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Capturing the Essence of Rugged Elegance via Inspirational Photographs
June 6, 2006
Building A "Foundation House" for Kids in San Francisco: So Urban Youth Can Thrive!

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?


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!"

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Posted by jck at 11:59 AM
November 29, 2005
Skier Joe Kelly at Summit of Steamboat Springs: Rugged Elegant Photograph Of The Day

After a gloriously sunny fall, we were wondering if we'd ever see rain again in San Francisco. In fact yesterday, I was ready to go outside and water my thirty-foot palm tree for the first time, ever. But then around mid-day it began to rain. And rain. And rain. In fact, it's still raining now -- which means good things for Lake Tahoe. Meanwhile, the rest of the United States has already been getting their fair share of snow.

Take for instance, Steamboat Ski & Resort in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Professional photographer Larry Pierce of Larry Pierce Photography gets our "Rugged Elegant Photo Of The Day" recognition after capturing skier Joe Kelly sampling "a taste" of the 47.5 inches of snow that fell at the summit on Monday, November 28th, 2005.

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Summaries of Other Recent Posts
November 9, 2005
Rugged Elegant Photograph of The Day: Germany's "Red Clouds" by Jens Meyer

Rugged Elegant Photograph of The Day On Monday evening, November 7th, 2005, AP Photograph Jens Meyer was in eastern Germany near Jena. Meyer captured the sun setting behind clouds which turned the sky red. The view was pure poetry in motion. Meteorologists forecast a mix of sun, clouds and rain in the upcoming days. Do you suppose Napoleon Bonaparte saw a similar color in the sky at Jena when he defeated the Prussians in 1806?... more

July 25, 2005
Like Mother Like Daughter: Paulina Mary Jean Gretzky, Janet & Wayne's 1st Born Launches Modeling Career with Flair

Paulina Gretzky, the 16-year-old daughter of NHL legend, hockey manager, entrepreneur and father-of-five, Wayne Gretzky and model, actress, dancer and aerobics instructor turned mother-of-five, Janet Jones Gretzky, has launched a modeling career with Flare, Canada's top fashion and beauty magazine. Seventeen years ago, her mother Janet was a Flare Cover Girl. Janet was a well known celebrity when she married her NHL hockey husband known as "The Great One" in 1988. In fact, I still have their USA Today... more

July 11, 2005
Underwater "Submarine" Volcano Erupts near Japan

Rugged Elegant Photograph of The Day On July 3rd 2005, a volcano erupted in the Pacific Ocean near the uninhabited Minami Iwojima Island, about 1,400km (870 miles) south of Tokyo. The volcano erupted underwater. Volcanoes, like these, are called "submarine" volcanoes. A 3,280 foot column of steam was investigated by the Japanese Coast Guard after the eruption was spotted by a member of Japan's armed forces stationed on the island of Iwojima. An aerial photograph of the activity was... more

July 8, 2005
Rudi, The S. Korean Chimp Plays Golf at Everland: Move Over Tiger, V.J. & Phil

Monkeyin' around in Youngin Korea this week was seven-year-old trained chimpanzee, Rudi, who is learning how to play golf during 'the animal wonder stage' at the world famous Everland Amusement Park. South Korea's major amusement park launched a new animal show in July to attract more guests. Rudi is not only attracting more guests, he's attracting thousands of viewers on the Internet. Reuters photographer You Sung-Ho has captured one of the most popular photos in Yahoo.... more

July 7, 2005
Jennifer Garner Ben Affleck Caribbean Wedding Photograph

Rugged Elegant Photo of The Day Celebrity magazine, Star was the first to capture photographs of Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck's wedding in the Caribbean last week. Jennifer, who is four-months pregnant with Ben's baby, wore a generously cut white Empire-waisted wedding dress with a teal sash. Ben wore a cream-colored suit.... more

June 22, 2005
March of Penguins: Rugged Elegant Photograph of The Day

Coming out of the movie theater this week, my seven year-old daughter gravitated straight for the poster promoting Warner Independent Pictures' upcoming documentary about real-live penguins. Niki loves penguins! She has ever since we started taking her to the San Francisco Zoo when she was a baby. Another person crazy about penguins is Luc Jacquet. This French filmmaker, who is a biologist by training, is responsible for the creation of this most extreme "rugged elegant" story about the life... more

June 19, 2005
Voting in Iran Is Not Black & White

AFP Photographer Patrick Baz captured this photograph of an Iranian girl dressed in white amidst women in black preparing to vote in Iran's presidential elections last week. The women were queued up outside a polling station in the Shiite holy shrine of Mahsoumeh. Iranians began voting for a new president on Friday.... more

June 16, 2005
Naomi Campbell Reveals TNG Spring Summer 2006 Collection in Brazil

British supermodel Naomi Campbell was in Brazil this week to reveal TNG's latest collection at the Fashion Rio Show. On Wednesday, June 15, 2005 AP Photographer Silvia Izquierdo captured Naomi in a colorful top and scarf. Earlier this year, designer Tito Bessa may have been as surprised as anyone when Campbell revealed a little more skin than expected.... more

June 11, 2005
Venice at Sunset on The Eve of La Biennale di Venezia 2005, the 51st International Contemporary Art Exhibition

Rugged Elegant Photograph of The Day Four summers ago, Tim and I took our family to Italy for the first time, which included a train ride from Verona to Venice. I remember the train ride well because my daughter, who was six at the time, read Harry Potter to me all the way to Venice. Upon our arrival, Tim looked at the clouds overhead and then said, "We have approximately fifty seconds to get across that bridge and under... more

June 2, 2005
St. Petersburg Sunset - Rugged Elegant Photograph of The Day

Rugged Elegant Photo of The Day Reuters photographer Alexander Demianchuk captured a bird silhouetted against a St. Petersburg sunset during the city's birthday celebration on May 28, 2005. Russian reformist Tzar Peter the Great founded the city in 1703 on the deserted Baltic seaside and moved the Russian capital from ancient Moscow to the newly built St. Petersburg.... more

May 24, 2005
Blue Catfish Caught By Tim Pruitt on Mississippi River, A World Record 124 Pounds Catfish

Rugged Elegant Photo of The Day It took Tim Pruitt over thirty minutes to capture his 124 pound blue catfish on Saturday, May 22nd 2005. However, after he had it safely out of the Mississippi River and on his boat he soon realized that he was holding Illinois' largest catfish of its kind, ever. Now, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the International Game Fish Association are claiming Pruitt's fish may land in the world record books. Until... more

May 22, 2005
5 Legged, 6 Hooved Calf Named Limousin Has At Least Four To Stand On in New Mexico

Now my grandfather had six toes. And my mother had six fingers and six toes. My brother also had six toes. And his son had six fingers and six toes. You think that's rare?! Have you ever heard of a heifer with five legs and six hooves? Orlando Romero of Sapello, New Mexico recently bred one named Limousin. And it was not on purpose. Her extra limb hangs from her back and does not touch the ground. The calf... more

May 4, 2005
Rugged Elegant Photo of The Day: Egypt's Most Beautiful Mummy

Four days before Mother's Day 2005 Egypt's most beautiful mummy has been discovered. On May 4th 2005, archaeological experts south of Cairo unveiled what they described as the most beautiful mummy ever unearthed. However, this mummy is most likely a male. Experts believe the mummy is likely to have been the tomb of a wealthy male. The recently-discovered mummy with the gilded mask and blue wig dates back more than 2,300 years. It was found near Egypt's Saqqara Pyramids... more

April 28, 2005
Mama & Maya, The First Hungarian Jaguar Born in Nyiregyhaza Zoo in Twenty Years

Rugged Elegant Photo of The Day On Thursday, April 28, 2005, AP Photographer Istvan Kiss captured Maya, right, a young dotted jaguar, walking by the side of her mother in the Nyiregyhaza Animal Park in Nyiregyhaza, Hungary. Nyiregyhazais 245 kilometers east of Budapest. Maya is the first jaguar to be born in a Hungarian zoo in twenty years. Maya's parents have black fur, but Maya's fur will remain dotted according to experts of the zoo.... more

April 26, 2005
A View of the World from NASA's Hubble on Hubble's 15th Anniversary: Eagle Nebula

Rugged Elegant Living Photograph of the Day by NASA's Hubble On Monday, April 25th 2005, NASA celebrated the 15th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope. As part of the celebration, NASA released one of the two largest and sharpest images ever taken from the Hubble. This new view of the Eagle Nebula reveals a tall, dense tower of gas being sculpted by ultraviolet light from a group of massive, hot stars.... more

April 15, 2005
Rugged Elegant Photo of The Day: Eight Pups Hanging Out

Today's Rugged Elegant Photo of The Day is called "Eight Puppies Hanging Out." The photograph was discovered on The original photographer is unknown. Thank you to my Aunt Min, a fellow animal lover living in Denver Colorado, who is responsible for sending us the photo. We couldn't resist sharing it with our rugged elegant community.... more

April 10, 2005
Rugged Elegant Photo of The Day: Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps (AP Photo/Tom Strattman) Michael Phelps prepares to surface during the backstroke leg in the men's 200-meter individual medley at the U.S. World Championship Swimming Trials in Indianapolis, Monday, April 4, 2005. Phelps won the event. Can you say "surface tension?" -Tim... more

April 5, 2005
Rugged Elegant Photo of The Day: Greece Fashion Show Suits Up Kathy Heyndels Athens Atelier

The place to be on April 4th 2005, if you love fashion, was in Athens Greece. Kathy Heyndels was one of the top Greek designers who showed off her Spring/Summer 2005 collection which included a gold bathing suit and trench coat that looked more like a smoking jacket. The whole outfit, including the shoes, were smokin'. Reuters photographer Yiorgos Karahalis captured one of Heyndels' models strutting her stuff on the run-way on Tuesday.... more

April 1, 2005
Rugged Elegant Photo of The Day: Puebla Mexico's Active Popocatepetl Volcano

Today's Rugged Elegant Living photo of the day was shot on Wednesday night near the city of Puebla, Mexico. AP Photographer Joel Merino captured the Popocatepetl volcano sending out a plume of smoke at dusk on March 30, 2005. The towering volcano Popocatepetl, a Mexican icon, has inspired awe and worship since before the time of Cortes.... more

March 30, 2005
Rugged Elegant Photo of The Day: Signs of Spring in New York City

Signs of spring are everywhere in New York City this week. On Sunday, the annual Easter Parade came through town. On Wednesday, March 30th 2005 AP Photographer Gregory Bull captured tree trimmer Dave Hernandez up in an American Elm in Manhattan's Central Park. Hernandez was caught adjusting his line as he moved among the branches to give the tree a springtime trim. He almost looks like he is coming out of the sky or attached to the tree. Speaking... more

March 29, 2005
Rugged Elegant Photograph of The Day: Mexican Hummingbird by Omar Torres

AFP photographer Omar Torres captured this hummingbird in flight in a Mexico City garden. Rugged Elegance has selected Torres' shot as The Rugged Elegant Photograph of The Day. Omar's photo is also one of the most popular images in more

March 21, 2005
Mexican Fashion Designers Present Their Summer Lines in Acapulco

A Rugged Elegance Exclusive by Jennifer Carolyn King On Saturday, March 19th, Mexican fashion designers showed off their latest designs at the Fairmont Hotel in Acapulco, Mexico. Reuters photographer, Daniel Aguilar captured two of Gustavo Helguera's swim suits, among other designers' lines.... more

March 2, 2005
"Wholey" Toledo: A 22 Pound Live Lobster from the Atlantic Ocean

On Tuesday, March 1st 2005, AP Photographer, Keith Srakocic captured Bubba, a 22-pound lobster pulled from the waters off Nantucket, Massachusetts. Robert Wholey & Co. is responsible for capturing the live lobster. Srakocic captured this photograph. Bubba was put in a tank next to a 1.5 pound lobster at Wholey's Fish Market in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Rather than being served for dinner Bubba will be presented to all those who visit a Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum. In the... more

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