When I reflect upon the many women who inspire me (and make waves), this lovely, bright, cutting-edge gal is definitely at the top of my list. I have known Schuyler Hudak for many years and whenever she has referred to me as a mentor, I am quick to remind her that she is also mine. I’m lucky to have friendships with younger women — and Schuyler has been a strong influence in my life…Always encouraging my choice to pursue my passion to support and empower women, alongside my beloved role as mother and wife.

Schuyler (my millennial mentor!) has been incredibly helpful in keeping me current on generational topics, and I am always in awe of her drive and determination. She recently founded COR Media, a modern media company which promises to change the face of news as we know it. Through relevant short form versions of 60 Minutes-like content, COR Media will bring news to the Millennials — eliminating misinformation, partisanship, mistrust, and the focus on the dark side of humanity, (the short documentary videos are fascinating for everyone: Baby Boomers to Gen Z!) The root of the word COR means courage, which Schuyler fully embodies as she embarks on the challenge of revitalizing news… creating a more informed citizenry, and redefining the issues of today, tomorrow, and the future. Welcome COR Media, and thank you Schuyler Hudak!

Good advice is a gift — what is the best advice you’ve been given?
When I was making the decision about what to do after college YOU told me “Pick where you want to live, move there and put down roots. You will have friends that move all over the world but you will be building a community”. It’s the reason I moved back to the Bay Area after college and now when people move to San Francisco, I love being able to connect them with other people whom I’ve met over the past 9 years of living in the City and I feel blessed to have such a strong community of supporters and friends.

What is on the top of your bucket list?
Going to the top of the South Tower of the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s my favorite landmark in the world, in my favorite place in the world. I love the symbolism of the Golden Gate Bridge. I think of it as the bookend to the Western side of the country and a gateway to America.

Who would you invite to your ideal Girl’s Night?
My sister, Whitney. Everything is better when she is there.

What is your go-to piece of clothing?
A navy blazer. My mom always told me that it was the most classic piece but as a little girl I insisted I knew that pink dresses were everything. Not surprisingly she was right (as she is about so much in life) and now I wear my navy blazer anytime I’m in doubt. It’s classic and timeless.

What do you sing when you are alone in your car?
I sing ALL the time when I’m alone in my car. I just drove to Simi Valley to support a friend and then drove back later that night so it was 10 straight hours of singing. Right now it’s the entire Hamilton soundtrack but typically there is a lot of Disney, country and really any ballad that I can sing at the top of my lungs.

What is the best compliment you have received?
I’m not sure about ever, but my boyfriend said this to me the other day in an email and I saved it for when I’m doubting myself: “Honey, you bring more value to the world than anybody I know. Both on a personal scale and a global scale. And to me, you bring all the value in my world.” I can’t think of a more meaningful compliment coming from someone I love.

How has your life been different than you imagined?
I think I’m far more independent than I ever thought I would be. When I was young, I was scared to get hurt, to fail, to struggle at all. And now I’m fiercely independent to the extent that when someone tells me I can’t do something, I say: “Watch me.”

What is your most-used word? (And what word do you wish everyone would stop using?)
Most used: “Yes” I say this word way too frequently. I think a lot of women can relate to that.
What I wish everyone would stop saying: Any and all words women use to disparage other women. We all have our own struggles and we need to stop making it more difficult on one another. We are on the same team and the success of one woman doesn’t devalue the success of another. Let’s be kind to one another.  

Who is your celebrity crush?John Oliver. He’s taking real issues and giving them a spotlight. His show is a mix between activism and journalism.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Lately it’s ordering Thai food from Postmates (Osha) and pouring yellow curry chicken over pad thai and eating it in one big bowl. #healthy

What is your favorite museum?
The Newseum in Washington DC, which honors journalists from around the world for dedicating their lives to telling the stories that help us understand our world.

If you weren’t starting this business what would you be doing?
I would start a company that makes everything at the DMV digital (including voter registration) and then eventually brings all government forms online and allows you to manage your civic life completely digitally through one app. If we can lower the barrier to entry for people to interact with government, then we can improve civic participation and lower the cost and burden of bureaucracy. Can you imagine if when you moved you just opened an app on your phone and suddenly your address was officially changed and you didn’t have to spend the next 3 years forwarding your mail, making sure you were re-registered to vote and standing in line at the DMV?

What is the first thing you notice when you meet someone?
Do they seem like they are genuinely interested in meeting me?  Or are they constantly looking around to see who else in the room might be more important. I immediately notice if someone is look at me or looking past me   IMG_8531

 

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One of the most challenging parts of midlife for me, and many of my friends, has been watching the nest empty, as our kids grow up and move on — but seeing our children fly can bring moments of great joy and pride (and opportunities to learn). As my sons emerge into confident, curious, and responsible adults I know my time with them will grow less, but I also know they are ready to take on the struggles and the triumphs that lie ahead. I usually try not to be one of Those Moms – you know,  the ones who can’t stop bragging about their kids – but I am making an exception in this case. I am truly inspired by my son Brian! I enjoy hearing from friends how proud they are of their children: how well their kids are doing with active college lives, their many friends and events and successes — and I love these stories! Our culture sometimes equates success and fun with extroversion: invitations and Instagram, social lives and Snapchat, and “doing” rather than “being”. I know it well because that’s exactly who I was as a young adult – I defined myself by being with others, and doing things in groups. To a great degree, I still do. I remember my mother telling me one of the most important things she realized from being raised on a rural ranch in Lodi: “I learned how to like my own company and to be OK with being alone with myself.” This is something I always remember, and have considered often over the years as I grappled with time spent alone. Today, I have learned to enjoy quiet time and appreciate my own company, and my best ideas and insights come from being with myself – I really try to embrace this personal time in my life now. As parents, acknowledging and highlighting the “quiet” successes are just as important as lauding the new job, the many friends, the busy life.

Back to the bragging! My 23-year-old son Brian just graduated from college and dreamed of a road trip journey across the country, on his own. My husband and I initially struggled with the idea of him out there alone, but he assured us he would be fine and this is what he really wanted – to enjoy endless hours spent in any way he chose, exploring the United States at his own pace.  (OK, and maybe playing a little Pokemon Go) He is only several days in to his sojourn, and has already seen places I’ve never experienced. I so admire the way he is comfortable in his own skin — this is precious time he is spending discovering our country, and himself, before he enters the working world. We are extremely proud of him, and I learn from him every day. Brian is grounded in who he is and what he believes, and wise in ways that astound me. (And we feel lucky that he’s invited us to meet him to share a bit of the adventure…I may even choose NYC, when I hope he’ll be ready for a little mom-luxury — Dinner at ABC Kitchen, Sweets at Dominique Ansel, a walk on the High Line and tickets to ‘Hamilton’? – Ha! my kind of road trip!)

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This adventure is a gift for Brian – but also for us. He’s sharing beautiful pictures, and stories, and even let us download an app called ‘my family’ which enables us to see where he is at any given moment. (I love seeing the balance of technology here being used for good!) We can all be in touch with him and yet he can still be alone exploring and experiencing wonderful new places, and people, in the confidence of his own presence. The direction of his road trip has been planned entirely by Brian, which is especially gratifying as the direction of his college plans were radically changed by his Lyme disease diagnosis a few years ago. The ‘normal’ college life he imagined, filled with rugby and parties and lots of fun (along with academics, of course!), was derailed, and life took an unexpected turn. But Lyme did not stop him. He accepted the challenge head-on and became a better person for it. I believe he recognized at this young age, and not by his own choice, that it is just as important to look within as it is to be outside in the world. He’s learned very early what I am still discovering — to be alone with yourself, and love what you see in the stillness.

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One of my favorite metaphors about raising children refers to parents giving them ‘roots and wings’. I feel that my husband and I have seen how deeply rooted our kids are – and it makes it that much easier to be able to watch them fly. I hope you will appreciate these photos of Brian soaring, the freedom and empowerment of his deep roots and strong wings!

I invite you to consider what your next journey might be… what will enable you to find stillness, comfort and joy – alone with your own amazing self?

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Summer can often feel like winter here in the San Francisco Bay Area, and when the fog rolls in and lingers (and lingers, and lingers) I sometimes get a case of the summertime blues. Thanks to my friend Lisa Settlemier, I’ve discovered the perfect remedy — AKA my favorite summer cocktail! A few years ago Lisa brought me a bottle of Triple Eight Blueberry Vodka, which she had discovered on a trip to picture-perfect Nantucket…with plenty of sunshine! We share our love of vodka, and this beautiful blue-hued spirit is fabulous and refreshing over ice with a splash of soda. Made from wild Maine blueberries, Triple 8 can cure the foggy midsummer blues, and is a welcome addition to any season — In addition to a blustery Bay Area, I’ve also enjoyed it while relaxing around a fire pit in Sonoma, and on the deck in Tahoe overlooking the bluest lake. If you can’t experience the best blueberry vodka on a Nantucket beach, it’s definitely worth a taste at home — you can find more information on Triple 8 and all of the flavors here or email wineguy@ciscobrewers.com

Thanks, Lisa! Even when the fog rolls in, we’ve got summer handled.

Cisco Triple 8 Blueberry Vodka

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I’m sure most of you have heard about the many benefits of  “oil pulling” for your teeth and gums (yes swishing coconut oil around in your mouth for at least five minutes a day)  – and yes, I am a believer. I have been doing it for several years now and it has certainly been beneficial for my gums and probably overall health- fighting off colds, bugs etc…an easy health practice you can adopt in the morning.

I recently was intrigued as I came across this tip that takes the coconut oil craze even one step further…Teeth Whitening! Add Turmeric. I am always seeking natural alternatives to abrasive chemical treatments and I know turmeric has many health benefits as well. (a very powerful anti-inflammatory) In fact I am crazy about the Turmeric Spice Tonic Drink at Mission Heirloom in Berkeley. Bay Area peeps can also order from Good Eggs. But, if you want to whiten your teeth in the meantime, read on and give this a try.  images

 

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Sports jerseys and practice jerseys and student government T-shirts…oh, my! As a mom to two active boys, I often found the plethora of shirts overwhelming — especially during the high school years that included a seemingly endless laundry basket (and, let me be honest, even throughout college when they would bring home massive piles to wash). I couldn’t bear to part with the memories many of the shirts held, as they represented such important pieces of each of my sons’ lives, so I began tossing them in a treasure chest — knowing that my talented, artistic mom would be able to somehow work these memories into keepsake quilts for her grandsons. And, presto! This past May when my son Brian graduated from college, she presented him with a one-of-a-kind quilt that told the story of his school years: from ski team to football, and college rugby to Mexico mission trips, he was moved and thrilled to receive this heartfelt compilation of memories.

If you don’t happen to have a quilter in your family, and it’s not a project you want to tackle yourself, check a local fabric store for recommendations of skilled quilters…or there are plenty of resources online that specialize in creating custom memory quilts – like these found in a quick Google search.
http://www.custommemoryquilts.com/
https://www.etsy.com/market/memory_quilt
https://www.projectrepat.com/pages/memory-quilts

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