeal with skim milk, sugar in the raw, finely cubed apples and sliced bananas. It is basically a fresh, uncooked muesli.

It is my heaven and what I eat within 15 minutes of waking. If you eat a solid breakfast you don’t have to waste any moment of the day thinking about food. If I don’t have breakfast, I just think about how hungry I am. That is boring.

Something in your kitchen that you can’t live without?

My Bodum French Press. It’s gorgeous with a copper lid. I like my Nespresso, but I am always concerned that I can’t get organic coffee beans and it can be so noisy in the morning.

Anne-Cecilie’s Beauty Habits

Go-to skincare and makeup products for your everyday look?

I have been loving Kora Oils and Serums , as well as Vintner’s Daughter Serum and Oil. Also, I use Lauren Napier La Rose facial wipes religiously. I swipe it on my face at night and it removes the makeup much better than anything else I have tried. Mario Badescu drying lotion works miracles on blemishes.

I have also been using Harklinikken, founded by Lars Skjoeth in Copenhagen. It is a hair serum that regrows hair loss due to hormonal changes. You put it in your hair at night, throw it up in a bun, and wash it out in the morning. Again, it really speaks to my uber sexy night time routine.

In your opinion, how does the Danish approach to beauty differ from the American’s?

I used to go crazy with lotions and potions, but I have streamlined. Danes tend to not have cabinets filled with products. I guess I am returning to my roots after going a bit over the top. I equate it to bedding. For example, I grew up with one pillow and one duvet. When I headed to college, I wanted all the floral comforters and over-the-top pillows that was on everyone’s bed. So, I got all the crazy pillows, sheet sets, comforters and fun bed skirts. It wasn’t me. To this day, I am back to my white pillow and white duvet.

Danes tend to not have cabinets filled with products. I guess I am returning to my roots after going a bit over the top.

It is the same with creams and products. Other than occasionally stealing my mother’s Lancôme cleanser (which she still used on her beautiful skin 40 years later), I had one lotion: the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+. One of my closest friends after college filled her entire bathroom with gorgeous creams and serums. In fact, the room looked like an art installation and I thought it was heaven! After that, I started exploring so many brands and even kept some in my refrigerator for extra room. However, after a few years, it was glaringly obvious I would only use two products daily. We all try new things, but I suppose age teaches us to get back to basics.

Sadly for me, I also realize genetics are an uphill battle. There is only so much I can do to fight my Scandinavian dry skin. My hands are always dry, so I am always applying Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve. In addition to my facial oils, I do get facials regularly. I religiously went to Tracie Martyn, and now I see Autumn Henry. And I love my dermatologist, Dr. Fusco. Botox bizarrely does not work on me, so I focus on getting my skin as healthy and as balanced as I can.

When it comes to makeup, I keep it simple so it doesn’t sit on top of my dry skin. My day and night routine is basically identical. The only difference is the varying levels of focus and attention I put into it. I use no more than six products. Some days, my routine stops at the first two products.

Anne-Cecilie at Home

How do you maximize your productivity while working from home?

I naturally wake up super early, so I never set an alarm. I think it is positive reinforcement from the amazing productivity I have while everyone else is sleeping.

One of the biggest time wasters is lying in bed waiting to fall back asleep. Instead, I get up, have coffee with my breakfast and hop on my computer within 15 minutes to answer e-mails. I used to be able to work late at night, but I realized (after too many years) that I prefer just to close my eyes and go to sleep. Why work yourself up right before bed?

I light a candle, which changes everything in the dark hours. I suppose that is the simplest element of hygge you can incorporate into your day.

From 5 to 7:30 a.m., I can get a ton accomplished. I light a candle, which changes everything in the dark hours. Even with the summer light, the flicker of the flame is so calming. I suppose that is the simplest element of hygge you can incorporate into your day. It sounds silly, but try it! My mother has always lit a candle in the mornings. In my opinion, this Danish morning ritual is a much better option than a cold early morning swim.

Once the day gets going, I am on calls or Zoom meetings during my work hours. I am really looking forward to meeting people in person again. If I have a long easy call, I put on my coat and walk slowly in the neighborhood for 30-45 minutes so my calls become my exercise.

What are your favorite stores for the home and the kitchen?

It is a very narrow selection, and has been for years! Net-a-porter for most of my clothing and beauty products, Illums Bolighus for my dream kitchen items and Amazon for everything else. I used to work in fashion and though I love clothing, I don’t ever like to try anything on. Therefore, I end up buying the same brands so I know exactly what will fit. I would rather not buy something new than have to try it on. I also tend to only wear 3 things all the time.

Other than that, I shop in New Preston, CT near our farm. I love to go to the lovely stores needing nothing, and then come home with a few items that I obviously always needed to have. Founded by Michael Deperno and Andrew Fry, Plain Goods rolls all my dreams into one: home decor, clothing, and lotions and potions. Plus, they sell our alpaca yarn!

Teresa Deely

Teresa Deely is a graduate from Columbia University with majors in English and Creative Writing. She is a freelance writer and marketing assistant working for clients in the wellness, jewelry, creative, and sports industries. She believes that one’s skin is yet another canvas and vehicle for art, and has loved styling her hair and applying makeup from a young age. Spending much of her time in educating youth and leading enrichment programs for children, she is highly motivated in discovering new ways to care for herself and sharing them with others.

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