Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Best of 2013

Hi friends,

I can't believe it's New Year's Eve! I'm slowly but surely recovering from a terrible bout of the flu and pneumonia. It's been a rough couple of weeks. But one of the saving graces throughout this ordeal was receiving wonderful holiday greetings from friends near and far each day. It truly lifted my spirits and brought me a lot of joy.

For years I have displayed holiday cards in our dining room on ribbon attached with clothes pins. This year I found tiny gold clips at Paper Source which I think make the display even more delightful, at least in my eyes! It is so fun to see all of your smiling faces and thoughtful greetings altogether. This year I organized them by friend genre, which was also kind of fun.

Forever friends - who we have known forever.

College friends - so fun to see teenage kids and newborns alike.


Work friends -  from various jobs- and family sprinkled in!

Post college party friends - oh my, look at all the kiddos!

Friends with kids - from PEPs, co-op preschool and Montlake Elementary.

And last but not least - our most colorful friends, at least by looking at their cards!

Friends truly are the best! Now I need to get ready to ring in 2014 with good friends! Happy, happy 2014 dear friends.



Thursday, December 5, 2013

Breaking News: 2014 Color of the Year

Drumroll please!! Unless you are a color geek like me you may have missed the big news from Pantone today that Radiant Orchid is the Color of the Year (COY) for 2014. I love purple and I love orchids so I'm pretty excited about this choice!

Radiant Orchid symbolizes renewal and is a creative color, according to Pantone, the global authority on color. It blooms with confidence and magical warmth that intrigues the eye and sparks the imagination. Radiant Orchid emanates great joy, love and health. I can see why I fell for it right away when I saw the news this morning.

Each December a team at Pantone designates a COY for the following year. My friend and color guru Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, helps determine the color every year. She's featured in this segment on Bloomberg News this morning announcing the color.

You can see some fabulous images of this brilliant hue on Pantone's Color of the Year Pinterest board. Here are a few of my favorites, but be sure to check it out!

What do you think? Are you are fan or will it take you a while to warm up to it like it to me with Emerald this year? Either way, the COY is meant to inspire choices in home, fashion and design, and to get people talking about color. It sure inspires me!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Brilliant Emerald Songbird

I'm slightly obsessed with bird ornaments for my Christmas tree! I've collected several over the years, but when I saw this Brilliant Songbird in Leavenworth over Thanksgiving weekend, I had to have it! (And a couple of others for gifts!) I've finally embraced Emerald - Pantone's 2013 Color of the Year - as they're about to announce the 2014 COY very soon. I can't wait to see what hue gets the honor for the coming year!

In the meantime, I wanted to share the story of the Brilliant Songbird found on the tag that came with this ornament. I think you'll agree it's very sweet!

Birds are symbols of happiness and joy, so they are regarded as a necessity on the Christmas tree. Glassblowers often kept wild birds during the winter months since the sound of the gas flame in the workshop prompted the birds to sing. Then when spring arrived, the birds returned to freedom.

Does this make you want to run out and get a bird ornament for your tree?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Appreciating Differences


We are all different. That I know for sure.

Different strengths, weaknesses, interests, hopes, desires, comfort levels.

This point was made very clear to me yesterday at a "team building" activity I participated in.

I was terrified - and had several excuses for not going: my back and knee issues; it was cold and I didn't want to get sick; it was raining. 

But I showed up. And I tried it. I did not like it. But I learned a lot. And maybe that's really the point. Not everything is fun for everyone. But learning through difficult situations is awesome. At least, I think so!

The activity was a high ropes challenge course. I'm afraid of heights - although that actually ended up being the least of my concerns. In the end the height didn't really bother me. It was more the instability I felt on the course, concerns about my back, and the insecurities I felt about not being very good at the activity and not having fun.

Everyone else was having fun. So why wasn't I? (I'm holding on for dear life in the picture above.) Even my husband and 6-year-old daughter exclaimed the course looked like SO much fun to them.

My key take-away from the day was that for a team to thrive, we need to appreciate each others differences. Honor our strengths and try not to focus on our weaknesses, or improve where we can. After I spent about a half-hour on the course, I did the zip line (which I liked a lot) and then designated myself the zip line assistant. So I had a role, but it was on the ground!

In the end, I was glad I "showed up" and I have a better appreciation for each person's different talents. For as a colleague of mine proclaimed yesterday, the definition of team really is Together Everyone Achieves More.

Here are a few more pictures to give you a flavor of the day.


These guys look excited!

Here we go!

What do you think? Is this up your alley?

What have you done recently that took you out of your comfort zone?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

I Like People Who Smile When It's Raining

Photo: Society6.com

I saw this quote on glassybaby's instagram this morning and it made me, well, smile!

It's not an urban legend that it rains a lot in Seattle. In fact, according to Wikipedia, "Statistics show that the city is becoming wetter. Seattle receives the largest amount of rainfall of any U.S. city of more than 250,000 people in November, and is in the top 10 through winter, but is in the lower half of all cities from June to September. Seattle is in the top 5 rainiest U.S. cities by number of precipitations days, and it gets the least amount of annual sunlight of all major cities in the lower-48 states."

It's not always easy to smile when it's raining, for sure. So what are we Seattle-ites to do?  Embrace it. Smile. Add color!  

My favorite "rain accessory" is this very colorful umbrella. It not only makes me smile but people always comment on it, and usually smile too.

It's also fun to daydream about faraway, sunny colorful places when it's raining. This picture of colorful umbrellas over a street in Portugal always makes me smile.

Photo: Timepass

A friend sent me a link to this article about the Most Colorful Places in the World earlier today... this made me smile too!

But I always try to remember when it's not raining, Seattle is one of the most gorgeous cities. The rain helps give our city its nickname: the Emerald City. For without the rain, it wouldn't be so green. And green makes me smile.

How about you? What makes you smile when it's gray and rainy outside?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Kick-Ass Red Lips

“Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. 
That, or a kick-ass red lipstick.” ― Gwyneth Paltrow

One of my go-to accessories is lipstick; usually in a bold red color. If all else fails I put on lipstick!

I am not kidding when I say that about once a week someone asks me about my lip color. Several people have urged me to share my lipstick "secrets" here. So, today I'm doing just that.

It's pretty simple. I find great colors that I love. From high-end brands to drugstore brands. My current favorites are below.

Smashbox Mandarin (Photo: Sephora)

Revlon Fire & Ice (Photo: Drugstore.com)

NYX Eros (Photo: NYX Cosmetics)

Aveda Cana (Photo: BellaChique)

It's almost comical how similar these look, but they all make me feel different and are appropriate for different occasions.

You definitely need to try them on and see which colors you feel great in. Reds can go cool (with blue undertones) or warm (with yellow undertones) that turn them towards orange-red. If you can't try the color on your lips, at least try them on the back of your hand to see how they look with your skin tone. 

I read in Bazaar this weekend that amethyst, emerald and topaz lips are the new trend. I'm not sure if I could pull them off. I think I'll stick to my signature reds. How about you?!

Just remember: 

"The best color in the whole world is the one that looks good on you!"  ― Coco Chanel

Monday, November 4, 2013

50 Shades of Orange

Oh yes, I did! I went as 50 Shades of Orange for Halloween. I completely hated the book, well at least the 75 pages I read. But I was inspired by the 50 Shades of Gray costumes that were making their way around the Internet. I thought it would be fun, and completely appropriate, to do an orange version. Perfectly fitting as the color of Halloween and also my favorite color. 

The best part was going to the paint stores and collecting all of the orange paint chips. Yes, indeed, I wore 50 shades. The names are so fun and clever and yet, descriptive. On the brighter side, there is startling orange, carrot stick, tangelo, calypso orange and orange burst. On the duller side there is fall harvest, pumpkin cream, orange blossom, orange parrot, oriole and racing orange. The hot oranges are my favorites with names like outrageous orange, orange nectar, blazing orange, hot spice and tangerine dream. (These are all Benjamin Moore colors.)

I anchored my costume, down the middle, with Pantone's Tangerine Tango (2012 Color of the Year), Nectarine and Zinnia. And I even wore Sephora's Pantone Tangerine Tango lip gloss!

Orange is an energizing color. I feel more energy just from reading those names, not to mention having all of these hot color samples at my fingertips. Now, I need to figure out a fun, creative way to re-use all of these fabulous color swatches. I'm thinking of some kind of "installation" in my office... stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

2013 Color of the Year - Emerald!

Photo: Elli.com

Ok, confession time: I started this post back in March just shortly after Pantone announced Emerald as the 2013 Color of the Year. 

Lots of people were writing about Emerald, but I couldn't get my head around my own post. Maybe I felt like I was jumping on the bandwagon or I didn't have anything unique to add to the conversation. 

Well that all changed last night! I was invited by my "color guru" Leatrice Eiseman (who I have studied color under) to the Fashion Group International's event in Seattle where she was speaking. I thought it would only be appropriate to wear Emerald to show everyone what a color junkie I really am! 

But the truth is, I don't feel great in Emerald. I bought a pair of very cute Emerald flats several months ago - I figured the further the color is from my face the better. But I still couldn't do it. The interesting thing is green is one of my favorite colors; but Emerald is a bit too blue for me even though it's a balanced green. I prefer the yellow greens.

This is what fascinates me so much about color. It's SO personal. It produces a visceral reaction. I know when I feel great in a color; it speaks to me. It sparks an emotion. And conversely, maybe even more so, I have a negative emotional response when I don't feel/look good in a color. Even if it is the Color of the Year and I really want to wear it!

This is actually one of the reasons I decided to take Leatrice's color design workshop a couple of years ago. I am fascinated by the psychology of color - what emotional responses colors elicit. 

Leatrice leads the Color of the Year selection process for Pantone. What a cool job, huh?! Last night, Leatrice (donning Emerald tights and accessories, above left) explained to a room packed with fashionistas that Pantone's Color of the Year is not for everyone but rather it's symbolic.

"Emerald speaks of balance and well-being," she said. "We are all craving more balance in our lives. It's meant to inspire, but we don't hoist it on people and expect everyone to love it." This really resonated with me and helped me open up about my feelings about Emerald. 

Take a look at the words in the below image to better understand what Emerald communicates.

My stand-in for Emerald is my Green Onyx Jaime Joseph ring. I think it qualifies as a "commercial match" which Leatrice talks about all the time. It's not an exact much but it's very close and it elicits the same emotional response as "real" Emerald, at least for me... and that's what really matters since color is so personal.

Photo: Polyvore

Leatrice also emphasized that "Color is all about context, context, context. How and where you use it is very important." I'm thinking of painting our powder room Emerald. Although I don't feel good wearing the color, I do like having it around me. 

Photo: Design Milk

I also recently bought a Pantone Emerald mug which I really like, especially with my Tangerine Tango fingernails! (Tangerine Tango was Pantone's 2012 Color of the Year.) I also had my toenails painted Emerald recently, which I like. Again, it's all about context.

After all that, I'm really liking Emerald.

How about you? How do you FEEL about Emerald?

Pantone should be announcing the 2014 Color of the Year very soon. Any guesses what it will be? 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What Makes You Feel Alive?

I'm just back from a mini retreat for moms about "Parenting from the Inside Out"; ie, taking care of ourselves so we can take care of our families. It was wonderful. One of our exercises today was to share with the group what makes us feel alive. It's another way of thinking about what feeds your soul.

I shared with the group that being in nature and walking by myself in my favorite local parks, the Washington Park Arboretum and Volunteer Park, makes me feel alive. It truly does. I'm outside, breathing fresh air, moving my body, working up a sweat, clearing my head. I love it. Ironically, when I went for my walk after today's session, I was pondering this question further.

Truth be told there are many things that make me feel alive. And I started thinking about how alive I feel when I see really great live music. My friend Julie noted in my last post that's she's crazy about live music and you'll usually find her up front at the stage so she can take it all in. I love performers who interact with the crowd and make you truly feel alive! You can tell it makes them feel alive too.

My favorite of late is Michael Franti. I've seen him live two times in the last two months and he's AMAZING! That's me right up front on the right in orange, taking it all in! His song I'm Alive is one of my favorites!

In New Orleans recently, I saw two live shows and was right up front for both.

I like Julie's approach of getting as close to the stage as possible. Seeing an artist live always makes me feel, well, ALIVE!

In the coming months, we plan to see Pearl Jam, Macklemore and Josh Ritter. I can't wait!

Now it's Your Turn

Leave a comment or shoot me an email. Or heck, call or text and let me know what makes you feel alive. I'll package it up with others' comments in a blog post and pay it forward to help more people feel alive!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Amazing Women No. 8: Julie Ferriot

A conversation withJulie Ferriot....
I met Julie Ferriot 22 years ago at the University of Washington. We joined the same sorority and we officially met on Presentation Night, the ceremony where we were presented to the world as Tridelts! Kind of cheesy I know, but I made some wonderful friends in the sorority who are my "sisters" for life. My mom actually spotted Julie in the presentation line-up and she instantly knew Julie was an amazing, classy woman and that we should be friends. She was right! Moms usually are! 

Our friendship has grown and deepened over the years even though we haven’t lived in the same city since college. Julie is a deep, caring, loving person who loves to connect via long phone conversations, beautiful handwritten cards, fun experiences, and thoughtfully chosen gifts. She also loves to celebrate life’s big and small moments as much as I do – maybe more! She turned 40 in August but she officially rang in this milestone birthday in New Orleans last weekend surrounded by close friends. And she has a smile that lights up the world!

In this post, Julie shares more about herself, her love of adventure and gives us a sneak peak at the book she’s writing. She even inspired me to think about starting a champagne glass collection!

Without further ado, please meet Julie (aka Jules), whom I love and adore. I think you’ll agree she’s one amazing woman!  

Q. First things first, what is your favorite color and why?!
A. It seems to change often for me, but right now my favorite color is Tiffany blue. I find it invigorating and calming at the same time.

Q. You have a full life in San Francisco. Tell us a bit about your day job.
A.  I love my job! I work for a leading global PR agency, and develop and manage all of our internal CSR (corporate social responsibility) programs. This includes managing our pro bono partnerships for our non-profit clients, creating employee volunteer programs at the local and global level, and working with our 70+ offices around the world to ensure we are operating as efficiently as possible, meaning we find ways to treat the environment with respect.

Q. What do you like to do in your free time?
A. I’m crazy about live music and am pretty much willing to see any type of band, any day of the week - preferably in an intimate setting. You’ll usually find me right up front at the stage so I can take it all in. I also enjoy trying new things and signing up for classes that challenge me. Recently a writing workshop and painting class inspired me to push myself creatively.

Q. You've lived in some great places... San Diego, Los Angeles, Seattle, Washington, D.C., New York and now San Francisco. What is your favorite city in the world and why?
A. Right now, I wouldn't want to live anywhere besides San Francisco. It’s the perfect home for me. It’s the right mix of “city-living” but California-style. I’ve been living in SF for more than 8 years, and it still feels new. So much to see and do! The diversity and creativity oozing from the city are important elements to me too. And being a foodie city, there are always great restaurants to try.

Q. Why do you call New Orleans your "happy place?" 
A. Ever since my first trip to New Orleans 14 years ago, it has had a very strong hold on my heart and soul. Of course there is the great music, food and culture – but for me it goes much deeper. It’s a place that embraces life and holds onto traditions that go back hundreds of years. It has a complicated history with influence from Europe, Africa and the Caribbean, giving it a distinct energy unlike anywhere else in the U.S. For those who only know Bourbon Street, I invite you to get under the city’s surface – I guarantee you’ll be hooked as well.

Sea goddess for a day at Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

Q. Can you share a few of your favorite New Orleans haunts with us? 
A. I try and get back to NOLA at least 2-3 times a year. I have a list of my favorite spots I return to every visit, but then I also make sure I check out new places as well. The city is changing so much post-Katrina and it is rebuilding stronger than ever. My favorites include Bacchanal, Sylvain’s, Coop’s, Cane & Table and Petit Grocery for dining – and Maple Leaf, Vaughn’s and D.B.A for music.

Q. Can you tell us a bit about the book you're writing? Don't give it all away, but a sneak peak would be great!
A. I had a very unique experience when I was living in NY during 9/11 that I feel compelled to share with others. As crazy as it sounds, I was touched by the spirit of a woman who had jumped from my apartment window shortly before I moved in. She delivered messages to me from beyond that dramatically changed my belief system and put me on a different path. She gave me a newfound perspective on life, relationships and our connectedness to each other. Growing up, I only believed in things I could experience with the five senses, so her presence evoked a major shift in perception that remains with me today.

Q. What advice do you have for others who are thinking about writing a book?
A. The book it isn’t going to write itself, as much as I sometimes wish that were the case! You really have to put the work into it every day or at least get into some sort of committed routine.  I was really inspired by Anne Lamott’s book “Bird by Bird.” Essentially, her brother who was ten years old at the time was trying to get to a report on birds that he'd had three months to write, which was due the next day. Close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books about birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead, their father sat down beside him and said, "Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”

Q. Do you have a mantra or favorite quote?  
A. “Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.” I lectured at a university last week and this was the theme I spoke to as it relates to my chosen field of communications. I believe there are great opportunities to use the power of communication for good and to ultimately bring about positive world change.

Q. Anything else you would like to share with us? 
A. At 40, I just started my first collection and I am having so much fun with it! As one who believes in celebrating life as often as possible, I’m acquiring champagne glasses in as many shapes and colors as I can. I don’t need to find them in a pair, and they don’t need to be in perfect condition – just special and unique, like each of us. I’m off to look at some antique shops in the French Quarter today with hopes of bringing one or more home with me!

Thank you Jules for sharing yourself with us. Cheers to good friends and amazing women!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

10 Favorite Instagrams from New Orleans

I had an amazing time in New Orleans last weekend celebrating my friend Julie's 40th birthday and falling in love with this amazing city. As I said in my last post, I had visited Nola once before. What I didn't say is "I didn't love it." I was there for business and didn't get to see many non-touristy spots.
Julie has become somewhat of a local, even though she currently lives in San Francisco. She visits 2-3 times a year and has made local friends who helped her scout out the best places for her birthday entourage to experience. Fortunately we quickly skipped across Bourbon Street (cheesiest place ever!) enroute to the best po boy sandwich ever!

I could go on and on about our amazing weekend of friendship, celebration, culture, and great food but my Instagram pics seem the perfect lens through which to share some of my favorite memories from New Orleans with you.

Tomorrow I'll be sharing an interview with the birthday girl, Julie, as part of my "Amazing Women" series. I can't wait for you to meet her!