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.

Family, Love & Birthday Traditions

We headed into the city on Friday to belatedly celebrate Paris’ 19th birthday. Since Paris was in the fifth grade we’ve gone to Neiman Marcus for lunch on her birthday.

For the first few years we went to the spectacular Rotunda resteraunt in San Francisco. Later, so she wouldn’t miss so much school, we went to the Neiman Marcus restaurant in Walnut Creek.

Yes, many people say that it’s over priced, but the food is amazing, the atmosphere gorgeous and they treat you like glass, giving you lovely popovers with strawberry butter to start and a delicious chocolate chip cookie when you depart.

Anyway, on this particular day, we couldn’t get our usual table in the Rotunda. We like to sit by the window and look out over Union Square. As a rule, we always sit at the same tables in restaurants we love. So, we decided to shop and come back when our table was ready. However, everyone was hungry, so we went to the Four Seasons instead.

It was a nice change and they treated us equally well. Our table had a gorgeous view of Market Street (above) and they brought us a beautiful platter of chocolates and fruit at the end.

I’ve incorporated traditions into the life of my family over the years, as I grew up with no traditions, and from holiday to holiday, I never knew what to expect. I had also read that traditions are good for children, and I think they were nice for all of us as life over the last few years specifically, has been largely unpredictable.

However, I think change is positive and doing things just slightly differently, while retaining the spirit of the thing, is an evolution of sorts.

We’ve all changed and grown so much from that Saturday afternoon having our first grown up birthday lunch together so long ago.

Although change is good, and it is the one thing we can all count on, what has not changed is our love for each other, and the joy in spending these special occasions together.

Love and blessings to all.

Another Side Hustle

Over the weekend I helped staff the most beautiful wedding at Preservation Park in downtown Oakland.

At this point in my life anything is preferable to sitting in front of my computer working on my company and writing projects by myself for 10 hours per day seven days per week. I want to get out, meet new people, and experience new things. Plus, I can use the money to do nice things for my kids.

It was an honor to set tables for 120 guests and watch the professional staff do their jobs from the Mariachi Band to the amazing gourmet food, to the stunning floral arrangements. I had a blast and met a half dozen new friends. What a privilege to be a part of such a magical night. I can’t wait to do it again.

I say it all the time, get out of your comfort zone, and try something new.

Love and blessings to all.

Love Is the Most Powerful Force

Love can move mountains. As a mother, I know that this is most certainly true, and that it is the most powerful force of all. It motivates my every motion from dawn until dusk.

I’ve been working an insane amount of hours. This morning I was up at 5 a.m. to meet my Ocean SF Business partner before I started my side hustle on Treasure Island at 8:30 a.m. I’m falling in love with my co-workers and the entire business of making some of the most beautiful liquor in the world. The environment is fun, lively, and completely inspires me as an entrepreneur.

I’ve met some amazingly beautiful people and have enjoyed every moment. If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t be doing it, but at the same time it’s helping me so much in understanding how to manufacture high quality products. The process is so similar to the clothing industry where there are entrepreneurs helping entrepreneurs (more on this complex ecosystem later).

In addition, I’m given a nice amount of product, which if whiskey is your thing is good, but for me I’ve given most of it away, as I am a wine drinker. I’ve been offered a bottle of the premium brand of rum that was just bottled, and all I can think to do with it is to pour it over ice cream served with whipped cream and caramels. The entire building smelled like vanilla, spices, and sugars when it was bottled the other day. I will eventually serve this dish with coffee and warm cognac at a future dinner party.

As I drive over the bridge every morning toward San Francisco I weigh my options. My mind is as unsettled as the water below me, but someday the water will be calm and the path will be obvious. From experience, I know that after the path is chosen, no matter how difficult the choice, it will bring positive changes and move my life in a forward trajectory.

You would not believe how long it took me to form that last sentence, though not easily conveyed, the sentiment behind it is true. Some decisions are more difficult than others as they come with twists and turns and must be taken at the onset purely on faith.

Everything I do now is for my children and it is because of this intention that I know everything will be fine.

I look forward to the day when my life is settled, happy and predictable, but until then I will enjoy maintaining a beautiful home for my children, spending time with the people I love, and driving to magical Treasure Island.

Love is a powerful force and it both guides and protects me on my journey.

Love and blessings to all.

The Side Hustle

At a recent investor pitch meeting, the speaker mentioned her side hustle. I hadn’t heard this term before, but every entrepreneur from Henry Ford to Steve Jobs had a side hustle on their way to success. Later at the reception I found many entrepreneurs have side hustles. These are typically wildly different from the main hustle.

As the English say, “a change is as good as a rest.”

On my way home I thought about this a great deal as I’ve many expensive and frustrating experiences with my main hustle (Ocean SF). I felt intuitively that I needed to stop what I was doing and find a side hustle. I needed a change of scenery and I needed new people in my life. And I wanted that right away.

The next day, I started looking for a side gig. I spend a lot of time behind a computer, so I needed something where I could meet new people and not have to sit at a desk. I saw an advertisement for the family run Treasure Island Festival and applied. Later, I learned my boss picked only two names out of a list of hundreds. Four days later I was on Treasure Island with my new boss surrounded by amazing food, music and art.

I enjoy young people and am used to them from my ski instructor and sailing experiences, but nothing could have prepared me for what lay ahead. I met so many artist and entrepreneurs and was offered half a dozen other jobs. As it turns out I was good at directing traffic and telling people what to do. I even had a two way radio.

My Treasure Island job was the most fun I’ve had in a long time, and it helped me find my second side gig which has been amazingly enjoyable as well, and has given me great insight into some of my most pressing Ocean SF production issues.

I’ve already made new friends and have a steady stream of lucrative work when I need money or a distraction from my own often stressful main hustle.

It’s important to get out of your comfort zone and try new things. Meeting new people and sharing new experiences is good for the soul.

I also think there is a little luck involved and as everyone knows, I pray every morning, and am often blessed in unusual ways. In no way has this been more true than now.

Love and blessings to all.