Tennis Around The Globe

Guest blog by Doug Ingerson of Jade Retreat

Over the past couple of years – Carroll & I have put together creative retreats, tennis retreats and more recently Surfer’s Journey retreats at Jade in Nosara, Costa Rica. We have been fortunate to partner with art therapists, authors, doctors, tennis pro’s and fitness gurus.

We tend to travel a few times a year to look for inspiration and freshen up our tennis game at the same time. About a year ago we accomplished a bucket list item that was pretty big. We wanted to hit all 4 majors in the tennis world in order – the same calendar year. We wanted to have our own “grand-slam”. Imagine the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon & the US open in a matter of 8 months.

jade_retreat

It turned out to be an amazing year full of inspiration & passion. It’s amazing to come back and sit down together and complete a vision board and put our goals on paper. It all seemed to just flow as we saw more dreams – some pretty big stretches finding themselves on our list of goals. The vision board we look at everyday. The list of goals gets tucked away and we review them about once a year.

One thing that came out of our “Grand-Slam” experience is that we really do love the red clay. Both playing on it and watching the tennis professionals compete with everything they have. The French Open is our favorite major for many reasons….. but one reason for sure is the surface. Everything seems to slow down in the red dirt. (OK – being in the most Romantic city might be another good reason to make the French Open our favorite).

Over the last year we have played on the red clay in Brazil , NYC, Nosara and now Italy! Over an Italian cup of coffee one morning Carroll and I talked about starting to hit the smaller red clay tournaments and playing tennis while we traveled to those places… creating true tennis holidays. Wouldn’t you know – a couple months later a friend of ours (the tennis pro in Nosara) suggested we go to the Monte Carlo Open. We looked at each other and said Yeeeeeeeeessssssss. Not only did we put it out there over coffee one morning- but apparently we delegated it too!!! Harry worked with a travel agent friend of his and put together the most amazing 12 day tennis vacation ever.

We arrived at our hotel in Menton, France – a beautiful town on the Mediterranean. Menton is 15 minutes west of Monte Carlo and about 25 minutes East of SanRemo, Italy. The next day we had to get out and play tennis- so 4 of us including Harry left the hotel and drove to Solara tennis club in San Remo, Italy. We walked into the clubhouse and the first thing we saw were some old photographs on the wall of some of today’s best tennis players. They were photographs of Djokovic & Cilic in their teens. We soon found out that Fognini grew up playing in SanRemo too. So for the next two hours the 4 of us played competitive tennis on the same red clay courts that some of our favorite tennis players spent hours competing before their professional years.

We played two more days of tennis and loved every minute of it. We improved some of our game and just played on the most incredible surface as if we too were competing like those that came before us. A rite of passage before we attended the clay tournament in Monaco

So Monday morning we left the hotel knowing for the next 3 days we would have incredible seats in a stadium that had no bad seats !! It’s hard to explain how incredible it all was. Just imagine being invited to the king of Monaco’s private club to watch the most amazing tennis. Did I mention the weather was about 68 degrees, the stadium kind of looks like it’s built inside a castle against a cliff that faces the Mediterranean and a few amazing yacht clubs? This tournament is all men with 10 of the top 20 Men playing. We arrived 45 minutes early. as if it were natural instinct – we headed for the practice courts to see the tennis gods warm up before their matches. We saw Djokovic on one court and he looked ready as the current # 1 should. A few minutes later the trumpets sounded as Nadal entered the practice courts that we stood maybe 30 feet away. This is the red clay God that everyone comes to see. He has 10 French Open titles and many more titles on the clay between Rome, Madrid and Barcelona. He looked good- real good.

jade_retreat

.We headed over to our seats at 11:00am to begin our first day of 4 matches. They paraded these champions in one by one. We watched 4 great matches. 8 of the top tennis players on the planet. Djokovic , Nadal, Thiem , Cilic, Zverev And Fognini were some of the greats we saw those first few days. over the first 3 days we saw 12 matches- ranging from #1 to top #10 and some wild cards too. We saw the new comer – 18 year old sensation from Canada “Felix”!

During the few days away from the tournament we snuck in some great mid evil villages and even a nice trip up to Serena Williams coach’s academy where we saw many students – some real young – others in the juniors programs. What an incredible facility. During those days we spent a couple more mornings in the Italian Riviera playing tennis in San Remo and having fun dinners.

Sunday we were back in Monte Carlo for the doubles championship and singles matches. We were mostly unplugged during the week accept for the tennis app on our iPhones that kept us updated to the progress of the tournament. Usually by 5:30pm we would find the one wine / tapas bar that paid for the tennis channel and watch whatever match might have a set left. What was wild was how the tournament progressed. Many of the top 10 players were eliminated. Djokovic , Thiem, Zverev, Nishikori and Cilic were eliminated by under dogs but played hard to the end.

On day one I was impressed with Fognini. Maybe it’s the Italian connection. Maybe it’s his passion and sometimes entertaining drama on the courts. Maybe it was the fact that we were playing tennis on the same courts he grew up on. Whatever it was- a story was developing & I felt it. I am a fan. What I didn’t know was the list of men he would have to defeat to make it to the semis where he would face the clay court God – Nadal. I routed for him as he defeated Goliath in 2 sets and found himself advancing to the championship match on Sunday.

Fognini was to play an upcoming man from Serbia for the Championship. Lajovic is about 10 years younger with much less time in the big leagues than Fognini. Younger – maybe stronger… but not as passionate as Fognini, who won in two sets.  After the match Fognini blew a kiss to his mother and wished her a happy birthday. What an amazing story. What an amazing finish. So happy for Fognini & his family.

Oh wait- the story is not quite over. The next day we headed back to the tennis courts in Italy to play one more day of tennis. The conditions were just like the day before on Monte Carlo. Strong winds. This was the first time I had to adjust my game on the clay as the gusts would pick up the dirt occasionally and get in your eyes. I now understood much better what the professional tennis players had to face that day during the championship match. The following day we took a road trip to Saint Tropez and stopped at a winery in Provence on the way back. The winery also had a goat farm & made goat cheese from the 50 goats that lived there.

What an amazing tennis holiday. 5 days playing on the red clay & 4 days attending the most amazing tournament in Monte Carlo. Does it get any better than that?

jade_retreat

A few places that we enjoyed dining during our time in France & Italy.

LE Fellini 

‘O SOLE MIO

La Cicala 

 

FacebookTwitterPinterest

David Ferron: Custom Cat Suit

Last Christmas I was given an incredible gift. After visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art ‘Fabulous Fashion’  Exhibit – I was inspired by the Christian Lacroix catsuit on display.

Christmas Gift: design a custom catsuit to wear to Monte Carlo for the tennis tournament.

We started to look for for a designer that would inspire. David Ferron is from Unionville, PA  and a graduate of Parson’s School of Design. He has worked for Calvin Klien, Behnaz Saraphour, Bibhu Mohapatra, Tomas Maier, and Nicole Miller. Excited to start the process – we looked for a fabric source. Ellen Catanzaro’s fabric spoke to me from the moment I saw her work!

We sat down to discuss my design ideas. Catsuits first made an appearance around the 1940s. Lacroix is known for eye-popping ’60s Pucci pattern-on-pattern design extravaganzas. Lacroix designed for Pucci for three years, Pucci is considered the inventor of the Capri pants, which were extremely popular  during the 1950s. The designer is well known for psychedelic patterns in a kaleidoscope of colors.

“Throughout my career as a designer, I have always thought that the difference between art and design is that the former did not have a function. Art could simply be, whereas design has to serve a purpose, it has to fit a body. There is a point where fashion design can become art, that is when a garment affects someone on an emotional level. Then it is art. Some of the best designers can fit the body beautifully while evoking an emotional response.

Recently, fashion design has become the focus of extremely successful exhibits in art museums around the world. From the monumental “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty,” exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2011 to “Items: Is Fashion Modern?” at the MoMA in 2017 or “Fabulous Fashion,” at Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2018, it is clear that fashion and art are deeply connected. Fashion and art both have the power to help a viewer understand the depths of their own conciseness, pulling references from the past while showing glimmers of the future.” – David Ferron

The inspiration is the process. Thank you David Ferron and Ellen Catanzaro for making this gift an incredible experience!

Look for David Ferron’s fashion show in March at the Brandywine River Museum!

p.s. Thank you Doug Ingerson – best gift ever. xoxxo

 

FacebookTwitterPinterest

Stand With Presence

This past weekend I took a walk along the Brandywine River to see the fall foliage. I was inspired by the new garden sculpture installation at Somerville Manning Gallery – especially Stand With Presence by Vicki Vinton.

The reaction to the sculpture was immediate and powerful.  Vinton’s inspiration for Stand With Presence was simple: a friend of hers was experiencing writer’s block and, in her true artist form, Vicki drew a red figure and sent it to her friend with a note – dig deep.

Stand With Presence by Vicki Vinton - Social Stylate

“Current events are just old events dressed up in today’s fashion. The process of creating whether it be painting or sculpting must hold in it some sort of history. Simply the passing of time or a nod to events that have gone before.” says Vinton.

This is a pivotal time for women.  Women of all ages are rising up, speaking out, and making themselves heard as never before. Stand With Presence is a symbol of courage, and beauty –a reminder to keep your beliefs in yourself strong. A reminder that we have the answers if we take time to be present.

Over the past few years, we have seen the power of storytelling play out in one of the largest stages for women. Storytelling is rooted in our culture and has been proven to be one of the most effective ways to share who you are with the world while also providing the power to find our inner strength.

Stand With Presence invites women of all ages to share their stories and bring their strongest selves to their biggest challenges. Raising two boys on my own for the past ten years and starting a business has been my greatest gift, and has given me strength and courage. Your story can transform your life, change the lives of others, your story can change the world.

SStand With Presence by Vicki Vinton - Cindy Pettinaro and Carroll Ivy - Social Stylate

Carroll Ivy and her friend, Cindy Pettinaro Wilkinson, pose with the Stand With Presence statue.

Follow along: #StandWithPresence @standwithpresence @smg_gallery

***

For over thirty-five years the Somerville Manning Gallery has introduced current art trends into an area already steeped in a rich art tradition, mounting exhibitions that relate to this cultural heritage both past and present. Recognized as experts on N.C. Wyeth and his family, Somerville Manning Gallery has created multiple exhibitions on N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, and Jamie Wyeth. Also represented are the Wyeth women, daughters of N.C. Wyeth, Henriette Wyeth Hurd, Carolyn Wyeth, and Ann Wyeth McCoy.

FacebookTwitterPinterest

Coffee Talk with Ann Ahl founder of NFUSE

There are few things better than coffee and conversation which is why we try to set up a coffee date with a different person every month. It’s a great way to catch up with old friends and chat with people we’ve been dying to meet.

What personally motivated you to start the company? 

My sister, Emily and I started nfuse as a way to make a daily chore (putting on deodorant/ applying body lotion) pleasurable, safe and actually good for you.  Most people don’t realize the lack of regulation around the ingredients that are in deodorants, creams, and lotions that we put on our skin every day. As daughters of a breast cancer survivor and mothers to teens, we were adamant that every ingredient is absolutely safe and effective. 

Coffee Talk with Ann Ahl founder of NFUSE

What obstacles did you overcome to give you a totally unique perspective on what the market needs? 

Breaking into an industry dominated by huge multi-national corporations is daunting to say the least, so that was a challenge.  I think we’ve had success because of our unique perspective and understanding of the benefits of magnesium and how it’s best absorbed.  We received a patent last winter on our magnesium technology used in nfuse. There are no other deodorants (natural or otherwise) that are formulated to deliver magnesium and nfuse is truly innovative.  My sister and I are fortunate because my husband’s family has been involved in magnesium and the environment for many years so it’s very likely that any conversation around the dining table includes a discussion around magnesium.

What inspires you and fuels your creativity? 

Being in nature inspires me and fuels my creativity.  Nine times out of ten if I take a long walk or run, I find that I can work out a nagging problem or come up with a new approach.  Also, Emily, my sister and nfuse co-founder, inspires and drives me. She’s whip smart, determined and the ultimate innovator. We love working together and are passionate about changing the way people approach their daily routines.

That said, Emily and I, sisters and founders of nfuse, have never had an interest in being just another natural deodorant or body lotion company.  We have been single-minded in our efforts to upend daily routines by replacing iffy ingredients with nourishing magnesium and delivering this essential nutrient through the skin. The idea that your daily routine can not only be “not bad for you” but actually healing and healthy is what gets us out of bed (with the help of nfuse) every morning and we will continue to innovate to deliver on this promise.

The book you own that is the most dog eared.

That’s tough. There are a few but probably Mission In a Bottle: The Honest Guide to Doing Business.  A friend gave it to me right before we launched nfuse, it’s the story of the start-up years of Honest Tea.  Also, I just finished Educated by Tara Westover which I loved. I’m a big fan of podcasts too since I drive a lot – listening to How I Built This with Guy Raz.

What advice do you have for the next generation of entrepreneurs? 

It’s a marathon and not a sprint. Your business will take over your life and balance is very tough to find. However, if you are willing to show up and put the work in it’s the most gratifying endeavor you’ll ever have.

Words to live by. 

Keep going.

You can do it.

Pick the right partners. 

Look for nfuse at Janssens, houppette, Whole Foods, Urban Outfitters and more. Recently featured on Martha Stewart, Town & Country, and The View. I am in love with the lotion — a must!

Coffee Talk with Ann Ahl founder of NFUSE

 

FacebookTwitterPinterest