Posts in the ‘Inspiring Women’ Category

Donna Karan & Me!

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Alisa and Donna Karan at SF Ballet Saks Fifth Avenue fashion show

Can you guess who I am talking to here in this photo? YES – It is me and Donna Karan! She is such an amazing woman and it was wonderful to get to talk to her last month in San Francisco. I first met Donna Karan at an event almost 20 years ago and I remember walking into the cocktail party in Las Vegas and noticed that there were only 2 people in the room wearing tennis shoes – me and Donna Karan. (At least mine were Paladiums I had picked up in Monaco…and I remember hers were white canvas sneakers that looked utterly perfect with her ensemble.)

Fast forward all these years and this time I actually got to speak with her about her incredibly talented late husband, Stephan Weiss, and the work she is doing to continue to share his artistic works. (He designed her very first perfume bottle if you remember…) We also talked at length about the phenomenal work she and her team are doing in Haiti. You may have noticed that her recent ad campaigns were all photographed on location in Haiti. Donna was wearing this fabulous dress for the occasion and the fabric was designed by Haitian artists and the incredibly cool black leather and wood jewelry she was wearing was also made in Haiti. And the white leather jacket on her shoulders was amazing too I might add. I mentioned my love of shopping for a good cause and she reminded me of the work she and her team are doing through her Urban Zen Foundation. Check out their website to learn more.

I wanted everything Donna was wearing and even more I wanted her passion, fearlessness and love of life. Donna Karan – the mom, the grandmother, the wife, the artist, the business tycoon, the philanthropist – she is an incredible inspiration to us all.

Donna Karan and girls at SF Ballet Saks fashion show

So here are me and the girls with gorgeous Donna in the middle. We are at the Ritz Carlton for the Donna Karan fashion show benefitting the San Francisco Ballet. The collection was amazing, the food delicious and it was great to be able to support such a wonderful cause as the ballet.

Huge thank you to Drew Altizer Photography for the great pics and to my friends Rhonda and Lillian for inviting me to join them for the lovely afternoon in the city.

The Giving Keys

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

the giving-keys-custom-key-charms

When you purchase a custom made key necklace from The Giving Keys you are asked to give it away at some point to a person who you feel needs the message on the key. It will hopefully travel from keeper to keeper, collecting stories and inspiring people. I love that each and everyone of them is different and every key has its own story to tell. You select a word that is meaningful to you and they will take care of the rest. The Giving Keys employs homeless women and men to create these wonderful one of a kind charms. These jobs help them unlock the opportunity to get off the streets and lead a better life. It is amazing to read the stories on their website, and hear first hand how these keys have made a transformational impact on people’s lives.

ModeWalk & Samasource

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012


Yesterday afternoon I was certainly one lucky girl. I was invited (thank you Rhonda!!) to attend a ModeWalk trunk show in Los Altos Hills where a portion of proceeds benefitted Samasource. I was so excited because I have been a huge fan of Modewalk from the time they launched and all of the gorgeous clothes and accessories they have in their online showrooms. In addition, I had recently read an article about Samasource and was totally inspired by the great work they had been doing all over the world. And behind each of these organizations are super smart, super chic women. Love that!


Do you love fashion? Do you wish you could pop over to Paris for a little shopping trip? “ModeWalk is for the woman who treats her closet as a collection.” What I love about ModeWalk is that they celebrate the people behind the clothes – the designers, the seamstresses, and the muses who inspire them. The ModeWalk shopping experience is different because you feel like you actually get to meet the creative minds behind the impeccable designs and creations. Just one click and you are off to Paris!


Samasource enables companies to save money and time and do good at the same time. Who doesn’t want to do that? They also bring hope, pride and a livelihood to people who are smart and driven – they just need the opportunity to demonstrate the value they can bring. Samasource’s mission is to bring dignified, computer-based work to women, youth, and refugees living in poverty.


Leila Janah and her team have already created jobs for people all over the world and are partnering with top corporations to prove that this idea is one that works. Please check out their website to learn more, to be inspired and to see how you can help.



Tuesday, February 7th, 2012


In 1998, Lee Rhodes, glassybaby creator and founder, was raising her three small children and fighting what would become a 7-year battle with a rare form of lung cancer. She fell in love with these fabulous hand blown glass vessels and the way they radiated light with a simple tea candle and added color and cheer to any table. Over the next few years, Lee learned to blow glass and she created glassybaby. To Lee, these colorful vessels represented “that deep breath that we often forget to take.” The success of glassybaby has enabled the company to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to charities dedicated to health, healing and quality of life. Lee Rhodes is a true inspiration for us all.

Adrienne Maloof Stilettos

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Yes – I love RHOBH. I have very few TV shows that I have to watch and this is one of them. Gotta love an hour watching a bunch of stiletto wearing moms to get your mind off of reality…

I have a lot of respect for Adrienne Maloof because she was a hard-working mogul (and mom of three boys!) before her Housewives’ fame. The stiletto loving mom is now expanding her empire with her own Charles Jourdan shoe collection.

Adrienne’s shoes are now available for pre-order and are expected to ship sometime around December 5th. Rock your own inner Beverly Hills housewife and get some super high, super sparkly stilettos just in time for holiday party season.


Somaly Mam Fundraiser

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

somaly_mam foundation
Somaly Mam is an incredibly inspiring women. I heard her speak at Maria Shriver’s Women’s Conference a few years back and she brought me to tears. She was full of grace, determination and heart. She has done so much to help women and girls all over the world so that they do not have to suffer and endure the pain that she did as a young girl.

Somaly Mam travels all over to share her personal story of sexual slavery, and to raise awareness of human trafficking. Her foundation, The Somaly Mam Foundation works around the world to provide direct services for victims, advocacy, and outreach.


For those of you who live in or around New York City – please consider attending the Somaly Mam Foundation Fundraiser Gala on Thursday, October 20th. Help spread the word if you know friends who might want to go too.

If you aren’t in NYC, you can still help. Please visit to learn more.


Walk for Hope

Monday, May 23rd, 2011


Got plans on Saturday, June 4th? Why don’t you come to San Francisco and join the City of Hope’s San Francisco Walk for Hope. I am sure that every single person who is reading this knows someone (and many many people) impacted by cancer. My father is a cancer survivor (yeah!!) and I lost 2 grandmothers to the disease. The City of Hope has done amazing work to help bring an end to the disease and to treat and support those brave individuals who are battling it.

“City of Hope’s Women’s Cancers Program conducts innovative research to provide effective interventions for women with, or at risk for, breast and gynecological cancers,” said Joanne Mortimer, M.D., director of City of Hope’s Women’s Cancers Program. “We are grateful for the support our program has received through Walk for Hope, which enables us to provide a continuum of care from research to risk assessment, prevention, treatment, education and survivorship.”  In its 16-year history, Walk for Hope has raised more than $29 million for breast cancer research, treatment and education.


So grab all of your girlfriends and make a fun outing of the event and help support a great cause. Here is all the information you will need to register, volunteer or to simply donate to the cause.

And just in case you aren’t in San Francisco – there are also upcoming walks scheduled in Chicago, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Seattle, and Los Angeles.

Hanna Andersson

Mom Jewelry for Charity

Thursday, April 21st, 2011


Without a doubt, Jennifer Fisher makes some of the coolest ‘mom jewelry’ out there and it is worn by all of our favorite celebrities. What has drawn me to her collection is how you can combine the pieces together and incorporate them with your other baubles for a very cool look.  And, you don’t have to be on the cover of US Magazine to be able to wear her jewelry – you can place your order online. Jennifer sums up her philosophy like this: “The feeling I strive to create for my customers is a casual edge, one that will make them feel dressed and finished the moment they put on my jewelry no matter what they are wearing.”

By the way, her dog tags with black diamonds are one of my absolute favorites from her collection (in case my husband decides to read my post today…hint hint….)


Now add Christy Turlington Burns to the mix…As many of you know Christy has done amazing things to help women and mothers all over the world. Her organization, Every Mother Counts, is focused on supporting global maternal health. She has done so much to raise awareness and to help women everywhere. You can purchase the charm shown above from Jennifer Fisher Jewelry and $50 will go directly to supporting Ever Mother Counts. In my book, that means every mom wins..


Elizabeth Taylor

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011


As many of you have already read or heard today, Elizabeth Taylor has died. It is so sad for her family and friends. Obviously she was a huge huge star and will be forever remembered for her many passionate love affairs, her incredible support and dedication for raising money for AIDS research, and of course her acting prowess and star power. Personally, I will remember her love of jewelry. Many years back I purchased Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair with Jewelry. I love this book. It was actually the inspiration for me to write Sole Searching. I loved reading the fabulous stories behind her amazing jewelry collection and thought it would be fun to capture the stories behind my shoe collection. Of course I will pull Elizabeth Taylor’s wonderful book off the book shelf and place it on the top of the coffee table in the living room to pay homage to her. Maybe we should all buy ourselves a little bling in remembrance.

Linda Benenati Paintings

Sunday, March 6th, 2011


A few weeks ago I went out to dinner with my husband and son to a new restaurant in our little town of Saratoga, California. As soon as I walked in I immediately noticed a handful of paintings in the entryway that caught my eye. I was hungry and focused on my yummy panini and keeping my son from pouring salt all over the table for the next 40 minutes, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the enchanting paintings in the other room. And then there was the near meltdown because my son could not get You Tube to work on “his” iPad. It was a long dinner….

On the way out I convinced my husband to take my son outside so I could go back and enjoy these enchanting pictures again. I almost bought all 5 – but figured that would make for one very expensive panini! Instead I opted to email the artist. Long story short, and lots of schedule juggling later, we went to visit Linda Benenati at her home yesterday and had such a wonderful time in her magical abode. She was such a joy and such a wonderful hostess to me, my husband and our very curious 4 year old. We saw her studio and she explained how she creates her encaustic paintings. I knew nothing about the process and found her workspace quite a joy and a reminder that if you do what you love, you can make anything work.


As a mom, she shared so many words of wisdom with me to prepare me for the life I have ahead of me with my son. She was such a dear. I love her artwork and I hope you do too. Here are two of her encaustic paintings and you can see many more on her website. Why don’t you pick out one for yourself so I don’t buy all of them! You can support a mom who is following her dreams and passions and making the world a little more colorful along the way….