Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What Color is Your Car?

From a very young age, I have loved cars. Not just any cars... European sports cars to be exact. I think my first love was a dark teal Porsche that one of my dad's friends owned. When I was six or seven he took me for a ride in it.  I will never forget that. Next, I fell for a dark green convertible Triumph TR7 that I saw on a family summer vacation in Leavenworth.  A young newlywed couple was driving it on their honeymoon. It seemed like pure bliss to me, even at that young age!

I met my husband in college and he drove a red Alfa Romeo Spider. We often joke that I fell for him because of his car. There is probably some truth in that! At least it got him noticed… and that is exactly the theory behind what the color of your car says about you.  

I was reading Leatrice Eiseman's The Color Answer Book on a recent Saturday morning. When I came to the section titled “What Your Car Color Says About You” my heart skipped a beat and I read it with great interest!

We have three cars: red, white and black. According to Eiseman, an international color expert and executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, vibrant red cars = sexy, speedy, high-energy and dynamic.  White = fastidious (ie: very attentive to and concerned about accuracy and details.) Black = empowered, not easily manipulated, loves elegance, appreciates classic.

It’s crazy, but these all ring true for me. See the box below to find out what the color of your car says about YOU! Any truth in it?

 Source: The Color Answer Book. 100+ Frequently Asked Color Questions for Home, Health and Happiness by Leatrice Eiseman

And I think, actually I know, we passed down our love for European sports cars to our daughter Sofia. One of her first words was “Porsche” (no kidding, there is a classic green one in our neighborhood that she loves). And her favorite thing to do on a sunny day is go for a ride in the Alfa with daddy! Like father like daughter…. Like mother like daughter!

This morning my husband zoomed off to work in his little red sports car. I have to say, it was pretty sexy!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

In Living Color

Today we went to the beach in West Seattle with friends to see some of the lowest tides of the year and in search of sea life that is usually hidden under water.  As soon as we got out of the car, we were greeted by that “salty sea” smell that my friend Amy quickly pointed out. Just 20 minutes from home, it felt like we were a world away, at the seashore. Indeed, we saw many starfish, crabs, electric green seaweed and other cool things. There is something about the Seattle gray sky that makes colors pop. I hope you enjoy these shots from our cool and colorful day at the beach. And if you can make it to West Seattle this week the tides will be low until Friday. Check here for the schedule. It’s really a treat!

Between the colors and the smiles and the squeals of glee when we spotted another sea critter, it was a pretty amazing day at the beach!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Thank God It’s Monday!

If you’re anything like me, Mondays can be overwhelming and harried. My to-do list is long and I’m usually recovering from an action-packed weekend. By the time I hit Friday my to-do’s are checked off, I’m feeling more relaxed and I’m gearing up for another action-packed weekend. So what if we treated Mondays like Fridays? Just thinking about that makes me feel better about Mondays.

According to a wonderful book I’ve been reading called 5. Where will you be five years from today?, “Dreading Mondays is a ridiculous way to spend one-seventh of your life, but that’s the weird habit that millions of people have fallen into.”

Think about this: Over the next five years, there are 260 Mondays. What kind of magic and miracles can you create with that kind of time? Why not welcome every Monday with the same anticipation and excitement that most people reserve for Fridays?

I’m designating Mondays as “New Music Monday!” I’m changing up my play lists and exploring new artists and genres. It’s amazing what a little newness can do to your Monday morning. And it makes me excited already for next Monday and the next Monday….

Plus, there is evidence that trying new things boosts your energy and improves your overall happiness.

Here are a few ideas to help you think of what you can do to put Monday on a pedestal like Friday.  

·        Meet a friend for coffee before work
·        Meet a friend for happy hour after work
·        Explore a new park or neighborhood
·        Start a new exercise class
·        Go to a museum
·        Visit the library
·        Eat lunch outside with a good book
·        Spend time on a hobby
·        Volunteer
·        Take a new route to work or school
·        Email an old friend you haven’t talked to in a while
·        Call your mom
·        Paint your nails a new, bright color
·        Or be like me and listen to new music!

What are you waiting for? Let’s take back our Mondays!


P.S. What’s on your playlist?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

For the Love of Hermès Colors

When you hear the name of the venerable French fashion designer Hermès, what color immediately comes to mind?

Orange, of course. And not just any orange: Hermès Orange.

It is arguably the most identifiable color association of any fashion house. I think that growing up with the last name Hermes somehow predispositioned me to loving the color and all things Hermès, especially their sumptuous dip dye scarves – in vivid saturated colors from deep orange to hot pink to green and everything in between.

A couple of months ago, I was delighted to attend the Hermès Festival des Mètiers (Festival of Crafts), when they kicked off their yearlong tour at The Bravern in Bellevue. It was such a treat to see the talented Hermès craftsmen and women silk-print scarves, carefully set tiny diamonds in beautiful jewelry, cut and stitch leather gloves, and put the finishing touches on a Birkin bag. The attention to detail and quality that each artisan explained (with a beautiful French accent, of course) helped me appreciate their products even more. It’s like giving birth each time a Hermès product is completed. Seriously, an Hermès scarf takes two years from start to finish to complete. Amazing!

I also learned that it's not all about orange at Hermès. These experienced scarf makers described their “color kitchen” in Lyon. There are more than 75,000 possible colors, all written down in a recipe book. A little of this, a little of that, and voila! They also said that they can easily identify “Hermès colors” from all other colors. As an example, I was wearing one of my Hermès scarves, and the scarf maker told the crowd: “See, that’s one of ours.” By the color alone, one can identify Hermès.

My daughter Sofia ogled over her favorite scarves too – hot pink of course! She’s been wearing scarves since she was a baby (not Hermès yet!) and she’s destined to be a collector like me.

Like I said, it's not all about orange at Hermès. These gorgeous colors are first applied to paper by an Hermès silk engraver who draws the artwork on a separate layer for each color (sometimes up to 45 colors per scarf) before the tedious silkscreening process begins.

The silk engraver's tools along with 33 years of experience ensure the artwork is perfectly transferred to the paper plates that eventually are used to silk-screen the scarf.

The pots of dyes used for silk-screening the scarves are so vivid and rich.

An Hermès leathermaker puts the finishing touches on this gorgeous blue Birkin bag. He was so proud of his craft and it was a treat to see the attention to detail that is given to each iconic bag.

Even the Hermès thread is sumptuous.

Boxes of buttons used by the Hermès shirtmaker.

Even a heap of thread looks charming in a signature Hermès box.

Gorgeous hand-made leather gloves.

And last, but certainly not least, I wouldn't do an Hermès post justice without sharing a little pronunciation lesson that I learned on my first trip to Paris several years ago when we visited the flagship Hermès store at 24, Rue Faubourg Saint-Honore and that each craftsman at the exhibit reiterated....
The proper pronunciation of the Hermès brand is AIR-maess. The “H” is silent and the “s” is pronounced. It’s a cross between air-mace and air-mess. Got that? It just seems to roll off French people’s tongues. I am still practicing!

For comparison, the Greek God Hermes is pronounced (HUR-meez). This is how we pronounced my maiden name growing up, although as you can imagine I heard lots of variations.