Addicted to Plastic 

Did you know that every time a polyester fleece jacket is machine washed up to 250,000 plastic microfibers are shed into our water system? These nano-particals can’t be filtered by municipal water utilities and they end up in the ocean, the fish we eat, and most importantly our drinking water. 

Our company, Ocean SF, based in Berkeley, California is putting a stop to this. As avid sailors and adventure seekers in general, we began as a performance sailing apparel company, that focused on using natural fibers, especially Merino wool, because they are warmer and more comfortable. 

As founders we can make our products out of whatever we want, but we were drawn to a new type of technical wool fabric, not because it preserved drinking water, but because it was gorgeous to look at and looked even better once we made a jacket out of it. Wool is self regulating and can be worn year round. It’s wonderful to have on when the temperatures drop and the winds picks up, which is mostly all the time on San Francisco Bay.

The first studies on water pollutants and the impact of polyester fleece came out around the same time we decided to mill our own Merino wool fabric using state of the art fabric milling technologies. We were aware that what we were doing could potentially provide a benefit to the environment. Now, with so many studies in the news, it’s apparent we are able to create sailing apparel with a much higher calling. 

Sailors have worn wool for thousands of years because of it’s unique properties that keep you warm even when the fabric gets wet. Wool, cashmere, and other natural blends, outperform synthetic materials, which dry fast, but fail to keep one warm if they get wet. 

Our textiles themselves are very sophisticated. We’ve been able to weave and knit multiple textures into a single piece of cloth. The interior side is meant to trap air between the garment and user’s skin to keep body heat in, the outside is tightly woven to keep the wind out. This is not the short fiber, itchy and inexpensive wool sold in the 1970’s. 

It takes four months to create a single bolt of the fabric we use. We are one of very few companies dedicated to this, and we do it for our love of the ocean and our desire to keep our customers, ourselves, and our friends warm and comfortable while they are outside doing what they love most.  

OCEAN SF will convert the entire old world order of adventurewear polyester to our idea of the use of only natural fibers in the natural world.

The big players in the adventure apparel market now know the risks their garments pose to the natural worlds that they are supposed to help people enjoy, and to us these inconsistencies are completely disqualifying. They are addicted to plastic based fabrics because they are easy to manufacture, light weight to ship, and highly profitable to their shareholders. 

When you start wearing natural fibers in these beautiful natural places everything about the experience improves. The idea of wearing and obsorbing the chemicals used in production of a petroleum based polyester garment in contrast seems absolutely absurd. 

Wool, linen, silk and cotton feels more honest, and more pure. It’s more than obvious, they are a better choice for the outdoors. 

Shop our site for an alternative to the polyester fleece midlayer OCEANSF.CO.

 

563 Miles Away

Austin and Paris, Los Angeles, California, Halloween 2017

I left my precious daughter in Los Angeles in September to start her first year of college. I’m relatively calm in these types of situations as I’ve endured a great deal of loss, so I walked away from her relatively dry eyed. The next day, my younger daughter injured her knee in a soccer practice. This incident resulted in my 16 year old daughter needing ten times the care of my two daughters combined the year before. 

I’ve been distracted by doctors visits, surgeries, and driving the little one around again. Because of this, it is only now, that I am beginning to feel the absence of my eldest. 

Paris has left a giant hole in my life. I miss her, I even miss her boyfriend, who is appropriately named, Austin. My girls and I share city themed first names, thanks to my late husband. When I resisted these names, he would offer alternatives like the name Brenda, or his favorite Billee-Joan, the combination of both of our mother’s names. He was a very funny guy. Eventually, I acquiescenced to the city names, but for the record it was not my idea. The nameology suits us now that we don’t go everywhere together acting as a walking geography lesson. 

This morning, I called and texted Paris without a response, but it was before noon on a Sunday, so I didn’t panic, however, I did locate her in her dorm room on Find My iPhone. While doing this I discovered she is exactly 563 miles away.  

Recently she sent me a photo of her Halloween costume. And, by the way, Austin is not in costume, he really is a basketball player. When I got it, I realized for the first time, in a real way, that she truly does now have a life that I am no longer a part of. I don’t get to weigh in on what she’ll wear or help her get ready, or anything else. None of it. Even as I trust her to make wise decisions and care for herself, I miss being there for her. I miss sitting on her bed watching her put her makeup on in front of her mirrored closet doors. I even miss how bossy and demanding she often was. All of it. 

Thank goodness for the little one. 

Love and blessings. 

Big Vision

OceanSF Spring 2017-7

I’ve been told many times that I am a visionary. And it’s true, I can see things in my mind before I create them.

When we were in the early stages of planning our launch of Ocean SF, I could see my daughter standing in the red jacket with the Golden Gate Bridge behind her.  I could see it in my mind; the ruby red, her dark hair, the fog and the bridge.  I knew exactly how it would look, and predicted the atmosphere of that cold January day.

On the day my friend Nick Firestone took the photos, everything magically fell into place.  Nick, being the kind soul that he is drove all the way from Half Moon Bay to meet us.  As we pulled in and parked, I could see Nick walking toward me.  We literally took 100 shots in an hour and they were all beautiful.

My daughter and Nick Firestone, Marin County, January 2017

After, we went to lunch in Sausalito at a resteraunt called, Napa Valley Burger Company. I’ve noticed in my life that the things that happen easily come with a certain blessing. Anything, I have tried to force or control has backfired. The things that I approach with diligent planning, but a hopeful calm come easily into fruition.

Siena and Nick, Napa Valley Burger Company

From the beginning I’ve held a big vision for Ocean SF, as has my co-founder Andrew LaCenere.  We have taken our time creating our brand.  It took us an entire year to research, evaluate and then custom mill our own fabric.  We did eight months of research and testing before deciding on the Merino wool fleece that we now use.  The weave is tight on the exterior to block the wind, and soft and fuzzy on the inside to trap warmth.  We tested the men’s jacket for six months offshore and inshore on three continents.  This is not so much a company as it is a calling.

I’m not going to lie, it hasn’t been easy, there have been days when I wanted to turn back and do something easy and safe, but instead persisted in building our vision and our brand.  It has slowly taken shape with the help of our many friends, family and trusted advisors.

There is no way to play it safe in this life.  We may think we are safe, but we are not. Create your own vision, see it in your mind, and make it as big and beautiful as you can.

Love and blessings to all.

 

 

Interuption

My daughter Paris in Ocean SF

I was sitting on a sailboat, in the middle of the Bay, just off of Alcatraz, waiting for our race to start when my daughter text messaged me that the FedEx package containing our first prototype had arrived. It was June of 2016. At 11:11 a.m., at the exact moment the gun went off to start the race, she sent me back a photo of her wearing the jacket. 

June 2016, Alcatraz

In entrepreneurial circles there is much talk of interrupting certain industries, or changing the world. Andrew and I simply want to make technical adventure clothing that aligns with our sustainable point of view of beautifully designed clothing made of natural fibers like; Merino wool, linen, silk, cotton, and cashmere blends. 

I had arrived in LA with a bolt of orange Merino wool fabric and a poster sized drawing. Later, I created seams on my prototypes with dental floss and pins. I redesigned the jacket several times, and the sleeves alone several times, adding zippers and then a hidden waterproof pocket to the neckline. Nothing, had ever been more enjoyable and fun for me. 

Earlier that spring, Andrew and I met at our club in Berkeley with a roll of butcher paper and a package of pens. We outlined our products, he drew them, and together we gave them names. 

In one corner, we listed all of the possible names for our company. I remember we liked the name Hook, but passed on it, and thank goodness. We brainstormed dozens of idiotic names until Ocean SF arrived from the ether. As soon as we added it to the list, we knew it held a certain je ne sais quoi that the others did not. 

From the very beginning the brand had its own personality, and everyone we talked to loved it immediately. Ocean SF had a magic since inception that made it easy to get people to join us and contribute their unique talents to our efforts. 

Often, I tell people to find the thing they love the most in life and do that. If you do this, and you surround yourself with people who share your vision, you can achieve almost anything.

Water your seeds with hard work and determination and they will eventually bloom. And, you might just interrupt an industry, or save the world.

Love and blessings to all. 

How Ocean SF Built the Brand 

My daughter Siena in Ocean SF – Merino wool fleece jacket, cotton shirt and silk scarf
I’ve had an interest in design, and the environment since day one. Growing up with horses as a kid on a farm in the Willamette Valley, then later as an avid skier, and now as a sailor, I’ve always been drawn to the outdoors. 

And, at Ocean SF we truly seek to protect and enjoy the beautiful environment we have inherited.  Recent studies have shown that microfibers from polyester clothing is a pollutant that cannot be filtered from drinking water. Not only that, these particles, are also found in the delicate flesh of oysters and other fish on the California coast, this is not a problem for just the United States, it is worldwide. 

We also wish to work toward the reinvention of the bespoke clothing industry of the past. Where garments were made with care and were not disposable.  

We now live in a culture that is no longer enamored by the previous mindset that adored the ease of care and low cost of plastic based fabrics.  

Ocean SF is a brand for sailors first and foremost, because we seek to prove our technologically advanced fabrics in the most challenging environment possible, off shore, but our clothes are for everyone. 

Please join us in preserving our oceans and buying only what we need. 

Love and blessings to all. 

Three Small Things

Stress is a constant theme that surrounds me now, with a daughter in high school and another in college and a business to run, my days are a whirlwind of activities, demands and deadlines. 

I’m often called on to council my children and friends on this topic, so I wanted to share my own wisdom on how to breakdown tasks into reasonable pieces and remain calm as the bombs explode and the bullets fly during times of stress and challenge. 

After my late husband died, my life was blown into a million pieces, not just for myself, but for my children, our extended family, and my husband’s close friends, employees and colleagues. My husband’s offices were permanently closed after his death as he was the dominant force and impossible to replace, so I was not alone in having my world fall apart that one morning in mid-July. 

The pain in the eyes, faces, and voices of the tribe that my husband had developed over the last thirty years was astounding. I’ve never seen so many grown men cry, and hope to never again. 

During this time, I began a practice that I continue to this day. Each morning, before I start my day, I pray for guidance and ask for the top three things I need to do that day.  

This helps me to breakdown the thousands of tasks into bite size pieces. The morning I got the call my husband had died, I had three things to do that day:

  1. Get dressed.
  2. Take the garbage out. 
  3. Tell my daughters their father was dead.

After I did these three things everything else was less difficult; call my in-laws, the coroner, the funeral home, and so on.

The second day, the list was less insurmountable. Go to Santa Maria Church to plan the funeral, comfort my children, call my sorority sisters.

Life is a series of challenges. It is not what happens to us, but how we face the inevitable obstacles inherent in living a rich full life, that will define our future. 

Today, my days are full of activities that move me closer to my goals. They are mostly positive, proactive, and enjoyable. This morning, my list looked like this:

  1. Get the Ocean SF deck and business plan to the people we met with yesterday. 
  2. Meet my friend Denise for lunch.
  3. Buy my injured daughter nail polish and Kit Kat bars as promised.

Of course, I did a million other things as well,  and most of them before noon, but that was the top three that were the priority. 

Choosing how and where we spend our time and energy in life is of the upmost importance. Our lives are truly valuable and where we put our focus is precious because our attention is the sunshine that makes the seeds we plant grow. 

The three small things I tasked myself with each day, over the last fourteen months, helped me to get through a harrowing year, while simultaneously building an amazing company and brand.

Love and blessings to all. 

Managing Anxiety in Life & Business 

I’ve had a stressful few weeks both personally and professionally. My daughter had surgery and my company Ocean SF is in full production and we are initiating fund raising. 

Following are some of the ways I’ve found to be most effective in managing my own stress and anxiety. 

The first step is to believe in yourself.  Once you do this, in a real and authentic way, you begin to care less and less about what others think of you, and making decisions based on your own integrity and judgment becomes easy. Through this practice, you are less likely to waste time and energy second guessing yourself. 

Believe in your own wisdom, make decisions, and stand by them with conviction. 

Surround yourself with kind and supportive people. Not just family and friends, but everyone including the people you work and do business with.  

From this empowered and positive position, the people who do not resonate with you fall away, and you find yourself surrounded by people who support the vision you have for yourself, your life and your purpose. This practice alone, eliminates most, if not all, drama and time wasting stress and turmoil in your life. Unnecessary drama can consume a great deal of time, and nothing is more stressful and exhausting, so actively seeking to avoid it, is simply an act of self preservation. 

Be nonjudgmental.  I’ve written before, that I no longer judge others, I’ve not walked in their shoes, so it is not my place to judge how or why they do the things they do. Judging others is essentially a time consuming and negative activity which bestows absolutely no personal benefit. 

Eat right. And this means a sugar induced binge before bed will keep you up at night, and end with an ant pararade on your nightstand as the ants devour the remnants of your ice cream sandwich wrapper. Do not create unnecessary problems for yourself.  This is a metaphor for other self destructive tendencies as well, be your own best friend in this regard. For people who love themselves, avocado toast is an antidote to most late night ice cream runs. 

Tuck yourself in early. When overwhelmed, unplug and get some shut eye.

Have a playlist of your most cherished songs, the ones that transport you to a time in your life when you felt the feelings of joy or of falling in love. I played mine on the way to an investor meeting and it immediately put me in a happy and appropriately upbeat mood. 

I’ve written many times, that I am a proponent of prayer, and I pray daily before my feet hit the floor each morning, and all day as necessary. 

Be mindful that water is the most powerful element because it has no resistance. I remind myself to be like water often and to allow good things to flow into my life and let others flow out. 

Most importantly, keep in mind that someday all of this will be a memory, and in time, all that will remain are the relationships we have had and the love we shared. Nothing is more important than those two things. 

Love and blessings. 

Entrepreneurship & Tolerating Anxiety 

I’ll never give up and I’ll never back down. These are the words that ring inside my head, and keep me following my passion for being my own boss, and doing the work I love. 

When I started Ocean SF in the spring of 2016, I had no idea how hard it would be, all I really knew was that I could talk about it endlessly, and when I did, it literally made my heart pound. 

As I move along this path, I grow more passionate about it, and not less. The deeper I get into sustainability, water purity, and technologically advanced natural fabrics, and design, the more I love it. 

In recent weeks, my email has been flooded with notes from the head hunters I’ve worked with in the past. There are lots of jobs in San Francisco for product managers and business analysts. On some days, when I’m stressed and overwhelmed by the myriad of obstacles and the sheer amount of work involved in running a company, these jobs start to look attractive. Well paying, and conveniently located a quick train ride away, a job like this could solve my most pressing problems.  I wouldn’t have to worry about the million things involved, and the 10 million ways to fail, in a start up venture.

Long ago, I read that the most important thing I could teach my daughter’s was how to tolerate anxiety.  For a long time I worked on this. When both my daughters had gold times in competitive swimming, I knew I had achieved that goal. I would watch them standing on the block in the freezing cold waiting for the gun to go off to start the race. Their faces reflected both the focus and determination required to win.

Now, it’s my turn and I’m the one on the block focused and determined. 

Being an entrepreneur takes tremendous courage. Believing in your own unique vision and putting your money where your mouth is can be undeniably stressful. Working at a job is comparatively low risk. 

Starting a company and funding it is even more terrifying than my sky dive in 1992. But it has many comparisons. I remember standing in the doorway of the plane getting ready to jump. I was thinking, I don’t have to do this. I wondered how would I feel if I didn’t jump? I knew I would feel horrible. The alternative I knew would feel amazing. So, I jumped and it was a feeling like no other. 

Someday, all of this will be behind me and I will no longer feel like I’m sitting in the trenches as bombs explode around me.  Someday, I’ll just be a clothing designer with a successful adventurewear brand. And all of this will simply be a story I tell.

Until then, love and blessings to all. 

Telling My Story

Ocean SF Website
Andrew Lacenere and I met two years ago on a sail in September of 2015. During the many sailing trips that followed, Andrew and I dreamed into existence what would become Ocean SF.  Then, in July of 2016 my husband died of a sudden heart attack, leaving me in a predictable tailspin. 

My daughters needed me desperately, and I couldn’t foresee leaving them for the long hours in the city that my background as a Director of Marketing required, nor could I imagine giving up the passion I had for the company I had just started.

The Sailing terminology I learned at the Olympic Circle Sailing Club taught me the language I needed, and I decided to stay the course. 

I committed myself 100% to Ocean SF, and stayed the course I had previously set. I had worked for many startups in the past, and I knew what would be required of me, and that it would be far from easy. It would take everything I had to give, and then some, but if I had to work around the clock at least I would be close to home, and as my own boss, I could prioritize my time. 

Today, I attended a summit for entrepreneurs in SF as the guest of UBS, and there I met Julia Hartz, co-founder and CEO of Eventbrite. Among other things, Julia raised 200 Million in capital for a recent acquisition. Julia was, smart, funny, beautiful, and inspiring. What a difference a year makes.  

Love and blessings to all. 

Original White Lasagna 

Original White Lasagna

I created many original recipes when my kids were young. My younger daughter disliked tomato sauce, so I made this gorgeous baked pasta dish with fresh whipping cream. Below is my recipe. 

White Lasagna

Ingredients:

1 package dried no boil Lasagna 

15 oz.  whole milk ricotta cheese 

2 cage free eggs

1 pint organic heavy whipping cream

8 oz. mozzarella balls

1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest

Fresh basil leaves

Fresh grated Parmesan 

Salt and pepper 

Steps:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Whip eggs with ricotta by hand or with mixer.
  • Layer ingredients starting with cream on the bottom and ending with layer of cheese on top.
  • Cook until brown on top.
  • Allow to cool before cutting.
  • Sprinkle with Parmigiana cheese.

Sydney’s White Lasagna

Love and blessings to all.