Category Archives: THIS&THAT

Yvon Chouinard – and his company where everybody would love to work, right?










Have you heard of Yvon Chouinard? I don’t remember anymore how I came across his name the other day but I was quite impressed and after doing some research I was so even more. I’m really entirely fascinated by him and his life ad work. He’s one of those people  who pursue their pleasure and passion and manage to make their living out of it and at the same time do something to make this world a better place.

Chouinard is a legendary climber, a passionate surfer, environmentalist and (outdoor industry) businessman.
He’s the founder of (among others) the company Patagonia (that might ring a bell – it’s one of the biggest high-end outdoor clothing companies) a company which is known for its environmental focus and he’s also the author of  ‘Let my people go surfing’- The education of a reluctant businessman – and even though I’m not in the slightest a business woman I’m quite intrigued to read it.


As a passionate climber Chouinard started already in his young years to make his equipment on his own, to improve it in order to protect and not damage the rocks (which was known as clean climbing) and finally made a business out of it. The particularity is that in what he’s doing he was and still is lead by his passion for nature and outdoors and not the pursuit of money which makes all the difference.
The way Patagonia is doing its business has gained attention not just for it’s unorthodox style, but because it works.

an excerpt of his book

I’VE BEEN A BUSINESSMAN for almost 50 years. It’s as difficult for me to say those words as it is for someone to admit to being an alcoholic or a lawyer.
I’ve never respected the profession. It’s business that has to take the majority of the blame for being the enemy of nature, for destroying native cultures, for taking from the poor and giving to the rich, and for poisoning the earth with the effluent from its factories. Yet business can produce food, cure disease, control population, employ people, and generally enrich our lives. And it can do these good things and make a profit without losing its soul.

Since I had never wanted to be a businessman, I needed a few good reasons to be one. One thing I did not want to change, even if we got serious: Work had to be enjoyable on a daily basis. We all had to come to work on the balls of our feet and go up the stairs two steps at a time. We needed to be surrounded by friends who could dress whatever way they wanted, even be barefoot. We all needed flextime to surf the waves when they were good or ski the powder after a big snowstorm or stay home and take care of a sick child. We needed to blur the distinction between work and play and family.

Indeed, Patagonia was one of the first companies in the US who provided on-site child care for the children of their employees.

In the 90’s they revealed that industrially grown cotton was probably the worst product for the environment (it uses 25% of the world’s pesticide insecticide with occupying only 3% of the world’s farmland). After only 2 years the company committed itself to using only pesticide-free cotton for their products. (go to min. 39 of his speech)

Listen to his great speech at the University of California where he talks about his personal history, how he created Patagonia, and the philosophy he uses to run the company. He discusses how he has tried to minimize Patagonia’s impact on the environment, such as making fleece clothing from recycled soda bottles. He also talks about his One Percent for the Planet plan in which participating businesses contribute at least 1% of their net annual sales to groups on a list of researched and approved environmental organizations.

(even only listening to the last 15 min. gives you a good idea of his work and philosophy)



I wish there would be more entrepreneurs like Chouinard, we definitely need more of them!


I want to believe (like Tina Roth Eisenberg said) that (business) success can be built on respect, kindness and decisions that don’t always come down to money and that you don’t have to be ruthless and unethical in order to run a successful business.


PS. Maggie, sis, I think that’s the company where you should work – honestly! California, their cause and surfing is part of their working philosophy!


1 Comment

Filed under THIS&THAT


Have you seen those Thai commercials lately? They’re so touching…

I know it’s cheesy, it’s only commercials… but I’m such a softy – even commercials make my eyes wet. But I have to admit, those two are really well done..

In the rush of daily life we often forget what really matters,we forget about the simple things in life, these spots are good reminders so have a look


and this one, which is actually based on a real story



Have a great day!


Filed under THIS&THAT

Rejection letters

This one goes with my last post about daring to try must instead of should.

It’s just somehow comforting and exhilarant to read these rejection letters written to people we all know and who have succeeded nevertheless. Right? Especially when you’re struggling yourself in your life ..trying to find the right path.. and thinking that all your doing seems so futile…
“I love my rejection slips,” wrote Sylvia Plath. “They show me I try.”

I think those are my favorites

rejection letters


rejection letters_bono

🙂 Have a good one

Leave a comment

Filed under THIS&THAT

About the Crossroads of Should and Must

should must

This article about The Crossroads of Should and Must in our lives by the artist Elle Luna made me think… She just got to the heart of it.

I always envied – and still do – people who managed to make their live their living, who found their ‘calling’, their passion and managed to transform it into their work. I’m still on the search.. but it feels good to read people like Elle Luna and know that there are many others who feel just the same way.. lost… and who do what they do because they should and not because they must.

There are moments in our lives when you stop and think for a while, looking back and looking at your life at the very moment -with me it’s usually during a pregnancy, it seems – when a new paragraph seems to start in your life and you’re doing a summing-up, an analyse, rethink things.. life and you feel deep inside that somehow it’s not what it’s supposed to feel like.. something is missing..

I always knew how to pursue my dreams, Paris was the place of my dreams and here I am, on the top of that I have the most wonderful man by my side and the most gorgeous little boy I could ever dream of… I always wanted to be an architect, which I am.. only it turns out that my dream job is not really what I dreamt of and that’s where I’m stuck… I go on because that’s my job, that’s what I worked hard for, because I have a good and comfortable position and responsabilities.. but this can’t be the reason for ever.

“This is a story about two roads — Should and Must. It’s a pep talk for anyone who’s chosen Should for far too long — months, years, maybe a lifetime — and feels like it’s about time they gave Must a shot”


It sounds familiar?

Here a little excerpt:

Should is how others want us to show up in the world — how we’re supposed to think, what we ought to say, what we should or shouldn’t do. It’s the vast array of expectations that others layer upon us. When we choose Should the journey is smooth, the risk is small.

Must is different—there aren’t options and we don’t have a choice.

Must is who we are, what we believe, and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self. It’s our instincts, our cravings and longings, the things and places and ideas we burn for, the intuition that swells up from somewhere deep inside of us. Must is what happens when we stop conforming to other people’s ideals and start connecting to our own. Because when we choose Must, we are no longer looking for inspiration out there. Instead, we are listening to our calling from within, from some luminous, mysterious place.

Must is why Van Gogh painted his entire life without ever receiving public recognition. Must is why Mozart performed Don Giovani and Coltrane played his new sound, even as the critics called it ugly.Must is why that lawyer in his thirties spent three years writing his first novel only to be rejected by three dozen publishers. He honored his calling, eventually received a “yes,” and that is why John Grisham is a household name today. Must isn’t exclusively for writers and painters and composers, though. Must is why, in the early days, Airbnb sold boxes of cereal to make ends meet because no one would give them money and every conceivable metric said they should quit.” …..


..I like the advice about writing your own obituary

Roz Savage, a management consultant in London living “the big life” was 33 when she sat down and wrote two versions of her obituary:

The first was the life that I wanted to have. I thought of the obituaries that I enjoyed reading, the people that I admired… the people [who] really knew how to live,” she says. “The second version was the obituary that I was heading for — a conventional, ordinary, pleasant life. The difference between the two was startling. Clearly something was going to have to change… I felt I was getting a few things figured out. But I was like a carpenter with a brand new set of tools and no wood to work on. I needed a project. And so I decided to row the Atlantic.”


Thank you Elle.


should must 2


p.s. Love the graphics she uses to illustrate her words


Filed under THIS&THAT

A weekend in Essaouira, Marocco

The other week we took two days off, left Maxou with his grandparents and went for a long weekend to Essaouira, Morocco -as a last kidsfree vacation for probably quite a while and it was gorgeous!

It was a little bit like 3 days in paradise. In the middle of an oasis in Morocco, hot sunshine and blue sky, great food, lying at the pool, having a massage or one of  their other spoilings that our beautiful little hotel Jardin des Douars offered … perfect. The beautiful guest ksar (palace) how they call it, a little palace in traditional Moroccan style, is located in the heart of the Essaouira hills a couple of kilometres from the city. The rooms are spread all over the beautiful garden. It’s so calm and quiet and the friendliness of the people is just stunning (especially if you come right from Paris).




We started the day with a delicious breakfast at this terrace….


….and then either hang around the pool…


…had a facial, massage, hammam or whatever in their beautiful spa


..went to the city…

IMG_3496 IMG_3559IMG_3501

Essaouira is a rather small town in the west of Morocco at the atlantic coast. Its medina, historic center,  with its little streets full of beautiful things    is a Unesco word culture heritage. The region is known for its cultivation of Argantrees -they are basically everywhere you put your eye and their oil is used it for everything. Soaps, cremes, lotions but also for preparing their dishes. All the beauty treatments at our hotel were done with it. Of course I covered myself with a few bottles 🙂 I love it, it makes your skin and hair all smooth.



A beautiful place that I can highly recommend if you’re looking like us for some chill days in a beautiful, warm place to pamper yourself a little bit .)

Leave a comment




The other weekend we went out for dinner and tried this restaurant and were quite impressed: MANGER. So I wanted to recommend it if you’re in Paris looking for a nice spot for dinner or lunch.


…in the middle of the room they have this ‘glass cage’  where they prepare all the delicieus desserts (and their cake by metre) which can be seen, admired and desired (and ordered) by everybody who walks by – very clever .)

The atmosphere is really nice, you don’t feel all squeezed like so often in Paris’ restaurants and the food (not only) looks good…

and tastes delicious! (I had Noix Saint Jacques rôties, purée de bettraves blanches, navets, boule d’or, poires, radis – Noix Saint-Jaques on a purée of wite beets with slices of radish and pears. Hmmmmmmm)

It’s close to Bastille, in an animated district with lots of bars around. don’t forget to make a reservation.




Have a great weekend! We’re heading to Morocco for 3 days to have a first since almost two years and last almost kidsfree (we’re still taking one-half with us .) all-relaxing weekend for probably a looong time 🙂






Leave a comment


Tables four two

We were thinking lately to get Maxou a little table and on his own to draw and amuse himself but we don’t want any of that basic children furniture that you find everywhere, most probably in plastic and in yelling colors ….

So I stumbled over this tables set – quite original and stylish.

Not sure if it’s really very practical with little kids but I definitely like it!

Tables for 2-Sheree

and en plus, it doesn’t take much space…

Tables for 2-Sheree2

….and once they’re grown you can still use it….

Tables for 2-Sheree3Tables for 2-Sheree4












Tables four two by Sheree B Design



Spring is here- at least according to the calendar

I love this time of the year when everything seems to be waking up and putting on its beauty…


“Quiero hacer contigo lo que la primavera hace con los cerezos.

– I want to do with you what spring does with cherry trees.”

                     Pablo Neruda


Cherryblossom_Ark TuiKyoto, Japan

2 Cherryblossom_Marcel Bednarz2

2 Cherryblossom_Marcel BednarzGermany

3 Cherryblossom_NavidBaraty

3 Cherryblossom_NavidBaraty2USA Japan

1 Ark Tui

2 Marcel Bednarz

3 Navid Baraty

Leave a comment

Filed under PHOTO, THIS&THAT

Spring (..or almost summer)

How true is this chart!? It’s exactly what happened today! least here in Paris with 20 degrees celsius…

seasons of those sunny everything-is-possible and life-is-so-georgous days, right? At least, that’s how I felt .)


Leave a comment

Filed under THIS&THAT

Beautiful (more or less) abandoned places II

This abandoned outdoor movie theater in the Desert of Sinai looks just stunning…so surreal

abandoned theater

All this thanks to a crazy frenchman..and thinking that no single movie was ever screened at the End of the World Cinema…

abandoned theater2

The Estonian photographer Kaupo Kikkas made those beautiful shots of this isolated place.

And those striking beautiful pictures by Andrew Newey of honey hunters in Nepal.
The Gurung honey hunters risk they life every year to gather honey from the world’s largest honeybee, an ancient tradition that goes back to hundreds of years.



Aren’t they just breathtaking?


Leave a comment

Filed under THIS&THAT