Moving On

After much consideration, I’ve decided to stop writing my blog and focus my time and energy on other endeavors. I am deeply grateful to the thousands of readers from over 72 countries who have come along with me on this journey. You have helped me to grow through my own experiences and taught me the power of community.  I will miss your comments and constant encouragement. I will continue to write my column for 24/680 News on the topic of women in business.

I want to leave you with these final words.

Courage cannot be attained without experiences that require us to call on our strength. This is how we learn fearlessness. Circumstances that require courage allow us to learn and grow as we test our own inner strength. Often, I wish for the past two years to have never happened and that they could be erased forever from my memory. I think back to the person I was when this began and my happy and mostly carefree life with gratitude. However, without my trials and tribulations and meeting them head-on I would not have attained the fearlessness I have now. It has not been easy, yet it has made me as strong and brilliant as a diamond set in spun gold.

Only through fearful circumstances can we learn to build and strengthen our courage. Now, there is nothing that I am afraid of and for that I am very grateful.

I am looking forward to the next chapter and it’s here.

Love and blessings to all.

Love Songs

Since I started the side hustle(s) I’ve worked almost everyday. Since the work is fun, and gets me out of both the house and my head, I’ve excepted more work than I should have.

I worked eight days straight and then spent my day off meeting with the nonprofit I sponsor (Sailing Initiative) and doing more work. I then stayed at the Yacht Club drinking wine with my friends Fran and Betty. Then, upon returning home I ended up talking to my cousin on the phone until midnight further exhausting myself.

I knew I was in need of a break, so I took a few days off to go to Truckee to rest and clear my head.

In the kitchen where I work they play love songs all day long. This has had an adverse impact on me making me think long and hard about my late husband and our twenty five years together. It’s easy to forget so many things in a long term relationship, but trust me there is a love song to go with each and every phase to jog your memory.

My late husband and I were next door neighbors, and he worked in Oakland and I worked in San Francisco. He would drive me to BART because he didn’t want me to get my feet wet. Yes, I wore Italian suede shoes, but it was unlikely my feet would get wet living in drought ridden Northern California. Nevertheless, he dropped me off and picked me up every day. I hope to one day meet someone who will love me like that again.

Last night, in Truckee I picked wild flowers from around our home, and took a Coors Light (this is what we drank in our 20’s) down to Lake Tahoe and sat with our dog Polly near where we sprinkled his ashes.

Then I drove back to our cabin and sat on the deck and watched the sun go down like I’ve done a thousand times before.

Peaceful. Grateful. Letting go.

Love and blessings to all.

More on The Side Hustle

Like all hard workers, I’ve been offered several jobs through my side hustles and opportunities to move up and work full time if I would like. However, my dream of sustainable outdoor apparel continues to pull me. I have children to support, so I’m weighing my options.

Additionally, because of my experience and understanding of both technology and marketing communications, I’ve been contacted by companies far and wide. These are not side hustles, but very full time career type positions mostly in the Silicon Valley.

Recently, Facebook in Menlo Park called me for a marketing content specialist role. It’s tempting. More than tempting.

I’m drawn to my own endeavors and using my creativity, but I’m the sole parent now with two children to get through college. As my business partner said when he resigned, “it was indeed fun” although I will miss hanging out with him, I thought of it as work.

It’s been enjoyable having both my own business and working for other entrepreneurs simultaneously. I’ve loved my co-workers and doing new things. It’s been very enlightening watching how hard the business owners work. They pitch in and do everything. Today, I was making cookies at the catering company. This is alarming news for anyone who knows me well, as I am a notoriously bad baker. Not to worry, I was only rolling the dough into balls and then brown sugar for my co-worker to bake. Please don’t ask me who’s private jet they were for, as I’m not allowed to say, but it is testament to what a truly exceptional company this is. The food is made from the most beautiful ingredients and expertly executed. I would not have missed this experience for the world as it’s been amazingly interesting and has inspired me to cook again. But, most importantly, it has taught me what to expect from those around me in terms of effort.

My days are full and busy, but its time to think long and hard about my own future and how to proceed in a way that will allow me to care for and protect myself and my children.

I always follow my heart, but I need to go inward and think carefully about my next steps. I trust myself, and know I will make the right decisions.

Love and blessings to all.

Going It Alone

I’ve had a good deal of endings and many loses over the past 22 months. I often tell myself that it won’t last forever. This feeling of vulnerability, constant change and upheaval. I remind myself that the past always informs the future. I’ve had so many successes that my future will likely be full of the same.

At 22 I worked for the Senate, by 24 I ran my own ballot measure campaign, at 25 I was a Systems Analyst, at 26 I was a Product Manager in electronic banking, at 27 the Communications Manager for the Northwest, then a Channel Manager in mobile, a Marketing Director in software, and had a successful consulting career South of Market in tech working for four start ups.

I married the man of my dreams and bought my first home before thirty. I had two beautiful daughters. My paintings have hung in galleries and I’ve written three books.

That was my past. A beautiful past. The future is now undetermined, and I bring to it my hard won experience, talent and determination.

The past always informs the future, and I’m planning on it being even better than I can imagine.

Love and blessings to all.

Kids, Love & Food

I have a bad habit of spoiling the ones I love. I do this in many ways, but in no way is it more obvious then in how I cook for the people I absolutley adore.

No matter how tired I am, or what I am doing, I always find time to drop everything and make something amazing for one or the other of my daughters. All they have to do is look at me and tell me they’re hungry and I go running off to the kitchen like they were four years old (I once did this for my late husband as well).

Today, felt like a Sunday, and we had all eaten a very late lunch, so no one was interested in dinner, my older daughter went out, but as eight o’clock rolled around my younger daughter, who had been studying all day for the SAT gave me that sad look and told me she was hungry.

I’ve made these little pizza’s before and they are a favorite. So, this is what I made for her. I took the picture above and wanted to share this very easy and quick recipe with you.

Mediterranean Pizza

1 pita

1 onze pesto (this was actually a chimichurri sauce, but I’ve used both)

1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup mixed spinach, chard and kale

5 kalamata olives

2 cherry tomatoes halved

Salt and pepper

The first thing you do is pull out a frozen pita (Costco) and put it immediately in the oven on the rack with a cookie sheet under it at 400 degrees. This helps it defrost. Then I put a pan on the stove to preheat turning it on high (my stove is slow to heat up so adjust as needed). I use a nonstick pan. I gather the other ingredients while everything is heating up.

Then, I pull the pita out of the oven and spread the pesto lightly. I always do sauces on the light side, but give the kids some on the side for dipping. I then add the cheese and let the cheese melt. I usually cut up some fruit at this time because it’s a good time to get, said child, to actually eat it.

I know she’s seventeen, but I still care and worry about her. So, tonight she had strawberries and ate them all.

While the cheese in melting, and before the pan gets too hot, I add the eggs and cook them over easy. I make one for the dog (I can’t help it I love the dog as well) and the dog is now eleven so what is the harm at this point in giving her people food?

I keep an eye on the bread and when the cheese has melted (7-10 minutes depending on your oven) I pull it out. At this point I cut it into four triangles for ease in eating. I put the salad mixture on top, add the olives and tomatoes and top with the egg. I always plate with salt and pepper, but not all humans like this I’ve found, so do what works for your loved ones.

This process literally takes so little time and it delights my children beyond what you might expect. I also make it with fig jam, Brie and arugula which with friends over is a very welcome snack.

Love and blessings to all.

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Dedication, Hard Work & Commitment

I love Maya Angelou for her wisdom and many fine quotes like this one. As an entrepreneur and having worked in many start ups and entrepreneurial ventures I can attest to the truth of her words.

Starting companies like all good adventures are enjoyable at the start. There are lots of meetings and brainstorming sessions and excitement, but meetings are not the real work of a company. They are just a small part. For Ocean SF the real work is behind the scenes. Buying the thread, reinforcing the pockets, shipping the merchandise, making the labels, driving to the bank and depositing money to keep the website up, managing the invoices and finances, working on the nonprofit, showing up to pick up garbage with twenty other people on a Saturday morning and taking 2,000 photos in the freezing cold to get that one great shot. Or, having hard conversations with co-workers, suppliers and contractors that make you unpopular. We can’t always be liked in business. Sometimes it’s necessary to be direct and factual to get things done. Yes, everyone wants to always be the nice guy, but this can be an expensive luxury.

Having a solid work ethic and showing up is 90% of being successful. Without the hard work, dedication and commitment it is only talk.

Another favorite quote of mine from Maya Angelou is, “When people show you who they are listen.”

Love and blessings to all.

Commitment Is Freedom

I’ve had a stressful week with the news of my Ocean SF partner resigning on Tuesday, but luckily it’s been another peaceful weekend.

I love living in the Bay Area. There is nothing more beautiful than San Francisco Bay. The azure water, the beautiful San Francisco skyline, and the many Islands and coves from Richmond to Redwood City never cease to fascinate me.

The way the sunlight plays on the water, the combination of the working harbor, and the recreational sailboats that go by proves the multi-cultured diverse ecosystem that is my home.

I spend a great deal of time on the Bay and recently on Treasure Island, but it is ever changing and never the same from one day to the next. It is always a different experience due to the dramatic role the weather plays.

Being on the water for the Friday Night sailboat races and then on Treasure Island for the Treasure Festival is in my opinion the epitome of bliss.

I especially enjoy spending time with my Treasure Festival boss Chaz. It was nice to have another entrepreneur to talk with about Ocean SF and the challenges ahead. Plus, I am treated so well there. I came home with arm loads of flowers, desserts and more food than I can eat in a week.

Recently, I’ve been thinking about commitment. As someone who values freedom above all else this is an unusual train of thought for me.

For many years of married life I found this deep commitment liberating, because I could focus on my career, and other interests knowing I had support and love to back me up every step of the way. My late husband supported everything I did. It made going out into the world that much easier.

It was during this time that I was the most successful in my career, my watercolor paintings hung in galleries, and he constantly encouraged me to write. He read everything I wrote and would tell me that if he could write like I could that he wouldn’t do anything else (he was a very fine writer as well I might add).

Because of this idea, I committed to Ocean SF 100% from the start. It’s been my baby and number one priority apart from my kids for the past two years. I’ve literally loved it into existence. Now, even people I don’t know have heard of Ocean SF. I’ve devoted myself 100% to promoting it on all platforms and it’s starting to pay off.

I feel so blessed to have had the resources to commit to Ocean SF full time for so long. I look forward to working with others who have deep roots and decades of experience in the retail industry who have committed to helping me to finally bring my vision to fruition.

Today, I committed to staying at my side hustle for an entire year, the last weekend of every month. My boss and I will meet monthly and talk about entrepreneurship and my Ocean SF progress. These conversations which will include all of the details of the highs and lows of being an entrepreneur will make a wonderful book for other entrepreneurs to learn from.

Commitment is freedom.

Love and blessings to all.

Action Is the Alchemy

Action is the alchemy of success. Recently, I’ve been out earning money to support my kids and further my company Ocean SF. There are easier ways to do this than the road I’ve taken, but I get so much out of working with other entrepreneurs that it has been well worth the effort.

From this experience, and others, I can tell you that nothing trumps hard work.

I’ve recently realized that a good idea supported by actionable steps, careful planning and execution, but specifically hard work is better than any brilliant idea.

Everyone has great ideas, but without the hard work they are only wishes.

Yesterday, I worked for six and a half hours on a catering team. Our small group worked diligently, heads down, and with very little talking. The owner was scrubbing a pan with steel wool. The company prepares meals for private jets among other things. No one works harder than those in the kitchens of the food industry.

The day before, I spent three hours driving to pick up and drop off the graphics for our sailboat and the nonprofit I am sponsoring. I had to make time to do this, and yes it was inconvenient, and I had to pay for it too, and it wasn’t cheap. But, this is what you have to do to be successful. Next, I will scrub the sails, and help afix the one foot logos to the mainsails of our sailboats. Soon, my Ocean SF logo will be on the Ocean SF sailboat, Solana and on the Sailing Initiative sailboat, Chomp and it will be due to my efforts, the efforts of the Chomp team, and our hard work.

After working in the kitchen, I went home and wanted to stay there, but I had promised to help with the Berkeley Yacht Club Race Committee, so I made a coffee and went. It’s important to show up, and not disappoint other people. It’s easy to get involved in our own personal issues and not realize how we impact and burden other people. I didn’t want my friend to not have an extra set of hands when he set the marks for the sailboat race, so I showed up, even though I was tired.

Today, I was at the Treasure Festival working for my friend Chazz. I love working there, a family run business, where all the kids show up and help. At one time, this festival was just an idea. Now, it’s an enterprise that supports a family.

Action and hard work are the Alchemy of success. There is no substitute for putting in the time and working hard.

Ideas without action are just wishful thinking, they do not bring into existence thriving companies or monthly festivals with 180 vendors and 20 food trucks. And guess what? The food on those trucks doesn’t cook itself.

If you want to make an impact on the universe, get on it.

Love and blessings to all.

Quitting

As we begin we never believe quitting is an option. My former Ocean SF business partner, Andrew Lacenere, has resigned due to heath reasons.

I’m not surprised as being an entrepreneur is stressful and start ups invariably take an enormous toll on our heath and nervousness system. When things go right it’s amazing, but as things go counter to expectations it is the opposite.

New enterprises are comprised of both the high and low.

When we started this, I had worked for four tech start ups and only one over time proved successful, so I knew the challenges that awaited.

Regardless, I still believe in my initial premise; sustainable, beautiful, performance based apparel.

Luckily, as always, I’ve had a little help from my friends.

Love and blessings to all.

The Silent Snow Fall

img_7522Recently, I was at my second home in Tahoe. It and the many friends that came with it comprise some of my most treasured memories. It is one of my many, many blessings and I am deeply grateful that I have it. It is one thing that I never take for granted.

We bought the home in May of 2007. It was the same month we got delivery of our beloved golden doodle named Polly as in the movie, Along Came Polly.  I haven’t been there for a while, but every time I am there I get the same feeling of happiness, peace and joy.  How I can forget how much I love it there I do not know.

I arrived in the afternoon, and visited with my wonderful neighbors. My dog Polly is not one to wait to be invited in, but just runs into the open doors of the neighbors and finds them in their homes to say hello. This is usually how they know we’ve arrived and they will come out and say hello while I’m outside unloading the car. This is our habit, and then we will text and take the dogs out for hikes or other excursions in the days that follow.

Before going to dinner with my dear friends Susan and Fred, I took Polly for a walk along the path that runs from my house to the top of Northstar Resort. Northstar is the mountain we skied every winter when the kids were growing up. It is also the place of our most cherished family memories. I know that I was fortunate to have an entire family that would ski or snowboard all day long without complaint or boredom. I always thought at some point the kids would go and ski with their friends, but they never did, we always skied together as a family, all four of us on the chair lift together with our friends and houseguests. Sometimes there would be three or four other families with us.

It’s almost painful to remember those many days and how the things I worried about most were so mundane, like what to make everyone for lunch, or who to invite up for New Years Eve. Things have changed so much and grown so complex.

My favorite days in Tahoe were the days when the storms would come closing the pass to the bay area. We would be trapped there with the roads closed in all directions. There is a silence in that valley that is like nowhere else. It is almost like waking up in a dream.

One year my friend Barb and I took the kids up to ski. I called her and told her we have to leave right now. There is a big storm coming and we have to outrun it. I immediately left and she wasn’t far behind. These were the days when I was very unpopular at the grade school because I would pull my kids out of school to ski. The school secretary did not like it when I arrived in snow boots and a parka saying both my children had dental appointments (I said this so the school would not be penalized by an unexcused absence).

I got a great deal of judgement for this at the time, as many of my friends believed that school, grades and being focused on college in grade school was a good thing. After everything that has happened, I now have absolutely no regrets, as the mountain has lessons that no school can teach.

Luckily, Barb is as adventurous as I am and had no problem driving straight into a snowstorm. She was the last car allowed over the pass before it closed. We skied that afternoon as the snow fell and the next day we woke to six feet of fresh powder. There was almost no one else on the mountain and we skied all day long with the kids.

Other days, I would wake up and the pass would be closed and the snow would be falling.  Silent. White. Pure. Peaceful.

My days now are complicated and full of endless obligations, responsibilities and duties. Yet, the memories of those days are lodged deep inside my mind. When I get stressed or anxious all I have to do is think of those moments. Below zero, my breath visible in the air, and the snow falling softly all around me.

Love and blessings to all.