Zen and the Art of Reinvention

 Karen Schwartz  |  Business Coach and Consultant  | Advocate for reinventing ourselves 

Karen Schwartz  |  Business Coach and Consultant  | Advocate for reinventing ourselves 

This month I would like to introduce you to Karen Schwartz-Clover. Karen is a business coach and consultant who asks her clients to feel their way through decision making processes instead of thinking...and thinking...and stalling on decisions. Her philosophy is simple and straightforward and has helped ...............


In an age where everyone is trying to “manifest” his/her reality, I think I have learned some key points that are worth sharing. Creating a life and business that are nourishing, congruent, and sustainable has everything to do with physically feeling your feelings and using them to clarify what feels good and then taking strategic action. Wishing for something is ineffective.

Many years ago I began an apparel brand and garment manufacturing business. It was successful and grueling for a time. I longed for a mountain house, a cabin on a lake in the woods, and a little country cottage. All of the homes I daydreamed about were peaceful and quite the contrast to the urban flat I chose to live in to afford transition time to figure out what was next for me.

Once the inspiration hit, I set up a little office in a corner of my small space and started getting clear about my new business. I worked diligently and executed each step.  When things became too hectic, I would venture out to a nearby bookstore and look through design and decor books about rustic modern homes just so my mind could breathe. There were many sleepless nights back then --worrying about deadlines, design details, cash flow, and dysfunctional relationships. Thankfully, I was able to move into a perfect little house on stilts on the water on the San Francisco Bay.

 The view from Karen's living room window overlooking Mount Timpanogos in Utah. | Photo credit: Milano Liberi

The view from Karen's living room window overlooking Mount Timpanogos in Utah. | Photo credit: Milano Liberi

On my very impassioned journey following my business vision, I met a man who had been busy building his dream houses.  I remember the first time I saw this house that I now call home.  I was in awe standing on the porch looking out at the mountains. I thought how great is the Universe --bringing my heart to the builder of a house with a view of our business logo, a mountain that looked like a woman. And, there right in front of me, was a mountain that looked like a woman, Mt. Timpanogos.

Breathe and Purge
After two and a half years of dating we decided to merge our lives. My dear friend Nicole, whom I met when she helped me get our first business loan, accompanied me in a U haul packed with furniture, art, and lots of high-heels to the mountaintop in Utah.  When we arrived, we looked around and wondered what I had done! The vestiges of bachelorhood overwhelmed me. My future husband had built a bar on wheels that he had positioned right in front of the big picture window obscuring the view. Nicole and I quickly named it, “The Monstrosity.” There were four lumberous outdoor bar stools ponied up to it. Then, there was a whole other series of bar stools alongside the concrete countertops. The rest of the décor amounted to a couple of stained and ripped couches, tropical plants, deer antlers, and fish nets draped “decoratively”.  Goodbye eight ugly, enormous barstools and ripped couches!

Get rid of clutter. The energy must flow. Out with the unnecessary! Often times, in life and business this pruning can take the form of a partnership or friendship. When you are growing a beautiful garden, you weed!

The Monstrosity Theory:
We decided to move the “The Monstrosity” into a corner and ended up using it at our wedding. It seems less ominous now with smaller bar stools around it and is often the place we gravitate to at the end of a dinner party.

You don’t have to get rid of the big, ugly thing obstructing the view. Move it to its new purpose. The Monstrosity Theory may relate to the talent you hire, a marketing or a design idea.

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Clutch your Teacup
Keep in mind that this co-creation business happens at its own pace! If it is done right, it takes time and most importantly, it takes lots of cups of tea or bike rides or hikes or yoga classes while tuning into your thoughts and feelings.   In a culture that says “Do! Do! Do!”-- I find that the most productive way to make business and life decisions is by Being. This lesson was hard earned!!! If I had grasped the calm, centered and emotionally aligned feeling that is necessary before making good business decisions, I would not have spent many years with sleepless nights and a crazy-making life running myself ragged in the rag biz..  

Do yourself a biggie---Feel into your decisions and don’t rush knowing what you want. And, while you’re at it, make sure it’s not just your head that wants it. Your feelings know what is healthy for you!  Let your emotions be your compass.  Take the time to explore your motives behind your ambitions. Ask yourself if it is ego gratification or success-seeking that is hiding behind the curtain. Figure-out if what you want is something that will actually nourish you.

Pondering Couches:
I pondered couches. Should they be chocolate brown? No, they should be black. Should they be leather? Yes, leather. Modern lines, black leather with big grommets. Then, one day while I was running errands in town, Norm (my husband) found the perfect couches, exactly as I had imagined, at a consignment store.

Pondering Couches is how I recommend pondering business decisions and life choices. Should I go this way or that way? Remember, when you have a big vision of where you are going, your job is to figure-out your next step. Next-step analysis is your key to success. It is your best tool to keep from getting overwhelmed and giving-up.  In this small and focused place, The Universe can co-create with you because you are tuned-in and not scattered.

Waa-La
The very day I decided I needed a cow hide rug for our living room, my rep called and said, “I have a black and white cow hide rug in my garage that my husband really wants me to get rid of; I’ll send it to you.”

Time and again, I follow the process of taking the time to feel-into what is next, and the perfect item, person, or situation appears. I stopped being amazed years ago and am now just grateful each time it happens.

Take a chance on a scary dog.
One night during a blizzard four years ago, I was home alone and was startled by a black wolf-like dog staring at me intently through the glass door. She was wet and cold and nearly starved. I took a chance and let her in and named her Maggie.  She has been a wonderful addition to our lives. Maggie had spent years sitting in a hole in the ice, envisioning her perfect family and a comfy bed by a roaring fire.

Calculated risks can pay-off. Your job is to DISCERN a calculated risk versus a careless risk. Careless risks reek of wishful thinking. 

Next!
At this point, the lesson seems to be about knowing when the cycle is complete and understanding it’s not about perfection.  If we focus all our energy on pondering couches or the perfect rug so to speak, we will miss out on all the new adventures waiting for us.

The process of starting my new business and dreaming of a life in the mountains has come full circle.  I am grateful that we live in a place where we grow our green drinks and curious moose stop-by.

Lessons I’ve learned along the way:

1.  Feel into your decisions.

2.  Don’t rush knowing what you want.

3.  Get rid of clutter. The energy must flow. Out with the unnecessary!

4.  Clutch your teacup and ponder.

5.  Take a chance on a scary dog.

6.  You don’t have to get rid of the big, ugly thing obstructing the view. Move it to its new purpose.

7.  Know when the cycle is complete.

8.  Understand it’s not about perfection.

Karen Schwartz-Clover

Karen Schwartz-Clover is a business consultant and coach. She specializes in business strategy, crossroads decision making and next move analysis. 
For more information she can be reached at: karensc111@yahoo.com 

 

Simply Elegant | Meet Cashmere Lover Catherine Robinson

 Catherine Robinson |  Founder & Designer of Catherine Robinson Cashmere  |  One of Catherine’s favourite photographs taken by her daughter Victoria on a wonderful ‘mother and daughter’ holiday in Croatia

Catherine Robinson |  Founder & Designer of Catherine Robinson Cashmere  |  One of Catherine’s favourite photographs taken by her daughter Victoria on a wonderful ‘mother and daughter’ holiday in Croatia

Catherine Robinson is the designer & founder of a line of beautifully made cashmere knitwear and accessories of the same name. I was so pleased to happen upon her shopping site last spring and ended up following her blog: Cashmere Lover . Not only does she have an eye for design, I love what she shares on her blog about style, meditation and yoga. I asked Catherine to share with us how she how she started her business and where she finds inspiration—our conversation naturally led to her other passions, meditation and yoga. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. 

Q: Catherine, It seems that we all cannot get enough cashmere these days! Can you tell us what led you to start your business?

A: On a London shopping trip in the Summer of 2010 I purchased two lovely linen ponchos they were my favourite pieces that Summer…which got me thinking how wonderful this design would be in cashmere, I couldn’t find any that I loved and I thought, okay, I’ll design them myself!

My daughter had left home, things were changing…I was approaching 50 and thought it was the perfect time to start something new. I’ve always been interested in fashion, I did a little modeling in my younger days before entering the fast and exciting world of public relations but ‘style’ and the 'art of dressing well’ has always been something I’ve enjoyed…I devour magazines, exhibitions, photography anything related to the art of style!  

My next step was to find a manufacturer; a company I could work closely with.  Mongolia was my first choice as in my opinion it is simply the best cashmere. It was important that they were able to work with my ideas and designs and I’m happy to say I have a wonderful relationship with them and I’m thrilled with their attention to detail and the beautiful pieces they make for me.

I feel, I’m exactly where I should be and it’s such a privilege to be involved in the ‘world of cashmere’.  I’m enjoying creating a brand and extending my product lines. I like to listen to my customers and what they would like…this year it was…”please, please design a cashmere robe” and it’s just arrived and it’s simply gorgeous…the perfect luxurious, loungewear!

I think some of us feel we’re restricted by boundaries—many of them of our own making…I feel if you have an idea, a passion, explore it and see where it takes you. I have learnt so much since I began, the ups and downs of a small, growing business, the highs and lows and the constant energy and creativity needed and I can honestly say, I’ve loved every minute of it…

'if you are thinking about starting something new but are not sure whether to
‘bite the bullet’ I would encourage you to do just that, don’t be afraid
just listen to your voice and slowly begin.'

Q: I love what you write about simplicity and elegance. Can you tell us how you view style vs. fashion?

A:  I think there is a huge difference between fashion and style…everybody can follow a fashion but style is very individual…it’s all about ‘you’ it’s creating your own style, what works for you, what compliments your character, your personality, how you live your life…being identified by a signature piece, a scent they all contribute to your sense of style; for me, it’s definitely wraps and scarves, I can’t leave home without them! Friends can’t quite believe what I can do with a scarf!

I don’t think my style has changed that much over the years…I still adore my wide pants and v neck sweaters (cashmere, of course!) jeans and jackets, knitted dresses and boots and elegantly long dresses.  I’m definitely an Autumn/Winter person…
I like to wrap myself in cashmere, a cashmere wrap and ponchos are my favourites…
a tailored coat and trouser suit too.

Personal style is something that grows with you through the years, for me, I do believe ‘less is more’, a simple elegance…when you see an elegant lady she is timeless; that is why Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly are still very much revered today…one of my favourite quotes from Audrey Hepburn is ‘elegance is the only beauty that never fades.

Q: While you and I were writing emails back and forth our conversation moved almost seamlessly from cashmere to style to yoga. What can you tell us about your experience with yoga? 

A: I have been practicing yoga for over 13 years now and it is an absolute joy and passion of mine it has simply changed my attitude to life, this hasn’t happened overnight it has been a process, a journey.  

In recent months my meditation practice has become simply, a way of life, I began to believe I really could make a difference in my life if I meditated daily, learning mindfulness and simplicity. I am constantly learning and will continue to be a ‘lifelong learner’ both yoga and meditation focus your mind, they quiet the inner noise and you begin to live mindfully and to simply ‘be’ and from this you begin to live a much happier life, a life of simplicity.  Yoga, for me, has always been a spiritual discipline, a life practice.

Q: Your blog Cashmere Lover features some of the most beautiful and iconic women in the world. Who do you find the most inspiring?

A: Victoria Beckham inspires me, she has her critics, unfairly, I think…she works unbelievably hard, she has created a phenomenal brand, her designs are elegant and new…she always looks beautifully groomed and stylish and is a wonderful Mother too. I admire her because she re-created herself and endured and continues to endure all the criticism and personal attacks with such grace.

 Photo provided by Catherine Robinson

Photo provided by Catherine Robinson

Audrey Hepburn inspires me greatly…her beauty, her grace, her humility…the list goes on and on…her way of being and kindness inspires me to be the best person I can be. Her life was far too short but still today so many people think ‘what would Audrey do?’ She is incomparable.   

My husband inspires me, he has taught me so much over the years, he has always been so encouraging and has taught me to believe in myself, he has such an enthusiasm for life, which I admire greatly...we’ve been together forever and in all that foreverness, I’m sure that’s not a word, he’s always made me laugh, we laugh more now than ever and that is a wonderful gift to have…he is my soul mate. And my daughter,Victoria is an inspiration to me, she makes me want to be a better person…she is the joy of my life.

Q: What is the single most powerful lesson you have learned along the way? 

A: ... to have faith and be honest with myself, not to be afraid to ask for help, it’s taken a long while to recognize and believe that ‘I can do it’ ...it may take awhile, there maybe setbacks but with faith and a belief in yourself you can see that it will all be okay…I take this into my daily life not only in business…and to be kinder to myself, I use to be very good at ‘beating myself up’ I’ve erased the negatives!

My Life Philosophy…Be in love with your life every minute of it…
live simply with grace and humility, be gentle and kind and always mindful to others
 Catherine Robinson in her office in the UK

Catherine Robinson in her office in the UK

To read more about Catherine, please click on the links below: Cashmere Lover  |  Catherine Robinson Cashmere Site  |  Facebook  

Catherine, Thank you for sharing your insights and story with us! 

Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program | Move Forward. Give Back.​®

As many of you know I am a big supporter of Growing Bolder as I see the organization as one that encourages and inspires. Move Forward. Give Back.® is a celebration of individuals who see what is needed around them and contribute in their own way to making the world a better place. I wanted to take this opportunity to share the story below about a woman I know who has shown that one person can make a huge difference in the lives of others. 

As a member of the Team GB Elite blogging group, I've been given the opportunity to share an exciting discount with my readers, to celebrate Growing Bolder Magazine's 2016 expansion! This post is sponsored by Growing Bolder, but all opinions are my own. 

To receive 25% off your 2016 subscription to Growing Bolder Magazine, head to this link and use the code eliteblog at checkout. You'll also get free shipping for all six issues! Learn more at GrowingBolderMagazine.com.


Linda Myers & the Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program

Last year I was invited to design fundraising and promotional materials for the Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program and the Annual Navajo Rug Show in Deer Valley, Utah. It was my honor and privilege to contribute in a small way to such a meaningful and important organization. I knew from local fundraising efforts that truck loads of food and wood were collected and delivered to the Traditional Elders on the Navajo Reservation a couple of times each year. What I didn’t know at that time, and would soon find out, is that this internationally known organization, with volunteers coming from all over the world, was initially conceived by one woman who wanted to make a difference. Her name is Linda Myers of the Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program and she is one of the most inspirational people I know.

We have all heard the story of the “Butterfly Effect." A butterfly flaps its wings and the conditions change to lead to a larger effect somewhere else. Linda is that butterfly. Decades ago she began gathering items from friends and family to donate to the Native Elders at the Navajo Reservation and grew her one woman campaign to help others into a broad reaching non-profit that serves over 500 elders each year.

Most of the elders do not speak english and have chosen to live in the "cultural and spiritual traditions of the Dine' People." They live in remote locations on the reservation choosing to live traditionally while raising sheep, with no plumbing, no electricity and often far away from medical help and water supply. The elders range in age from 75 to 105 years of age. They have spent their lives on the land and for that reason they prefer to "age in place." So Linda developed a much needed program that brings supplies to them so they may live their lives in the way they choose.

  An organized team fills boxes that will be later transported to the Native Elders.

An organized team fills boxes that will be later transported to the Native Elders.

  Linda Myers Founder of Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program

Linda Myers Founder of Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program

Annual Navajo Rug Show and Sale
One of the primary fundraising efforts on behalf of the Elders is the Annual Navajo Rug Show and Sale in Deer Valley, Utah. This year is the 26th annual show and it runs from November 6-8, 2015. The rugs range in sizes and you will also see jewelry and crafts. Each year there is a theme to the event and this year the theme is Weaving Ceremonial Blankets inspired by Pendleton designs. To read more click here.

  Above: examples of just a few of the designs that will be shown at the rug show.

Above: examples of just a few of the designs that will be shown at the rug show.

I cannot tell you how excited I am about the work ANE is doing. I recently had a conversation with my kids about the importance of giving to others and they conveyed to me that one person cannot do all that much to bring about change. In that moment I was able to call upon what I know about Linda and her drive and determination to honor and help others. How she has been able to meet people where they are at and give. I find it completely inspiring and feel there is a lesson in there for all of us. Click on this link to watch this short video on ANE as Linda describes how meaningful this volunteer work is to everyone involved.

"While I was probably not a likely candidate to make a difference....I was a single mom.."
"I don't know if we ever know what we are doing in life but I think the real gift
in life is when spirit calls you to something and you answer the call."
~Linda Myers

Thank you to Linda and everyone at ANE for sharing their story with us. There are a number of ways to get involved with ANE from sponsoring an elder to donating time in the warehouse or donating food, wood and other necessities. To donate food, yarn, medical supplies, firewood and more to a Native Elder Please Click Here. For more information on ANE please click here.

Thank you for reading

Patina & Hue: Favorite Books for summer reading

Between design projects and blogging this summer I've been trying to make more time to read for enjoyment, not my typical mode as I often default to books that can teach me something. This habit of needing to learn something when I read started in college and I've had a hard time shaking it! But it is summer and I love the idea of sitting quietly with a cup of tea and reading for fun. Over the last couple of months there have been a few books that have really stood out for me and I wanted to mention them in this post.

When I first heard about the WWII novel All the Light We Cannot See I was concerned I would have a difficult time getting into a book set in Europe during WWII. There seems to have been quite a few books centered around wartime lately and I was looking for lighter reading. But several people mentioned how good it was so I decided to give it a chance. It turned out to be one of the best books I've read in a long while. The way the author—Anthony Doerr—reveals the story line is non-linear and unexpected. All the Light is charming and magical while simultaneously bringing the reader into the lives of those experiencing the atrocities surrounding war. He writes in such a way that the reader grows to care about the lives of the characters—making it impossible to put the book down once you begin. This is without a doubt a new favorite.

The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron first came out in the early 90s and has been reprinted repeatedly. I attempted to go through the exercises many years ago but at that time I was working three jobs and didn't give it the attention it deserved. So when my good friend Gincy facilitated a 12 week workshop last spring that took the class through the process I was happy to sign up. I wasn't sure at first what to expect as I needed to make time to meet once a week, complete one to two small exercises and write "morning pages" each and every morning before my day began. During the 12 week process I did feel there were highs and lows. Or at least weeks that seemed less significant in what I had accomplished than others.

To my own surprise I got a great deal out of this book and process! Although I would have to admit that this book fits into my habit of reading to learn something I did find that the process works. Some of my fellow class mates who had not explored art or did not they consider themselves artists also commented that they benefitted from the process. 

A few things that really stand out about this book: 

1. One of the exercises involved writing a letter to your future self— at age 80—from the vantage point of the age you are right now. This was a great exercise for me. I have a very good imagination and easily imagined myself living in a tropical climate with a light filled studio, I was happy and healthy and I imagined everyone in my life was also thriving. I told myself —the current me— to relax and worry less. That it was all going to work out. Apparently the future me is quite optimistic. ;-) There are quick exercises like this one each week that help you to think differently or explore ideas you may have never explored. 

2. Artist dates: every week you are asked to take yourself out on a date by yourself. I found myself in Sam Weller's Used and Rare Bookstore, in junk stores, in consignment shops, art supply stores and taking "down-time" that I don't normally give myself permission to take. Part of this process is to go out and do something with no agenda and allow yourself to play. 

3. Morning Pages: I love getting up early in the morning when everyone is still asleep. Waking up about an hour before everyone else I got in the habit of making myself an almond milk latte, sitting down with pen and paper— enjoying the light and stillness of early morning. Starting a practice of writing for 30 minutes to an hour each day has been an interesting exercise. At first I found myself not knowing what to write. But the book guides you to keep going and eventually I saw that my writing moved toward my creative interests. I recommend this book to everyone—no matter what you do for a living. You need not be a painter or sculptor to find your artistic self. 

** In the spirit of art making please jump onto Patina & Hue/Growing Bolder to read about inspirational artist, poet and speaker Kristen Jongen of Soul Soup. We will be giving away two books and one of her prints so don't forget to enter the drawing. Read more about the giveaway at the bottom of my interview with Kristen. 

 

I just finished The Girl on the Train and I am really curious what other people think of this book? It was a quick read and everyone I know seems to be reading it right now. I don't want to say too much about it and give anything away. It is a fast-paced murder mystery that takes you inside the heads of the characters....until you realize you want out! If you are reading this book I would love to hear what your thoughts are on it. 

I just started Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker, by Jennifer Chiaverini and will let you know what I think of it next month. 
If you are reading a great book or have a favorite book you would like to tell us about please do so in the comments section below! We would love to hear from you.

Jump on to Patina & Hue Facebook and tell us what you think of the books you are reading and any books you recommend! Hope you are finding time to relax and enjoy a good book this summer!

 

 

 

 

Wendy Chioji: SAYING YES & LIVING FEARLESSLY

unnamed-1.jpg
 At the summit of Mt. Fuji in August 2014 with my 75 year old dad

At the summit of Mt. Fuji in August 2014 with my 75 year old dad

 At the summit of Kilimanjaro February 2014

At the summit of Kilimanjaro February 2014

photos above: clockwise from top right: Wendy in a slot canyon near the Amangiri Spa in Southern Utah, October 2014; At the end of an Ireland trip with family; Summit day on Mt. Kilimanjaro; At the Livestrong headquarters. 

Wendy and I met initially while indoor cycling at Athletic Republic. I knew her as an amazing athlete and was told by several of our mutual friends that in addition to that she was also a completely inspiring person. A few weeks ago we met at Starbucks for a cup of tea and within a few short minutes I learned exactly what they were talking about. Wendy has achieved so much—from her years in Florida as a news anchor, to her many adventures which include summiting Kilimanjaro and completing multiple Ironman Triathlons. But it isn't just what Wendy has accomplished that makes her so inspirational—it is also her message of Living Fearlessly that I find a breath of fresh air. You don't hear that too often from women 40 and over. Taking risks and saying "YES" to life is an important message for us all to remember. Thank you Wendy for sharing your time and your story with us! 


Wendy Chioji

"In 2001, I was the main news anchor at the NBC affiliate in Orlando. I had just run the Boston Marathon and was training to do a cross-Florida adventure race. Until my doctor told me I had stage ll breast cancer. I was 39 years old at the time. I went through multiple surgeries, chemo, and a clinical trial, and obviously made it through to the other side. Up until that point in my life, I had done a lot of running races, adventure races, and a few triathlons. I was also entrenched in the Orlando community, donating countless hours of volunteer work and public speaking for non-profits in the area. I redoubled efforts in both areas of my life. I started doing Ironman distance triathlons (I’ve now done 6) and half Iron distance triathlons (I’ve done 24). I started raising money and support for Livestrong (with the podium of a tv station and generous friends and family, I have raised well over a quarter-million dollars for the organization). I was making sure that my Second Chance wouldn’t be wasted on  inertia.

 'The name of my blog is “Live Fearlessly,” and I believe it to be the mantra of my life.
It’s how I make decisions and choose adventures, options, even friends.'

A few years later, I realized that keeping busy "doing good" didn’t necessarily mean I would feel fulfilled. I had become increasingly disillusioned with my job and profession. I decided it was time to walk away. So I did. It took some finagling, but I left my 20-year position at the tv station and followed some friends out to Park City, Utah, where I have now happily lived since 2008. Here, my life is my own. I have loved and still love every day, never failing to look around and consciously note how lucky I am to live in this outdoor paradise full of like-minded people. It probably should have felt risky and scary to leave a stable job, friends I’d had nearly my entire adult life, and a town I’d been a part of for two decades, but it never did. 

To me, Living Fearlessly is making big life-changing decisions like the move to Utah… and saying “YES” to smaller opportunities and adventures on a regular basis. If your first response to an invitation or opportunity is “no” or is coming up with reasons that it won’t work, you are limiting your possibilities before you even get out of the gate. Say “YES,” and if you have to amend your commitment later, go ahead and do it. What’s the worst that could happen? I suppose moving to Park City, only having been here once before, could have ended disastrously… But I said “YES,” and it may have been the best decision of my life. Giving in to fear (or inertia) will paralyze you. So will "make do" because things are FINE. I’ve seen it happen, and there’s not much that makes me sadder or more irritated. 

Because I am now facing cancer for a third time. Standard chemo and radiation won’t work for me anymore. My only chance is to say "YES" to a clinical trial, experimental treatments that no one knows will work. I have no time or patience for fear or inertia. I am in one clinical trial and have lined up another one—if and when this one doesn’t work anymore. And in the meantime, I am saying "YES" to trips to Ireland and Australia and powder cat skiing in the Uintas and having reunions with old friends and launching fundraising cycling projects with Livestrong and Pelotonia (a new one, now run by an old friend). None of us know how long we have on this earth, and I believe our charge is to grab adventure by the throat at every chance. Live big. Live fearlessly.

"And always choose pie for breakfast." 
~ Wendy

To learn more visit the links below:

Pelotonia 

Livestrong 

You can learn more about Wendy on her blog: 

http://www.wendychioji.com

40 Something & Single on Valentines Day

Apparently Valentines Day has become a day for battle of the sexes! Ok, some guys really are into Valentine’s Day but I find, from my recent personal dating experiences, that when I asked the guy how he felt about it - without hesitation – the response was an emphatic,

“I hate Valentine’s Day!”
Whoa! Stop the presses!!! Take it easy…I was just asking. Geesh! Relax…at nearly 50 years old I can afford to buy myself presents…

Jay Leno said it best for the guys:
Today is Valentine's Day. Or, as men like to call it, Extortion Day."

Fine. Be that way. 
No sexy lingerie for you underneath my rockin' red cocktail dress over a romantic dinner at my favorite restaurant. Whatever.

However, I like to think of Valentine’s Day as a moment to stop and tell those I care about how much I love them if I haven’t lately. That’s all. End of story. This quote from an unknown author says it best:  "Love is just a word until someone comes along and gives it meaning." 

Now go give someone you care about a hug and an I love you  ;)
Happy Valentine’s Day - EVERYONE,
 M

A toast to you: Happy new year!

This holiday season 360 million glasses of sparkling wine/champagne will be served! We would like to raise two of those glasses in the air to toast those of you who have supported Patina & Hue in our first year. 2014 was a huge learning experience for us with the birth of our new baby—the Patina & Hue blog while working on design projects and gearing up for even more exciting projects in the coming year. Thank you for following our posts, emailing us ideas, collaborating on projects and spreading the word about P & H. It has been our pleasure to hear from you as well as work together to develop a forum for women 40 and up to discuss design, inspiration, style and art. We have even more ideas and inspiration coming for 2015 and welcome the New Year with heartfelt best wishes to all of you. 

Cheers to a fabulous and well designed life in 2015!

Marianne & Pamela

P&H Picks: Classic Holiday Music We love

As we are all getting ready for the holidays we thought we would put together this classic holiday playlist for you {thank you Spotify! } to enjoy while you are wrapping gifts and entertaining. Nothing like Bing, Eartha, and Nat to get us in the mood for the holidays. We have also added in a few contemporary versions of the classics and hope you enjoy it as much as we do. Between all of the preparation for dinners, parties and gatherings with family and friends we are also working on new posts to help you with holiday ideas. Enjoy and a heartfelt holiday wish to all of you. 

Cheers, 

Pamela & Marianne

Inspirational Young Woman: Lucy Meyer

 A cherished photo of me and Lucy together, November 2008

A cherished photo of me and Lucy together, November 2008

It is a gift in life to be truly inspired by another. It allows us the opportunity to learn and grow in ways we might not have otherwise. Lucy Meyer, at 15 years old, has inspired and touched my life in this way. She is a special person and an extraordinary girl with an infectious laugh and the ability to draw people in — wanting to know more about her. For those of us who have the pleasure of knowing her, our lives are richer for it.

 Lucy is the stepdaughter of my dear friend of 30 years, Jamie. When I met Lucy for the first time it was immediately noticeable that she was challenged to walk on her own, she had a limited vocabulary and her speech was seriously impaired. At birth, she had not received adequate oxygen and was subsequently diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy (CP).

Her early struggles with CP have led her to become fiercely determined to help other disabled children while she herself learns to overcome her physical limitations. This focus on helping others has become her life’s passion.

On the day we first met, in 2008, her enthusiasm for life and love of people was apparent and infectious; we became fast friends. To this day we speak on the phone at least once a week – she likes to check on me to make sure that I’m ok – so cute – and to keep me posted on her happenings. I can hardly keep up with her schedule considering all of the philanthropic work she does for UNICEF and the activities that take her around the country. Her travel schedule includes giving speeches ( how far she has come in just 6 years)  to raise awareness and needed funds for disabled children worldwide. This, in addition to her regular school work and the responsibility of being class Vice President, as well as her work with and participation in the Special Olympics. Lucy has competed in the Special Olympics since 2012 and winning numerous medals and many of them gold. Amidst her busy schedule she somehow finds time to play with friends and be a teenager.

 Lucy with her parents, Jamie and Chuck

Lucy with her parents, Jamie and Chuck

 Lucy speaking to the Senate in Washington, DC.

Lucy speaking to the Senate in Washington, DC.

 Lucy with President Obama 2014

Lucy with President Obama 2014

 Lucy with Senator Dianne Feinstein 2014

Lucy with Senator Dianne Feinstein 2014

 Lucy with actress Tea Leoni at the UNICEF Annual Meeting, May 2014

Lucy with actress Tea Leoni at the UNICEF Annual Meeting, May 2014

In the six short years I have known her, she has grown into a dynamic, young woman with a serious mission and the conviction to do something about it. She is an inexhaustible powerhouse and certainly has found her calling in life with UNICEF and the Special Olympics. Within the past year she has met with President Obama TWICE and dozens of Senators in California and Washington D.C. to create awareness on behalf of UNICEF’s disabled children worldwide. At Halloween many children dress up as a favored animation character or superhero, but not Lucy, instead she dresses up in themed costumes related to UNICEF and does not ask for candy but rather uses the occasion to gather monetary donations for her UNICEF fund. Her fund has been specifically created for children with disabilities which did not exist when Lucy first started working with UNICEF so she created one. And, yes, it was all her idea! 

 President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Caryl Stern, was quoted as saying: "Lucy's commitment to helping ensure children with disabilities can realize their dreams is an inspiration."

Here are a few highlights of Lucy’s accomplishments over just the past couple of years:

Unicef - http://lucymeyer.org
May 2013    
• Lucy creates her own UNICEF fund, the first within the organization which specifically raises donations 
for disabled children
• Guest Speaker: U.S. Capitol – State of the World’s Children (SOWC) publication launch dedicated to
Children with Disabilities
October 2013
• Travels to D.C. to meet with numerous Senators on behalf of UNICEF’s Children with Disabilities
http://fieldnotes.unicefusa.org/2013/10/youth-advocate-children-with-disabilities-together.html
November 2013
• Becomes the official spokesperson for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF's Children with Disabilities   http://www.unicefusa.org/press/releases/lucy-meyer-named-us-fund-unicef-spokesperson-children-disabilities/8304
Jan 2014  
• Time with President Obama to talk about UNICEF and the need to help children with disabilities
Feb 2014 
•  D.C. trip with Jeff Carr (COO - 2015 Special Olympics) to speak with Senators to tell them about the
biggest 
event in L.A. since 1985 Olympics – the 2015 Special Olympics!
May 2014 
• Time with President Obama to promote helping children with disabilities
•   Speaker – UNICEF Annual Meeting New York
June 2014  
• The only child chosen to speak at the United Nations Conference of State Parties on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
• Speaker - Youth with Disabilities and Innovation; Making the World Inclusive for All (UNICEF Activate Talk) Special Olympics
April 2014
•  Creates a special fundraising page to bring an athlete to the Special Olympics World Games in 2015 https://support.la2015.org/fundraise?fcid=310811
June 2014
• Special Olympics Summer 2014 – takes home 2 gold medals
• Chosen as a Global Messenger for the Special Olympics 2015 Summer World Games

We’ve all seen the UNICEF ads on TV telling us that for a mere $ .50 cents a day you can change a child’s life. As I have come to know Lucy, I have learned that this slogan is more than advertising. It is a reality. Lucy’s goal is to raise $250,000 toward her UNICEF Fund for children with disabilities. As of today she has raised nearly $177,000–quite an accomplishment for someone so young.

Patina & Hue is committed to helping Lucy reach her goal and we would love it if each of you reading this could take a few minutes to donate to her UNICEF fund for disabled children. Please jump onto Lucy's Facebook page to learn more or visit her UNICEF fundraising site at: http://lucymeyer.org/

 Lucy is our hero and she would be the first to tell you that any donation amount –even your spare change–makes a difference.

Happy Birthday Divine Miss M!

 Miss M at 6 and today. She was setting trends even back then! 

Miss M at 6 and today. She was setting trends even back then! 

Today I would like to celebrate, our dear friend and my business partner Marianne! It is her birthday and I'm not saying which birthday this is -- but it hardly matters as she doesn't seem to age!!

M, below is a poem that I thought you might like. Cheers to our long-lasting friendship! 


Girlfriends by Ellen Dorén
 
"First and last, mirrors
whose secrets we keep in a home-made petrie dish
(sometimes they give us ideas)
I mean the ones who say the unwelcome when it matters
whose kids watch us for clues
whose kids we watch for clues

Not the ones who decided there was too much too true 
     of them in our eyes, and ran, 
but the ones who'll be around to see us bald or one-breasted
     and we them
who'll know to say what can't be said
whose bodies, spreading or starved, we love
whose husbands (or lack of) it's okay to disapprove or almost covet
whose girlfriends are ours by proxy
who share these assumptions and would their last
     Godiva, valium, amulet
The lifers
who, even seven states away, are the porches
where we land"
from the book: "she walks in beauty: a woman's journey through poems"
selected and introduced by Caroline Kennedy

Happy Birthday Marianne! Thank you for sending the adorable photos, it was hard to choose just one. Who knew you were a little blond back then! 

Calling all friends of Marianne! Today is her birthday and I'm hoping everyone will jump onto this post and wish her a very happy birthday in the comments box below! Or tell us about your best friend and why you love him or her!