Thursday, November 24, 2011

Amazing Women No. 6: Darlene Hermes

Darlene Hermes
My mom!
Seattle, WA

My mom is one of the most positive, creative, beautiful, healthy people I know. As I get older, I realize and appreciate how much I have learned from her and how so much I of who I am is a direct reflection of her.  Now that I have my own daughter I am seeing how much both my mom and I are passing onto to Sofia.  We have so many things in common and share so many interests and talents. All three of us love color, art, fashion, flowers, traditions, accessorizing (especially scarves!),creating, being active, going to church, traveling (especially to Paris). The list goes on and on. It’s very cool to see.
I have also come to realize that so many of the things my mom has told me over the years are true, especially when it comes to motherhood. Like “Once a mom, always a mom.” She’s still always there for me and I know I will always be there for Sofia. And “Being a mother is the most important job you will ever have.” I am starting to more fully understand and appreciate that one. It is also the hardest job I have ever had, but my mom has supported me every step of the way….

My mom’s positive “blue sky” outlook on everything, during good times and challenging ones, is such an inspiration to me. She has more faith than anyone I know – in people, in God, in herself, even in the weather!!  I remember so many times growing up I would look outside and comment on the gray sky. She would always say, “The sun is going to pop out!” She must have had x-ray vision. Actually I think she just had a really sunny outlook, because I could never see it through the thick gray clouds, but it usually did pop out. In hindsight, I don’t think it was x-ray vision. She always sees the best in everything and everyone. That is such a gift and something I am still working on.

I am featuring my mom as one of the most amazing women I know. She gave birth to me 40 years ago on Thanksgiving Day and she still talks about it like it was one of the most special days of her life. Thank you mom, for everything. I love you!

Q. What is your favorite color combination and why? Does it change with the seasons or do you have a go-to favorite(s)?

A. Basic colors (like navy blue and black) are my favorite and then colorful accessories complete the look.  I wear a scarf every day; it is my signature.  My first job with the airlines I wore a camel wool coat with a scarf probably tied as an ascot to my first interview.  The VP that hired me on the spot later told me it was because of my classic coat and scarf look!!

Red would be my favorite for accessories: red leather purse, red leather driving gloves, red coat and, in my home, my accent color in each room is red. 

My mom's artwork was featured in the Madison Park Art Walk. She loves red doors!

Q. Where do you look for creative inspiration for your art and your life?
A. Creative inspiration is found all around me, every day.  I look for inspiration as I walk, drive, meet people, enjoy all the details of objects, and look for meaning in what I choose to touch, remember, smell, give, take and share with all around me.   Being a creative person, I enjoy mostly the simple things in life that bring joy to me and to those that I share my thoughts with.

Q. I know that I inherited my love of traditions and rituals from you. What is your favorite holiday tradition and why?
A. One of my favorite rituals when you and Jill were growing up was to make every day special in a special way.  I would set the table in the morning for your breakfast with a theme of the day or season.  There are so many little things I used to do that I call rituals. Birthday parties were always very special. I would put a number candle on a paper doily on a plate on your birthday each year. 

Memories of our very special family Thanksgiving celebrations are paramount in my mind.  I loved to prepare for the trip, packing candles, flowers, snacks, sometimes the turkey and off we would go to a destination – Lake Quinault Lodge and Cannon Beach stand out!!
My mom's illustration.

Q. One of your favorite authors is Alexandra Stoddard, author of Living a Beautiful Life and several other books.  What is your favorite advice or quote of hers?
A. Inspiration from Alexandra Stoddard comes in statements like “Let all your motivation come from inside you;” “Get a Passport;” “At night, in the mornings, on weekends, the important thing is to like and understand yourself;” and “Daring to be Yourself”!!
Q. Your personal style is classic, yet always current and a bit artsy. What is your fashion philosophy?
A. Stay classic. Don’t follow fads as they fade away very quickly. Classic is forever. 

Q. I know you have always loved quotes. Can you share a favorite with us?

A. “Look at this day, yesterday is but a dream, tomorrow a vision; But today well lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and tomorrow a vision of hope.” -Sanskrit Proverb quote

Q. And finally, what advice do you have for me and others who are turning 40 about living a healthy and well-balanced life?

A. Turning 40 is such a special time of life, just take it, embrace it, feel how special you are and live each day to the fullest!  Take good care of your mind, body and soul by eating a healthy diet, exercise, stay positive, smile at every person you pass – and even say hello! You will be amazed the response you will receive and you will feel blessed to have touched someone’s life in a very personal way.   Take care of yourself!! 

My mom's illustration.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Fragrant Friday

Color, fragrance, beauty… three of my favorite things!

Maria Christofilis, founder and creative director at Anthousa, in her new flagship store in Seattle.
Photo by Katie M. Simmons.

On Friday night I attended the grand opening party for Anthousa’s flagship store. Anthousa is one of my favorite brands and it was created by one of my favorite people – the lovely and talented Maria Christofilis. Maria and I share a love of fragrance and we love to gush about it whenever we see each other. So you could imagine how thrilled I was to receive an invitation to this party. I was excited to see how Maria would apply her amazing aesthetic, unique fragrances and beautiful brand to a retail store. She did not disappoint… it was even lovelier than I could imagine. Here I share a few pics from the party. Sorry for the poor photo quality, except for the one above that was taken by a pro. I forgot my good camera.

By the way, Anthousa, if you don’t know it, is a collection of “home ambiance perfumes” that Maria created to add fragrance and beauty to your living environments. The collection includes home ambiance diffusers and candles in yummy and imaginative scents ranging from white gardenia to cucumber & green grass to nectarine & red currant (one of my favs) and fig leaf & bitter almond.

Inside this glass box was a lovely display and a bottle of Maria's latest creation - Tuberose personal fragrance. The scent was simply intoxicating.

Anthousa diffusers and candles make great gifts. So be sure to visit the new Anthousa flagship store opening Tuesday, November 8, in the hip and trendy South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle at 900 Lenora Street, Suite 105. All of your senses will be glad you stopped in. (If you're not in the area, shop the Anthousa Online Boutique.)

P.S. These big blue hydrangeas were simply stunning in tall, clear glass vases.

Friday, November 4, 2011

November Gratitude

Happy November friends!

Wow, where did this week ago? I started this post on Tuesday and I ended up having a very busy week filled with Sofia’s parent-teacher conference, a community service award luncheon for my dear friend Phil Smart, Sr., client meetings, prospective client meetings, a trip to Olympia, seeing friends, a doctor’s appointment, etc, etc. Living a busy life - you know how it goes!

Anyway, I really wanted to write about November and gratitude. I was born on Thanksgiving and I’ve always loved this month for many reasons.  I love the fall colors and cozy dinners and hunkering down at home before the holidays hit. 

Last weekend, I took my camera for a walk in the Washington Park Arboretum, just a few blocks from my house. I ended up walking for two hours and saw some glorious sites that I wanted to share with you.

The most spectacular displays of color were in the Japanese Gardens.

 I was especially taken with the pagodas throughout the gardens.

I am so grateful to live so close to this amazing nature sanctuary that offers beauty, peace and tranquility throughout the year. In my opinion, the colors are most spectacular right now. I never take it for granted.

What are you thankful for?

I have been reading about intentions lately. Love and gratitude are so powerful. I truly believe you get what you give. I am focusing on gratitude this month and I’d like to encourage you to do the same. Write down at least one thing each day you are grateful for on a Gratitude List. It’s such an easy and uplifting thing to do. If you feel like it, reach out to someone you are grateful for and let them know. On Thanksgiving, review your list and remember how blessed you are.  This will open you up to continue receiving so many amazing things in your life.

My blog turns 1!

Speaking of gratitude, last week, my blog turned one and I wanted to thank you for reading it. I get so much out of writing it and even more when I hear how it’s touched someone’s life or inspired them to do something new or to simply notice the little things or to look at color in a new way. I love celebrating milestones and this feels like a pretty big one to me, although not as big as the one I will celebrate at the end of the month… more on that later!

With gratitude,