Author Archives: Julie Croghan
“Woman of the Week”
C A R R I E K I N G S L E Y
I offer you proof that Carrie Kingsley deserves a medal: I called to interview her one morning when she was home alone with her three young children Maya (9), Ryan (7) and Dylan (3). She was also doing last-minute packing for a family camping trip. I would have been frantic, yet she was calm, collected, warm and open to my questions. No kids arguing in the background, no rushed tone in her voice, pausing briefly just once to listen to a child and tend to their need (proving she had not locked her children in the basement, as I was beginning to suspect.) In fact, you could hear from her tone that she had a smile on her face all the while. Incredible. Yes, let’s give this woman a medal. How about Santa Cruz Socialites’ Woman of the Week? Congratulations, Carrie Kingsley!
Carrie is a local, who grew up in Aptos and currently lives in Santa Cruz. She is an intelligent woman with an impressive education and resume. She graduated from Santa Clara University and was the Web Content Manager for Netflix (and held a similar position for other companies). The last several years, she has calmed down her professional life to focus on raising her three children. She still is active with freelance work and has just joined our team at Santa Cruz Socialites. We are thrilled to have her. Be sure to keep an eye out for her upcoming pieces.
Carrie is a triathlete, and when she met her now-husband, they were so busy racing it took them a month to go on their first date. Health and fitness are important to their family. Her kids are involved in a variety of athletic pursuits, including soccer, running and junior guards. The family just recently ran their first race together. Carrie coaches her kids’ teams and says that she is hoping to help guide her children towards a positive body image and a desire to be physically healthy, emotionally healthy, and in healthy relationships. There is so much pressure today, especially on girls, to look a certain way, and Carrie hopes we can teach our girls to be confident, healthy and strong whatever their body type or size.
Carrie is active in the community and involved her children’s schools. She currently serves on the board of directors for her son’s preschool, and is an active member of the parent organization at Bay View Elementary. Carrie makes genuine connections wherever she goes. A prime example is her connection with Monica Karst, the founder of Santa Cruz Socialites. These two lovely ladies are neighbors. I find it refreshing, in a world with too many fences and too much isolation, that these women reached across the property lines and became friends, but I’m not surprised. That’s who they are, women who value family, friendship, connection, and our wonderful Santa Cruz community. And their neighborhood, because of their attitude and that of several other families, has become a tight-knit little community, the kind where people know each other and neighborhood barbecues happen.
Carrie is also evidently a very creative person. She told me she finished roughing out her first novel and was smoothing out the edges, when inspiration struck and she set it aside to begin work on her second. She also enjoys being creative in other ways. She built several pieces of her family’s furniture. She loves showing her kids that they can make creative things out of practically nothing and watching their own ideas bloom. She also enjoys smashing the gender stereotypes by being a mom who enjoys power tools.
I have a theory that those who effect the most positive change in themselves and in the world dream big and move with clear intention. Carrie has made the decision to be healthy, to be creative, to be strongly connected with her family and community and she has not just dreamed about these things. She has taken the everyday, simple little acts of intention to make these things a reality. I hope we are all not just inspired by her. I hope we are moved by her. Kudos to you, Carrie Kingsley, Santa Cruz Socialites, Woman of the Week!
“Woman of the Week”
S A L L Y K A N E
Sally Kane wears many hats: mother to Kyle (22) and Kevin (20), cancer survivor, friend, hospice volunteer, marathoner, massage therapist (specializing in cancer massage), Santa Cruz Cities Sister Cities committee member and host, substitute teacher, member of the Santa Cruz Downtown Association, and co-owner of the amazing Food Lounge. Now, the Santa Cruz Socialites would like to bestow another hat on her. We want to recognize her strength, compassion and hard work for our community and bestow on her the crown of W.O.W (Woman of the Week)!
I recently spoke with Sally for the first time. She is truly a great woman with an amazing story. I feel totally out of my league in trying to write a profile piece on her, like a third grade art student trying to paint an elaborate portrait, so instead of the usual bio, I’m trying for impressionism. I thought I’d share with you the seven life lessons that I took (indirectly) from our conversation, which I believe Sally lives, resulting in her tremendous personal growth and accomplishment.
Be fully alive. A dear friend gave Sally this advice on her 40th birthday, “Come alive.” Sally has embraced life. She has not been afraid to take risks, stretch herself beyond her comfort zone, change paths when necessary, step outside others’ expectations. She has not succumb to passive living. Just a few examples include her 2011 Portland marathon to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, her dedication in traveling and searching out the very best massage techniques for cancer patients, and her recent bold decision to open the Food Lounge (with Cat Hernandez and Andrea Mollenauer).
Find out who you are and what’s meaningful to you. Another piece of advice Sally received from a friend on her fortieth birthday.. Has she been a seeker? Absolutely. Is she done with the search or the process of becoming a better person? Nope. She has not quit trying new things or learning from others.
Pain and adversity will reveal and refine you. Sally doesn’t subscribe to the notion that “things happen for a reason,” but she does believe that pain and adversity, when faced and worked through, can reveal and transform you. Sally is a survivor of Hodgkin Lymphoma. Cancer was life altering for her in many ways. She also found her 2011 marathon to be cathartic, in some ways reminding her of her cancer experience. These are the big, obvious examples, but Sally seems to have also taken other bumps in the road of life and found opportunities to grow.
Authentically connect with family, friends, community. My conversation with Sally was sprinkled with references to the relationships she so clearly enjoys. She is proud mom to Kyle and Kevin. She enjoys many close friendships, but she also seems to be continually forging connections, some pretty unlikely. She has been a part of the Santa Cruz Sister Cities program and has traveled to Shingu, Japan leading four different student delegations. She has also connected at a deep level with those she has met in her volunteer work at hospice and her massage clients. Through hospice and massage she connects with others on a deep level and has a way of bringing walls down in the gentlest ways. She has deep respect for people and their stories.
I found Sally to be warm, kind, genuine, and really open-hearted to me, a stranger, with no pretenses or airs. She mentioned that training for her volunteer work with hospice she learned to be fully present to people and to have a complete interaction during each encounter, not leaving anything on the table for tomorrow, because tomorrow is never guaranteed.
Give back to your community. Sally is a huge asset to our community. She does so much, but I’ll just give a few examples. As a massage therapist, she studied and specializes in massage for cancer patients and others experiencing pain. She volunteers with Hospice. She is a substitute teacher. With Team in Training, both as an honoree and a participant. She is up for election for the Downtown Association Board of Directors, advocating for Downtown Santa Cruz businesses and promoting the downtown for all to enjoy, and she is co-owner of the Food Lounge, which serves as an incubator kitchen for talented local chefs and food purveyors, musicians, and artists. The Food Lounge also serves as a gathering place for local events and charities.
Celebrate. Sally enjoys local food, music, art and community and the Food Lounge is a perfect place to pull it all together and celebrate. The Food Lounge is fast becoming known as an incubator for local chefs, artists, musicians, as well as an place to hold charity events or community gatherings. Sally mentioned with pride that her son Kyle’s photography will be gracing the walls of the Food Lounge this month (and also her business partner’s son Wesley’s photography.) Come down and check it out, eat some delicious food from local chefs and meet Sally. scfoodlounge.com
Thank you, Sally, for your inspiration and for being a true gift to our community. Wow, we are so happy to know you. Congratulations, Sally Kane, woman of the week.
“Woman of the Week”
H E A T H E R B O N D S
There are women who capture the attention of any room they walk into. Beauty certainly helps, but there is much more to it than that. They walk into a room, confident and self-possessed. These women exude a radiance of spirit. Their smiles are genuine and contagious. You look at these women and think, I want whatever it is that she has, that certain je ne sais quoi. This doesn’t happen as often as we’d all hope. We all want to be that woman, and want our daughters to be these women. Part of Sprouting Hope’s mission is to create that kind of confidence and spirit in our girls, but more about that later. Now, I want to introduce you to our Woman of the Week, Heather Bonds.
When I met Heather at a Sprouting Hope event, it was obvious to me that she was one of these rare, wonderful women. She listened intently to what the other women were saying, but when she opened her mouth to speak, we all leaned in. She is that dynamic. She shared her story as a single mom of two beautiful little girls, Kalia (6) and Kiana (8), and how she is embracing life with them. They are her motivation and her reward.
Heather has shifted her world, altered her career, to be more present to her daughters and also to offer an example of how to grab life by the reins. Now, instead of the busy real estate career, Heather spends her days at a variety of things that offer her more flexibility and fuel her passions. She is the director of advertising and sales for our very own Santa Cruz Socialites, a job she loves. She is also the primary advisor as the Director of Operations for the Sprouting Hope Project, another amazing endeavor she feels privileged to be a part of. As if that were not enough, she also feeds her creative side by modeling in photo shoots and runway shows. She occasionally can be found in the kitchens of the Food Lounge, because playing with food is another passion. She also teaches surf lessons. Yes, that is a job, one that she loves immensely. You may be tired just reading this, but Heather somehow seems to be only further energized, engaging in all these endeavors.
Heather is not, however, the least bit frantic. She has that rare ability to slow down and embrace the simple moment. She doesn’t have cable, because she’d rather spend time at the beach with her girls, raise monarch butterflies with them, go on adventures, golf, get them playing a sport. It’s the little things. It is very, very important to her that she not waste the precious gift of time. Heather delights in her girls and in the jaw-dropping beauty of our little corner of the world. She is a third generation Santa Cruz native, she says with obvious pride.
While enjoying the present moment and those closest to her, Heather also has an eye to the future and compassion for those falling through the cracks, which is why this busy, busy woman volunteers so much of her time and talent, with the Sprouting Hope Project. She and her dear friend Monica Karst, both single moms of daughters, were not content to simply help their own precious daughters navigate through life. They saw the next generation of young girls, with so much potential, who needed just a little mentoring, support, encouragement, and a few practical skills to flourish. They knew not every girl gets this kind of support and they were not going to sit back and watch these other girls wilt. She joined Monica and they rolled up their sleeves and planted the first seeds of Sprouting Hope. Others have joined them and this beautiful project is already growing and flourishing. They are busy “inspiring big dreams for little girls,” and working to turn those dreams into realities. We expect that it’s going to be powerful in our community, as these dreams start to flower. Find Sprouting Hope on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sproutingphopeproject?fref=ts.
As Oscar Wilde said, “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” One brief conversation with Heather Bonds had me wondering…. if I’ve had fun today….if I’ve done work that is satisfying, creative, and a positive force for the world….if I’ve embraced my children today, both physically and spiritually….if I love myself and value my time. That, Heather Bonds, sums up why you are Woman of the Week. We thank you for inspiring us all to be better.
“Woman of the Week”
A I M E E P O O L
I first met Aimee Pool when she volunteered to photograph me, as Woman of the Week, for the Santa Cruz Socialites. Well, I didn’t feel worthy to be Woman of the Week and I felt very anxious about posing for a photo. I’m very camera shy and notoriously unphotogenic, but Aimee put me immediately at ease with her genuinely warm, kind personality. Before I knew it, we were chatting like old friends, and when she picked up her camera and began shooting, I was at ease.
When I received the proofs, I cried (in a good way) because the pictures reflected beauty that I have a hard time seeing in myself, and yet they were perfectly me. They were the first photos of myself that I liked in ten years. It was an incredible gift.
Aimee says she was drawn to volunteer as a photographer for the Woman of the Week project with the Santa Cruz Socialites because she loved the idea of celebrating and promoting women in the community. She knew that the women highlighted were likely to be the givers and producers in our community, business women, entrepreneurs, volunteers, moms, who were driven to give, and give, and give, who probably rarely take time for themselves. She wanted to celebrate them, to show them how beautiful they are, outwardly as well as inwardly.
Aimee’s photography business, Aimee Pool Photography (aimeepoolphotography.com) is thriving, but she is adamant that she wants it to be more than just a business. For her clients and herself, she wants to keep the joy and passion alive, to keep the art alive. She does this by taking her time on each project, and by participating in volunteer projects. She has a passion for celebrating women, so she reached out to the Santa Cruz Socialites and volunteered to shoot for our W.O.W project. She also has a passion for animals, and has used her photography to promote animal adoption. Other projects she has been involved in are photos of seniors with their pets, and end of life photography. She is so modest that it is hard for Aimee to talk about herself, but I stalked her facebook page www.facebook.com/AimeePoolPhoto and saw she does a lot of volunteer work. She has also recently been involved in shooting adoption stories which she didn’t even mention to me. She is not one to toot her own horn.
Her primary focus has been newborn, maternity, and motherhood photography. She says mothers often bring their newborn babies in for a session and Aimee encourages them to let themselves be photographed with the baby. Aimee wants to capture those precious and very fleeting moments. She says most women protest that they are unphotogenic or not pretty enough to be in the photos and it takes some encouraging. It is a great joy of hers to get them into the photos and capture their beauty and the love they have for their baby. I’m sure the women are touched to the core when they receive the photos, just as I was. Putting yourself in front of the camera takes trust, and Aimee proves herself worthy of that trust.
Aimee herself is shy of the red carpet treatment. Aimee protested that she did not want the attention of being our Woman of the Week, and did not feel worthy of the honor. We seriously had to push this woman behind the lens in front of the spotlight and I hope that in the same way that her photos reflect beauty back to the subject, I hope that this spotlight will show Aimee that she is absolutely worthy to be celebrated. She was clear that she didn’t need or desire for the Santa Cruz Socialites to give her credit for her photos or promote her business in any way, but we really feel that such a modest and giving spirit deserves a little celebration.
Aimee’s photography is gorgeous. I laughed that I bought an expensive camera, but had no idea what to do with the settings, and Aimee does have the equipment, experience, knowledge of beautiful scenery, clothing and props, and editing to make for gorgeous photos, but it is obvious to me that her photography is so much more than that. Good photography can be accomplished with those things, but great photography requires an eye for beauty and Aimee has that. She specializes in organic photography, which reaches beyond clothing, hair and makeup, etc to capture the soul of her muse, the blessed moment, the beautiful relationship between her subjects. Wow, she does it.
Aimee deserves to be celebrated as an artist, but no less, she is also an inspiration as a wife and mother. Faith, family, and kindness are the values that drive Aimee. She modestly told me it is her husband Reggie who should be celebrated, proudly mentioning how he and a few others have been bringing high tech to Baymont students through the Makers Club (and I say, behind every great man, there is a great woman.) She has two beautiful daughters, Kinley (11) and Hadley (9). She is raising kind, conscientious daughters, which is a huge task and an amazing accomplishment. We thank Aimee for her work in raising the kind of young women that our community needs. Kinley and Hadley, perhaps future Santa Cruz Socialites, will surely do great things with their lives with such a mother cheering them on.
Aimee Pool’s work and, indeed, her worldview is one of celebrating the love, kindness, truth and beauty that we all hold and that is all around us. That is why we are spotlighting Aimee Pool as our W.O.W- Woman of Week. Congratulations Aimee!