Marin, Tim Parr & Caddis

Being your own boss has many benefits, one of them is meeting up with interesting people in beautiful places. Today, in Marin, I sit outside in the sunshine having lunch with the legendary Tim Parr, who’s been a driver behind iconic brands like Patagonia, Kona, and L.L. Bean to name just a few.

He’s just launched another company called Caddis, an eyewear company. It’s all about lifestyle, check out their Architects and Custodians page here, it’s about creating change, generating ideas, and spawning creativity.

I’ve been trying to get a meeting with him since last summer, after an introduction by mutual friends, the Finegold’s of Tart, as he is very experienced in working with Merino wool. It was certainly worth the wait. He gave me some great advise for Ocean SF, aside from reassuring me that we were on the right track; he advised we take our time, and make the highest quality product possible. It will take as long as it takes. True that.

We’ve taken a great deal of time to create a sustainable product that is both beautiful and environmentally responsible, and after a year and a half of working diligently, orders will begin shipping in the next few weeks.

It’s been a journey, with many twists and turns along the way, but ultimately there is nothing more rewarding than seeing a vision you created with friends on a sailboat come to fruition. This is something Tim Parr completely understands.

What an inspiring guy. And he bought me lunch. What’s not to love?

Check out his company at caddislife.com.

Love and blessings to all.

Whoever Said it Was Easy Must of Had it Pretty Good

The life of an entrepreneur is wrought with untold obstacles, stress, and fight or flight inducing fear. If this were easy, then everyone would be doing it.

I’ve worked for four start ups, all of them successful, but I took note of the downfalls, the set backs, and the inherent doubt and confusion involved. So, I knew exactly what I was getting into when I started Ocean SF, but the lure of following my own dream, making a meaningful mark on the world, and being my true authentic self was too great. Safety and security and a known path in life can be beautiful, and I’ve done that as well, but stepping onto an unknown path is another matter all together. Taking this risk has summoned my upmost courage.

From the beginning, the obstacles along the way have not deterred, or surprised me. I expected them quite honestly, and regardless, I continued on knowing in my heart that I was on the right path, and there was no turning back.

Now, the fabric that we went to hell and back to manufacture has shipped. We looked all over the world for this fabric from LA, to NYC, to Italy, France, China and Bangladesh. We had everyone looking for it, and we rejected countless samples. Finally, we had no choice, but to acquiesce, and mill it our selves in our custom colors, most significantly Safety Orange. It took four solid months! Believe it or not, you can’t buy sustainable wool fleece, not like ours and not anywhere in the world. You can buy polyester fleece all day long for cents on the dollar, but it pollutes drinking water, and does not keep sailors, or anyone else warm if it gets wet. There is nothing like it for performance outdoors.

Our fabric is custom milled for Ocean SF of 100% Merino wool. The exterior is tightly woven to keep the wind out, the soft interior to keep you warm, while regulating body heat. Anyone can wear it for any sport. It’s beautiful, machine washable, and so on.

I’ve been conducting focus groups. And no surprise, everyone who sees our jackets, touches the fabric and tries it on absolutely loves it. Thank goodness!

To see the light at the end of the tunnel finally, feels so good. If it were easy everyone would be doing it. Follow your dreams people! Find what makes your heart pound and do that.

Love and blessings to all.

Calling All Angels

Enter the world of Ocean SF, our beautiful, chic, environmentally sophisticated clothing company targeting the affluent American sailing market, plus all our fellow adventure seekers!

We are raising capital to expand our clothing line beyond our popular sustainable signature jacket made with our custom milled 100% Merino wool to include silk, linen, cashmere, and cotton casual apparel for all outdoor activities on and off shore.

We are opening our first round for friends and family with only a minimum investment of $5,000.

Angels can contact me personally, or via our webstore at oceansf.co, or at hello@oceansf.co. We will put you in contact with our financial advisor who will fill you in on all details.

Love and blessings to all.

You Are My Sunshine

Even before my husband died I had strange incidents of synchronicity, or meaningful coincidences. Yesterday, I had a meeting at Berkeley Yacht Club with a woman I met at the Project Entrepreneur Summit. Julie runs a company called the Healing Farm, and I was telling her the story behind the purchase of our beloved sail boat, Solana. I wrote about this nine months ago when it happened, but it is even more relevant now that Solana is in the water and such a big part of our lives.

Grief is a tricky emotion. Sometimes, the pain subsides and it’s possible for me to go about my day like a normal person, but other times it is crippling. For me, the saddest part is raising my daughters alone, and there are times when the weight and sorrow of this is too much to bare. This is compounded by having lost my own father when I was nine years old, and my mother twenty years later.  If I allow myself to think too hard about these losses I am left with a stunning sense of abandonment. One day in particular, I was in the later mindset. I was running errands and crying while doing so.

People in my small town are, as a rule, very kind, so no one appeared to notice as I did my shopping while crying. As my tears fell the checkers would only look at me with compassion and ask softly if I might need a bag for my purchases.  While picking up wrapping paper at Home Goods, I saw a coffee cup that said, “Sunshine heals” and around the rim, “You are my sunshine” and I decided to buy it for myself to cheer myself up.  I paid for it, and took it home with me, and later that night, I was texting Andrew, my boat partner and business partner, and I asked the name of the boat he wanted to buy, and he said, “Solana” or “Sunshine” in Spanish.  I was drinking out of the cup as I read this, and then my eyes slowly glanced down, there was a sun on the front with a smiley face. ☀️

This was definitely in the category of rare moments I will never forget, and now having since bought and successfully restored our beautiful sailboat Solana, it makes that moment even more meaningful.

As I’ve moved forward on this difficult journey, I’ve followed signs like these, they are like guide posts along the way, I don’t know if it is the Universe or God, or my own belief in such things, but they are always with me.  One day, I was singing a song in the house as I was getting ready to leave, and when I got in the car, it was playing on the radio.  Whether, it is a song, or meeting someone new who is so encouraging of my writing or my company Ocean SF, it makes me feel like I am on the right path.

Buying Solana was one of the best decisions I have ever made.  We now have our meetings for Ocean SF on our boat, and it will soon serve as a mobile pop-up store (more on this later). And for The Trident Project, our non-profit, it will be used to troll for plastics and gather water samples for Berkeley Labs.

The cup I bought so many months ago, now sits on the desk in my office, and holds my colored pencils, and as for the tears, well, sometimes, it really is alright to cry.

As the months go by, I am grateful for the beautiful and supportive small town I live in, all of the friends I’ve made sailing, and starting my sailing apparel line, and for our little yellow boat, Solana.

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.

Chanel, Cigarettes & Natural Fabrics

Screen Shot 2017-11-14 at 7.32.15 PM
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.

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.

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.

 

Yoga & Healing Trauma & Finding Balance. 

I went back to yoga after a several year hiatus. I started six years ago at a studio in Walnut Creek. At the time, I knew I needed more self care, and it was a start.

It was the first time in my adult life that I became aware of my body as an observer. I would watch my hands as I planked, or watch my knees and ankles to ensure my bones were perfectly aligned. I was instantly good at it. My first class was a level two and I went through the motions with ease. Those classes were an hour and a half long, and the entire process of finding parking in Walnut Creek and so on, took almost three hours, or the entire morning.

It was a commitment to myself that I quickly gave up as the demands of my family intervened that first summer, making doing anything for myself, an impossibility. People have the illusion stay-at-home-mothers have all the time in the world, but they do not. They are staffing hot lunch, or organizing the back to school cake walk, or driving carpool for the volleyball team, or having kids over after school.  Finding time for yoga was priority #25, or lower in those days. After that first winter of going regularly, I went only periodically, if at all.

Last summer, I broke my wrist, but I promised myself I would return to yogo when I had healed. This week I took my first class from Esther at Humble Yoga. With my business partner in Montreal, I had a little more time, and more flexibility.

It’s been a stressful time in my life. Some of that stress was negative, and I had to dig deep to with grace handle the demands on me, now however, those demands are mostly positive. Having to meet with large banks who are interested in my company, or going to events where I meet tech billionaires increased my blood pressure like you would not believe.

Staying up all night preparing decks was just part of it, even deciding what to wear tested my cortisol levels. As an environmentalist, I didn’t want to go buy anything new. It seemed an oxymoron to pitch a sustainable clothing company wearing a polyester dress made in China. So, I went to the consignment store and bought a vintage dress by American designer Nanette Lepore. It was not cheap either. It was black, sleeveless and beautifully tailored, perfect for the warm October day.

This particular meeting went well, but all of it landed me by the end of October deeply depleted. I did all of the things I usually do in times of stress. I carved out time to be alone, I stayed home instead of going out. I walked my dog in serene settings, I cleaned up my diet and lowered my caffeine intake, I went to church, and yet even sleeping was stressful. I would wake up and not be able to go back to sleep. Then, because I would be afraid I would wake up, and not be able to go back to sleep, I couldn’t fall asleep.

Recently, I read that yoga heals trauma. They are teaching it in prisons and it’s having an enormously positive impact. It teaches so many good things, to breath oxygen into every part of our being is not even the most beneficial aspect, it teaches awareness and the ability to control the mind body continuum. Trauma is trapped in the body and yoga, studies show, is the antidote to releasing it.

As a single mother trying to support my family, I still feel guilty taking this time out for myself. But, when Esther asked our class to think about why we were there, the dominant thought I had was to find balance. After three classes, I do feel more balanced. I also feel rested and relaxed. If I can heal the trauma of the last year or so, that would be an added bonus.

Namaste.

Love and blessings to all.