The Calm After The Storm

As many know I’ve been fund raising for my startup Ocean SF, a sustainable clothing apparel line for sailors, with an emphasis on the mid layer, our beautiful 100% Merino jacket. So, please go to our web store and buy yours, as more and more I see the correlation between wearing polar fleece as being similar to smoking. As I’ve said before, polyester fleece sheds into our drinking water every time you wash it. In this way choosing to wear a garment that is a contaminant is exactly like passive secondhand smoke as we all share the same drinking water supplies that are polluted by washing petroleum fleece jackets.

I’ve had a forced break in these activities as it’s been thanksgiving and my daughter opted to have knee surgery and not ski in Tahoe this season. It’s been difficult for me as we’ve not missed skiing opening day at Northstar Resort in nine years, and I missed being with friends in the mountains.

However, with the second knee surgery for my daughter successfully behind us, it feels like the calm after the storm.

My daughter had her ACL surgery on Tuesday, and we had a quiet dinner the three of us on Thursday. I was thankful for the day, our health and well being, but, I was also sad not to have a big family to share it with. Family is so important to me, so I look forward to developing a close knit extended family as the children grow older and marry, and I undoubtedly, have my own significant other.

In the meantime, I am so thankful to our friends Dan, Jeff and Chris who are always here for us, and our many other friends, including my friend Jeff who was home for the holiday, and here so much to help.

Love and blessings to all.

Blessed & Lucky

Julia Morgan Design

Yesterday, I was blessed to have been invited to the Keiretsu Forum’s Investor event in San Fransisco.

The event took place in the beautiful Julia Morgan Ball Room. For many years I have been a fan of Julia Morgan, her life and work. Ahead of her time, she blazed the trail for many women, who have since followed in her footsteps. For those that do not know, Julia Morgan was an architect, she studied civil engineering at UC Berkeley, and then went to France to train in architecture. She was the first woman to graduate from the Ecole in Paris in 1902, she went on to design the Claremont Hotel and the Hearst Castle among many other projects. She truly was an entrepreneur. Her ballroom on California Street is a treasure to behold, and beautiful, warm and inviting to sit in.

Against this gorgeous backdrop, we listened to founders of the most innovative products you can imagine. It’s always inspiring to be around people who are changing the course of history through innovative technology, advanced medicine and impact investing.

It was an amazing day. I met so many wonderful new people and deepened some existing ties.

Love and blessings to all.

Chaos Theory, Love & Business

As I love nothing more than educating myself on any subject, I’ve spent a good deal of time reading about what makes a business successful.  Not only is Ocean SF, the company that will support me well into the future, it is also the business that will support my children through the remaining years of high school and college, and those first shaky years after graduation.  I have been working very hard on Ocean SF for well over a year now.  It is no mere hobby.

What I have learned is; love is a great attractor to success, and passion is the most important ingredient in business. Having purpose and a clear vision follows these. Studies now show that the control managerial styles of the past are no longer viable.

“Applying chaos theory to organizational practice tends to go against the grain of most formal management patterns. Order can be confused with the more popular notion of control. It is hard to open ourselves up to a world of inherent disorderliness.”

My business partner and I do most of our meetings on our boat now, or on the boats of other people.  We talk for hours about our company, our vision, sustainability and our brand.  Because Ocean SF is such a great love of mine this doesn’t feel like work.  Recently, we had dinner at the Yacht Club with a group of friends.  Andrew and I had met prior to this and then joined a group for drinks on another boat before dinner.  At the end of dinner I looked around our table and noticed that we had been talking about our business for two plus hours.  I finally apologized, but our friends told us they are used to it.  I am thankful for so much support from everyone around me.

“Typically businesses are organized around structure and design. Charts are drawn to illustrate who is accountable to whom or who plays what role and when. Experts break down organizations into the smallest of parts. They build models of organizational practice and policy with hope that this atomizing yields better information on how to improve the organization’s functioning. However, chaos theory implies that this is unnecessary, even harmful.”

When my business coach told me, if I were in her accelerator program I would be flunking, I just blinked.  I knew that I was not turning in my documents as requested.  But since I was paying her $220 per hour for each private session, I didn’t feel I had to. After two decades running projects I was absolutely sick of spreadsheets and project plans and working just the work, so other people might think I’m working.

After years of working as a Product Manager, Project Manager, and Marketing Director, I didn’t feel that my business needed a share drive full of documents and a group of people to update them.  I was operating from a, “what absolutely, must logically, happen next,” form of management.

Startups are overwhelming in the sheer amount of work required by the founders, and to organize it well I simply base my efforts on priority.

I would literally think, “what do I have to do today, so that it won’t bite me in the ass later,” and that was all.

“Self-organizing systems are those enabled to grow and evolve with free will. As long as each part of the system remains consistent with itself and the systems’s past; these systems can harness the power of creativity, evolution, and free will—all within the boundaries of the organization’s overall vision and culture.”

My business partner and I are very different. He knows things, that I don’t know, that I don’t know.  However, together we agree on just about everything.  This is a refreshing change from working with other people where I’ve spent time defending my position, or saying nothing, but feeling my work was pointless. Andrew and I just decide.  He takes over, or I take over, or we collaborate, with little discussion.  We share the exact same vision.

“Informal leaders emerge in an organization not because they have been given control, but because they have a strong sense of how to address the needs of the group and its members. The most successful leaders understand that it is not the organization or the individual who is most important, but the relationship between the two. And that relationship is in constant change.”

Ocean SF is a community of the like minded; sailors, adventure seekers, environmentalists and entrepreneurs.

Love and blessings to all.

Read more: http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/management/Bun-Comp/Chaos-Theory.html#ixzz4yY2mFqlg

Chanel, Cigarettes & Natural Fabrics

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Chanel

I’ve been talking about my company Ocean SF, a sailing apparel line that has recently launched the first product, a Merino wool sustainable mid layer jacket that retails for $225.00.  In doing so, I have realized that many, many people do not understand how wool or any other sustainable product is superior to polyester.

Firstly,  I am not someone who seeks out wool products.  I am the type of person who drools over quilted $2,700 Chanel handbags.  I’m not going to lie, as much as I love sitting on mountain tops and sailing, I also love fashion.  I own a Louis Vuitton satchel that I bought in Seattle on my first business trip after graduating from college.  It cost $425.00 plus tax.  However, I’m proud to say, I used that bag for 10 years, I never bought anything else, and enjoyed the hell out of it, I still have it in my closet. One day, my daughter, Paris showed up in the city using it.  As I don’t like to share, I bought her a gorgeous bottle green Dior bag for her 18th birthday. Today, I own five bags, a white Italian Furla, as well as a kelly green Kate Spade bucket bag for the summer, in the winter I use a black Kate Spade satchel and a black woven Bottega Veneta.

So wool, was not necessarily my priority. However, as I started sailing and getting very cold and very wet, it became extremely important to me. Like many adventure seekers, I am good at preparing for the outdoors, I have many jackets and understand the advantages of layering.  One day, I was wearing a Gill Foulie jacket and under that a Helly Hansen polyester fleece.  I was perfectly comfortable, until I took a wave down the back of my jacket at 8:30 a.m. on a sunny, though not warm, September day in the San Fransisco Bay.  At the time, I had no idea I would be shaking and unable to drive when I reached my car 3 hours later.  I had spent hours in the wind and cold soaked to the skin.  I couldn’t go home just because I was cold.  In fact, I was in the middle of the Bay, so I couldn’t go home at all, for any reason.

You see, you can wear wool and get wet without being cold.  In the same way you would not wear a cotton tube sock skiing.  Skiers and boarders wear wool, or their feet would be frost bitten. Most boots leak.  Feet get wet. Cotton is not an option, polyester isn’t even a consideration. All ski socks are made of wool. Why wouldn’t a jacket be made of that as well? The fabric that we use has been custom milled with new technology designed to keep you even warmer than wools of the past, and it uses longer fibers that make it softer.  It also has the added benefit of being beautiful.

After I became educated in the pollution caused by polyester fleece – yes, it’s true scientists are finding polyester fleece in the tissue of human cadavers – it became a mission for me to educate others.  Washing polyester fleece in your washing machine releases nano-particals into our water systems that supply drinking water.  This is not a speculation, but a fact.

I often wonder why anyone would wear polyester for a bike ride?  Do you know how many chemicals are used to make a piece of fabric out of polyester, which is petroleum, which is gasoline?  The toxins that are absorbed into your bloodstream as you cycle and perspire into this toxic jersey are astronomical.  We wonder why there are so many diseases today.  The studies have not been done, but it is a foregone conclusion that wearing petroleum next to your skin is not a good idea.  Similar to cigarette smoking, by the time the studies are in, it’s too late.

Wool, cotton, linen, cashmere and other natural fibers are non-toxic and non-polluting.  They become a part of our ecosystem and absorb back into the ground they came from.  They are also breathable and comfortable in addition to being very soft and beautiful.

Need I say more?

Love and blessings to all.

What Would it Take To Give Up Your Polyester Fleece Jacket?

Sustainable 100% Merino Wool Fleece by Ocean SF

Dear Readers,

Please complete the poll below to help our company Ocean SF understand what it would take to rid the world of polyester fleece jackets that currently pollute drinking water by leaching tiny particles into our water systems at every washing.

Yacht Racing and The Midwinters

Aboard the Bobbi Tossi

I joined the Race Committee in July of 2016. Yachting is not what you think, but simply a group of people who love the water, sailing and competitive sports.

It’s a cross between golfing and skiing. The people are down to earth like my fellow all-walks-of-life ski and snow board buddies, from my ski instructor days in Tahoe. Racing is similar to golfing as rules and handicaps apply, and mean that even if you win the race, you might not win the race.

The people are young and old, and from all over the world, with an incredible array of personalities and politics.

On Saturday, I was on the Mark Set boat, to set the race course before the race. We traveled a mile out and dropped a buoy with an anchor and then headed a mile down wind to set the second and watch the race. At lunchtime, we joined the rest of the committee on the committee boat sitting in the sunshine eating sandwiches, chips and dip, and lots of cookies. Sailors like cookies it appears.

I spent the entire day on the water in the sun and wind. Afterwards, the Race Committee convened to the bar. I changed out of my foulies, and looked in the mirror, my eyes were an even clearer blue green then they were before. There is always this feeling of lightness in the air near the water.

From the Yacht Club, I watch the sun go down, and sit with Bobbi and John, and talk about their nine PAC Cup races to Hawaii. Then, my friends join me, and we leave together to go to dinner.

A day like this is a cure for almost anything. I woke up this morning with a sense of happiness, grace, and gratitude.

Love and blessings to all.

Barbie Dolls & Fighting Plastic

Santa Cruz, 2004

Recently, my daughter brought up how much I hated plastic and how I wouldn’t allow anyone in our family to wear polyester when she was a little girl.

This is evidenced above, on a typical summer day, we are all wearing linen dresses. Nothing has changed, as I still wear only natural fabrics.

San Diego, 2017

I wear linen, cotton, silk, wool and cashmere primarily. I have many linen dresses and a host of white linen shirts, plus cotton shorts as I’m wearing above for the summer. In the winter, I wear long sleeve cotton T-shirts, cashmere sweaters, and skinny jeans with suede ballet flats or boots.

I always disliked polyester, even as a little girl, I disliked my polyester bedspread fiercely. I was so relieved when I bought a down duvet at Mark & Spencer’s in London and a cotton duvet cover for my bed in East Finchley in my 20’s. Today, every bed in my house has a down duvet, along with a percale cover.

As an adult raising children, I resented the plastic Barbie houses, the plastic toys and especially the baby and children’s clothing that was made with polyester. It frustrated me beyond repair that I could not buy Children’s pajamas, that were not made out of polyester and covered in fire retardant. Naturally, polyester will melt into your skin if heated necessitating extreme fire retardant laws to protect sleeping children exposed to fire, but more likely than fire, is the harm caused by toxic substances near the tissue of delicate children.

As a result, I spent a great deal of time, sourcing French children’s clothing by Petite Bateau, ironically meaning “little boat” in French, when my kids were small, not to impress, but to have my children in natural fabrics. All of this long before co-founding Ocean SF.

When my daughter brought this up I asked her if she would talk about it in a video and when she came down to see our boat, Solana, and she did.

Join me in necessitating the change that must happen in our homes, our lives and our environment.

Love and blessings to all.

Small Town

From Sanctuary with the Ocean SF crew

When I first moved to the Bay Area and began working for Bank of America as a Systems Analyst, my boss, a Sr. Vice President at the time, told me, “Sydney, San Francisco might look big, but it’s a small town, don’t burn any bridges.”She’s long since retired, but a trip through my LinkedIn account confirms her wise words. We are all connected here. Even before LinkedIn became a part of our lexicon, I experienced this. All of the Wells people had formerly worked at Bank of America, all of the Voice Over IP employees had worked together at AT&T or Pacbell. Everyone knew everyone. As tech took over employees were tapped from these industries, or they formed their own start ups, and worked together again. I would get calls from people I had worked with years before to join them again.

It was always important to me, that I worked hard and maintained my excellent reputation, so I could return to my consulting practice as was necessary while I raised my family. Luckily, I never really stopped working, and I’ve gained friends and contacts galore along the way.

Now, I have my own company, Ocean SF, and if I need anything, I have a rich network to call on, and the reverse is also true. I’m always here to help my students, friends, and colleagues as they start businesses or change careers. I’m willing to help in anyway possible. This is the culture I have lived in for most of my adult life, and I’m very proud to call this my home.

In the Bay Area, it’s how we do business, we connect with and help each other, no wonder LinkedIn (click to read their history) was founded here. Of course they tapped their friends from PayPal and other networks, in the same way my friends; Craig Nomura, Mike Hession and Seth Freeman, experts in their disciplines have joined Ocean SF to form our Advisory Board.

As always, thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way.

Love and blessings to all.

Always My Baby

Paris called on Saturday morning and said she wanted to come home.  She boarded a SW flight a few hours later, and by 4 o’clock she was in my arms again. Even though, she’s eighteen now (it’s her half birthday today), she will always be my baby.  

When I pulled up she was standing curbside in a cream colored fur coat and a pair of clear orange sunglasses. Her body language and demeanor prove that she is a strong and powerful person in her own right now, and obviously no longer a baby in any sense of the word. 

I’ve watched her over the past year demonstrate tremendous strength and determination.  I wish I could say that I’ve seen major strides as she’s faced adversity, but honestly, she has always been this way.  A person of character; confident, smart and a very beautiful soul with a powerful intellect and sense of justice.

She has essentially not changed a whit since the first day of pre-school when the other little girls wouldn’t let her play house with them. She told me that she didn’t care because she wanted to be President of the United States instead.

Hold fast to your dreams…

Love and blessings to all.

 

Teens & Drinking

My precious daughter, came home from college and she wanted a glass of wine. Then, her little sister wanted one too. As I didn’t have that much wine, I gave them each an inch.

I remember fondly my evenings in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada with my mother’s beautiful family. My uncles were much younger than my mother who was the eldest of twelve. So, at every family gathering there was always music, alcohol, friends and often a trip to the clubs downtown for more drinking.  I found myself in bars with my aunts and uncles when I was fourteen. My mother’s little brother was only ten years older than me, making him 24.

One of my favorite girlhood memories is of drinking champagne with my mother’s little sister, Ellen, when I was six. We sat on the sofa in her beautiful three story home in North Vancouver, and she gave me the tiniest aperitif glass full of pink champagne.

Refusing my eighteen year old daughter alcohol feels conservative in comparison, but there was also alcoholism in my family, and the consequences of those addictions were not as pretty as the people who had them.

I’ve never been someone who could drink very much. Days on houseboats where people drank all day were not for me. I’ve always abhorred bars, crowded places, and drunk people in general.

Now, that my daughter is in college and the holidays are coming up, I find myself in uncharted water.

Let me know your thoughts on this topic. I welcome any insight. Please comment below.

Love and blessings to all.