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June 6, 2006
Building A "Foundation House" for Kids in San Francisco: So Urban Youth Can Thrive!
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Once in awhile an opportunity comes along where there is no other response than "I must grab it." With other opportunities, they grab you. The following story is of the latter ilk.

But before I get started I must address the 600,000 monthly visitors who had been coming to Rugged Elegant Living on a regular basis and must be wondering where I went for the past nearly four months. A special expression of thanks to Wes, who took the time to pick up the phone and call to make sure I was simply o.k.

I told Wes that I hadn't been writing because I had gone through surgery, that we had been working on the e-commerce side of our business, and that my husband and I had bought a new house. However, what I wanted to tell him is what I am about to tell you now. The most significant reason I have gone offline is that I have been working on a project that has grabbed my heart, my soul and my attention, and now I am finally ready to tell the world about it.

I hope if this story touches you in any way, you will think about the resources you have that you can bring to the table. Whether you have creative ideas, financial means, mainstream media contacts, experience in this arena, or practical knowledge you'd like to share, we are all ears.


Building A "Foundation House" for Youth ... So They Can Thrive

Having unexpectedly bought a new home and moved our Rugged Elegance headquarters further west of the city near what is called "Land's End," Tim and I began the process of selling our previous home through a traditional real estate agent.

Until this week, we thought it was likely that this fabulous property, located in the center of the city, would have gone to another single family. Perhaps eventually, it will.

For the past year, we were getting prepared to remodel our home to better serve the needs of our own two children. However, friends kept telling us that if we were planning to invest a significant amount of money in our current property, we should first look at what else is on the market. As far as I was concerned, this house could have been "it" for our family, forever. It had plenty of space for our two children, our dog and our lifestyle media business. It has a pool, which is very unusual for San Francisco. The roof deck offers a 360 degree panoramic view of the city. We just needed an inside space from which to enjoy that view. One of the best features is that the house is located in an unpretentious part of the city, on a street we call our "Two Block Secret Neighborhood."

While we would have rather not moved, we nonetheless heeded our friends' advice. One weekend in February, we went out to a neighborhood called Sea Cliff and took a look at one, and only one property. By the end of March we owned it. That same day we hired an innovative architect by the name of Bernardo Urquieta of BRU Architects.

At that same time, our home in the Anza Vista / Western addition area was formally put on the market.

However, before doing so, our friend and trainer Anthony Thier of HealThier Fitness, came to us and suggested an alternative path to selling the house to a private party as a single family home.

He suggested we instead turn the house into a creative haven for under served kids in the city.

My immediate reaction?

"Sold!"

During the fifteen years we lived in the neighborhood, we had always wanted to find an effective way to reach out to the kids living in the Pitts Plaza development, a block away.

From the moment Antony recommended we make the house into a place where kids come together from all walks of life to be taught positive life skills, not only were we sold, nearly everyone we spoke with about it said they wanted to help.

Antony's first thought was to create a unique place for kids to hang out with their mentors where together they can cook, swim, work out, as well as create art, music, theater, etc.

We first met Antony in September when he became our three-times-a-week personal fitness trainer. Over the past year, he has also become our kids' ski instructor. After four trips to Tahoe this past season, the girls are now proudly tackling Black Diamond runs. In addition, Antony has inspired all four of us to get into biking. Before we know it, we'll all be doing triathalons together.

Having someone like Antony in our lives is especially significant because we have two children with Type 1 Diabetes. As a result, we are always looking for ways to stay healthy. Having been a professional chef, Antony is both a guide and an inspiration when it comes to good nutrition.

Needless to say, he has quickly become an uncle figure in our kids' lives.

So, when Antony came up with this generous idea for our house and then added, "I would even consider becoming the live-in director," my immediate reaction was, "I'm even more sold!"

more ...

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Posted by jck at 11:59 AM
February 4, 2006
NY's Olympus Fashion Week Attracts Music and Model Celebrities Including The Newly Single Sheryl Crow
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On February 3rd, 2006 the Olympus Fall 2006 Fashion Week was kicked off in New York with the Heart Truth Red Dress fashion show. The annual charity show featured celebrity models, musicians and guest designers to raise awareness about women's heart disease. Reuters photographer, Brendan McDermid captured Singer Amerie (above) walking the runway during the Red Dress show, which was sponsored by The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

Among the celebrities present and smiling was the newly single, Sheryl Crow.

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Posted by jck at 6:55 AM


Summaries of Other Recent Posts
January 31, 2006
U.S. President Bush's 2006 State of the Union Address: Verbatim

On Tuesday, January 31st, 2006, the State of the Union Address was given by the President of the United States, George W. Bush. At 9:12pm EST he began his fifty-one minute speech from the United States Capitol. To follow is Bush's address to the nation: Thank you all. Mr. Speaker, Vice President Cheney, members of Congress, members of the Supreme Court and diplomatic corps, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens: Today our nation lost a beloved, graceful, courageous woman who... more

Going For Gold, The Oscars Gold: And The 2006 Academy Awards Nominations Go To ...

Nominations for the 78th Academy Awards were announced on Tuesday morning, January 31st, 2006. 5,856 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences were given the opportunity to vote. Those who mailed in their ballot sent it directly to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the international accounting firm, for tabulation. Academy President Sid Ganis and Oscar-winner Mira Sorvino announced ten of the nominations for the 78th Academy Awards at 5:30am to an audience of over 430 international media. The announcement was... more

January 22, 2006
Miss America Pageant Judges Crown Miss Oklahoma, Jennifer Berry Their 2006 Winner

On Saturday, January 21st, 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada, a new Miss America was crowned. Her name is Jennifer Berry. The other title she proudly wears? Miss Oklahoma. In Oklahoma, she beat Morgan Long, Jennifer Warren, Lindsey Miller and Stephanie Poplin. In Las Vegas, Jennifer beat over forty contestants and then fellow top-ten finalists Shannon Schambeau, Erika Grace Powell, Kristi Lauren Glakas, Monica Pang, Morgan Matlock, Eudora Mosby, Nicole Brewer, Alexa Jones and Mari Wilensky. Over the next year,... more

January 18, 2006
2006 Golden Globe Awards Best Dressed, Most Rugged Elegant Movie & Television Stars

The 63rd Annual Golden Globe Awards celebration attracted American television, movie and music stars to Los Angeles on Monday, January 16th, 2006. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), NBC, Dick Clark Productions and Hollywood were the hosts of the annual show, which honors achievement in the film and television industries. 18.7 million viewers (about 2 million more than last year) tuned into the three-hour "Golden Globes", according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research figures. NBC's broadcast of the Golden Globe... more

January 8, 2006
"Brilliant" Chinese Pianist Master Lang Lang: Demand for CDs Greater Than Supply

If only my kids, both aspiring pianists, knew how privileged they were today. On Sunday, January 8th, 2006, the world famous Chinese piano prodigy Lang Lang completed his fourth day of performances with the San Francisco Symphony. Lang Lang's name means "brilliant." And that he is! Sitting in our four loge seats above, we could not only see Lang Lang in action we could feel his soul exuding from ten finger tips that are attached an electric body. His... more

January 3, 2006
The Top Ten Best (& Worst) Communicators of 2005 According to Expert Bert Decker

Happy New Year! Bert Decker is an American communications expert and national commentator on NBC's Today show. He is an author with a global audience. He is a professional speaker, blogger, and founder & CEO of San Francisco-based Decker Communications. So, when Bert announces his Top Ten Best & Worst Communicators of The Year, people listen. In fact, of the over 600,000 savvy people who come to Rugged Elegant Living each month, last summer -- while I was on vacation... more

January 2, 2006
Warren Miller Entertainment High-Def Movie Takes Skiers to Higher Ground

Skier Jeremy Bloom Photo Credit: John Schwirtlich When I get to Heaven I want to be in a Warren Miller movie. Until then, I'll have to join the thousands of other adventure buffs on the planet and live vicariously through professional skiers, snowboarders, jumpers, and fly-like-a-bird mountaineers by watching the likes of reigning World Cup mogul champion and NCAA football player turned Olympic Gold Medal favorite turning NFL hopeful Jeremy Bloom, Ski-BASE jumping innovator Shane McConkey, the sport's hot-dogging... more

December 13, 2005
Miss World 2005: Iceland's Unnur Birna Vilhjalmsdottir Crowned The Most Beautiful, Talented, Altruistic Woman

Who is the most beautiful, talented and altruistic woman in "the world"? She speaks the ancient language of the Vikings. Her career ambition is to become a criminal lawyer. She is twenty-one years of age. She loves to hike, camp and play the piano. She has a passion for children. Her motto is, "You are what you do." And her mother shared the same title as the representative for her nation in 1983. Can you guess? Her name is... more

December 9, 2005
Victoria's Secret Fashion Show To Be Re-Broadcast by UPN

Set your TiVos now to Tuesday, December 13th at 9pm on UPN if you missed the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show and are still looking for inspiration as to what to buy your woman for the holidays. When the show first aired on UPN's sister network CBS The Rugged Elegance Inspiration Network: Angelic 2005 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show: Getting "In The Spirit"" href="http://www.ruggedelegantliving.com/a/003850.html#more">a play-by-play account was published by Rugged Elegant Living. However, the story did not get picked up by... more

December 7, 2005
Angelic 2005 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show: Getting "In The Spirit"

On Tuesday, December 6th, 2005, Victoria's Secret fashion models were the stars of the ten year anniversary glamorous, intimate and powerful television event which took place two weeks earlier "live" in New York. It was the making of another The Rugged Elegance World Marketplace | Software : Victoria's Secret Lingerie Movies " href="http://products.ruggedelegance.com/cgi-bin/amazon/amazon_products_feed.cgi?Operation=ItemLookup&ItemId=B0002MDTE0">Victoria's Secret Lingerie Movie. International fashion models like Gisele Bundchen, Tyra Banks, new mom Heidi Klum, and Adriana Lima wore bras, nighties, corsets and other stunning lingerie.... more

December 4, 2005
KFOG's Concert 4 Kids 2005 with Aqualung & Madeleine Peyroux: A Beautiful & Strange Night at The Masonic

I wonder how many people went to KFOG's Concert for Kids last night in San Francisco thinking -- for even a moment -- that they were going to hear Jethro Tull in concert. One of the three bands that performed at The Masonic on Saturday, November 3rd, 2005 was a group from the U.K. called The Rugged Elegance World Marketplace | Music : Strange and Beautiful " href="http://products.ruggedelegance.com/cgi-bin/amazon/amazon_products_feed.cgi?Operation=ItemLookup&ItemId=B0007OP0X6">Aqualung led by a British gent named Matt Hales. K.T. Tunstall was... more

December 3, 2005
Lance Armstrong, Tom Cruise, Kanye, Jamie, Dakota, Teri, Condi: Barbara Walters' List of 2005's Top Ten 'Most Fascinating People'

Who are the most fascinating people on Barbara Walters' 2005 List? The ABC TV broadcaster hosted her annual television special on Tuesday, November 29th, 2005. The hour-long program highlighted some of the year's most prominent names in entertainment, politics and sports. As expected, more than half of her choices are in the entertainment business. To follow is Rugged Elegant Living's Play-by-Play of most of Barbara's Special. Here we highlight the people on her list who would also make it... more

November 27, 2005
Reading C.S. Lewis' "The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe" Before Seeing Walt Disney's "Narnia"

Picture this. The kitchen is clean. The dishes have been put away, and the Thanksgiving tables -- which served eighteen on Thursday -- have been taken down. On Saturday, Tim and Jessie were privileged to fly with Randy Dilena and his ten year-old daughter, Amanda in one of Randy's two Cirrus planes to Monterey for the day (However, The Rugged Elegance Inspiration Network: The Cirrus SR22-G2 Aircraft: Flying & Fun in Northern California" href="http://www.ruggedelegantliving.com/a/003837.html#more">that's another story). Niki and I... more

November 26, 2005
Best Dressed, Most Rugged Elegant Celebrities at the 2005 American Music Awards

The 2005 American Music Awards took place on November 22nd and I missed it. TiVo didn't even record it for me. Through the grapevine and the Web I learned that Carlos Santana and the Eurythmics were in the house. While I can't report on who had the most soulful song or acceptance speech of the night, I can offer a taste of who was best dressed and most rugged elegant that night. For those who are not familiar with... more

November 21, 2005
If You Liked 'Rent' The Broadway Musical; You'll Love Chris Columbus' 'Rent' The Movie

San Francisco has been my home for nearly twenty years, and so it is probably not surprising that some of my favorite people in the whole world are gay. That said, the only time I have been exposed to AIDS is when we take our kids to make and serve dinner to dying patients at a local AIDS hospice called Leland House. However, after having been born in New York City, raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and... more

November 19, 2005
2005 CMAs: Best Dressed, Most Rugged Elegant Men & Women at The Country Music Awards

New York City does not have a Country Music station, but that did not stop the Big Apple from hosting the 39th Annual CMA Awards for the first time ever on Tuesday, November 15th, 2005. The festivities took place at Madison Square Garden in the heart of Manhattan rather than Nashville, Tennessee. Nashville had been the host the previous 38 years. Country Music stars were honored for their excellence in the studio and on stage. 3,000 miles away we... more

November 17, 2005
Rolling Stones Rock The City of San Francisco with A Big Bang Beat

Look what four British cats dragged in. On Tuesday, November 15th, Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ron Wood brought themselves to San Francisco along with a brilliant Brooklyn-born vocalist by the name of Lisa Fischer, a stellar bass guitarist Darryl Jones and a killer keyboard player Chuck Leavell, to name only three of nine in the Rolling Stones band! "Look What The Cat Dragged In" is actually the title of the band's fourteenth song of... more

Dutch Violinist Janine Jansen Feeds The Souls of Classical Music Lovers in San Francisco

From the The Rugged Elegance Inspiration Network: Rolling Stones Rock The City of San Francisco with A Big Bang Beat" href="http://www.ruggedelegantliving.com/a/003826.html#more">Rolling Stones live and the Country Music Association awards celebration on Tuesday night (that story up next) to Wednesday night with the San Francisco Symphony and Janine Jansen performing Mendelssohn's 1844 Violin Concerto in E minor, we are in music heaven here in San Francisco this week. If you are looking for a sanctuary for your soul, look no... more

November 7, 2005
Harry Potter Stars Rain Magic in London at "The Goblet of Fire" World Premiere

On Sunday, November 6th 2005, while my seven year-old daughter finished reading The Rugged Elegance World Marketplace | Items : List " href="http://products.ruggedelegance.com/cgi-bin/amazon/amazon_products_feed.cgi?Operation=ItemLookup&ItemId=0439139597,0439139600">J.K. Rowling's seven hundred and thirty-four page book for the first time, British moviemakers rained magic on central London, as they headed to the world premiere of Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire. Rupert Grint, Emma Watson & Daniel Radcliffe, 11.6.05 The filmmakers in attendance at the Odeon Leicester Square theater screening included Daniel Radcliffe (Harry),... more

November 3, 2005
Ahoy Their Mate! New England's Tall Ships Are Ready To Set Sail With Your Youth

On November 1st 2005, if you had been lucky enough to be out at sea off the New England coast you might have caught a glimpse of the rainbow shining about the 'Stavros S Niarchos' Tall Ship. Better yet, if you had been really lucky, you would have been one of the kids sailing that ship.... more

October 27, 2005
Four-Year-Old Chinese Acrobat Performs in International Wuquiao Festival

The makers of China's Loncin Motorcycles will be getting some free advertising this week, when four-year-old Tu Yuncai performs her acrobatic tricks in the 10th China Wuqiao International Circus Festival. She will be riding her LX125 bike. The CWICF competition, known as the "grand game field for oriental acrobatics," begins on October 29th, 2005 in Shijiazhuang China's Hebei Art Center. Tu began to learn acrobatics at the age of one-and-a-half. She will be the youngest performer during the festival,... more

October 21, 2005
"She Loves You!" - Paul McCartney Inspires Ben to Propose Marriage to Melissa at Michigan Concert

All morning, I've been singing that ol' 1963 McCartney/Lennon Beatles' song, "She loves you". It's been going through my brain after hearing that a twenty-six year-old gentleman, Ben Okuly proposed to his girlfriend, Melissa Steele at a Paul McCartney concert last weekend in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan. During the concert, Ben held up a sign that read: CAN BEN ASK MELISSA TO MARRY HIM? Ben and Melissa were seated in the fourth row, so it was fairly easy... more

October 20, 2005
China On My Mind: Who Will Have The World's Largest IPO in 4 Years? China Construction Bank, That's Who!

If you think things are done on a grand scale in Texas, I encourage you to visit Hong Kong. I did for the first time this past April, and found myself in absolute awe. Step into the Intercontinental Hotel on the Kowloon-side at night and the landscape in front of you will give you a taste of just how big China is. And it's only going to get bigger. Especially when companies like China Construction Bank raise $8 billion... more





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