Monday, March 8, 2010

International Women's Day!

Julie Hullinger, a true girlfriend, was recognized
by elan woman for her charitable work and enormous
Zhane Richer and Celine Dion, both amazing givers!

Cindy McCain, who graced our Sept/Oct 09 cover,
a true humanitarian and advocate for things that
aren't necessarily "fashionable"

Annie Frehner, our courageous Fall 08 covergirl,
whose personal beauty is beyond skin deep.

At elan woman magazine, we honor International Women's Day today - a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. In honor of this, we will celebrate our own evolution with our 4th Anniversary Party! Thank you, to ALL of the women and men who have supported our our journey!

Monday, February 15, 2010

So many photos, so little space

The anniversary issue of elan woman will feature the event, Project Gratitude. But we had so many photos, we wanted to share a few of our favorites here...

More Project Gratitude Photos...

The women, who refer to themselves as the “widows,” are bound by a single moment that changed the course of each of their lives forever. I had the privilege to be in their presence and experience their undying commitment to their country, their families, and the memory of their husbands.

And so, if only for a brief moment, a generous group of partners came together to lay down the red, white, and blue carpet, and offer up a five-star experience to honor these women.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

FOX News & Project Gratitude

FOX News co-anchor, Gretchen Carlson, tells the story of Project Gratitude, an event created by Sharlene Hawkes (Remember My Service) and Darci Hansen (elan woman) to honor and celebrate 22 widows and daughters of fallen soldiers.

From Las Vegas, Gretchen shares their stories and catches a glimpse of the surprises planned for the ladies leading up to attending the 2010 Miss America Pageant.

Catch the story Friday, Feb. 5th at 8:15am Eastern on cable FOX News.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Donny & Marie host Project Gratitude

Despite the bad weather conditions across the country, all 22 mothers and daughters of Project Gratitude arrived safely in Las Vegas yesterday - a group of women who are incredibly strong, courageous, and inspiring.

Last night we were the guests of Donny & Marie. In a touching moment on stage, Donny honored the women and the ultimate sacrifice they (and their husbands) have paid. Marie, literally in tears (who was also very ill but insisted on performing for the women) spoke directly to the ladies, sharing her perspective of the peace that must exist in knowing their children had fathers of integrity and commitment. We all were in tears.

After the event, Donny invited us all backstage where he spent an amazing about of time with each of the little girls, took photos (including my famous 'ta da' shot - photos coming), and created the additional time to simply console one of the daughters whose emotional loss was a bit much to bear last night.

I haven't slept now in about 48 hours, my brain is busy processing every minute of my time with them to make it exception, but also playing out the scenarios of their lives. I have been blessed to have a life full of diversity and variety not only of opportunity, but of people. I have beautiful friends whom serve our military. But I have never experienced the profound bond of those wives of fallen soldiers...the "widows" as they refer to themselves. They encircle each other with a cloak of love and compassion that I just can't describe. What a gift to be with them this weekend!

Today, its off to Macy's for a shopping spree, make-overs, and lunch by the Capital Grill. elan woman will also shoot our March/April cover today! I will post photos later today....

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Project Gratitude

Here is the press release that was developed by TAPS for the event 'Project Gratitude.' Las Vegas here we come!

Military widows and daughters to be honored at

Miss America Pageant

TAPS/GYBN families offered royal treatment via ‘Project Gratitude’

Twenty-two bereaved widows and daughters of fallen military members will attend the Miss America pageant this weekend courtesy of a new initiative called Project Gratitude.

The women will travel from around the country courtesy of American Airlines to take part in pageant festivities at Planet Hollywood as well as a number of special events planned specifically for the mother-daughter affair. Activities will include attending the Donny and Marie show with backstage passes to meet the celebrities; make-over's and a shopping spree courtesy of Macy's; and attending formal affairs affiliated with the Miss America Organization.

The event was the idea of Sharlene Hawkes, 'Remember My Service' president and a former Miss America. With the assistance of Darci Hansen, Founder/Editor-In-Chief of Elan Woman magazine, the friends created 'Project Gratitude.'

"This is all about remembering the great service and ultimately, the great sacrifice that so many families make to preserve our way of life, and defend our liberties," said Hawkes. "Giving these women a royal weekend is the very least we can do for America's greatest treasures. I hope that we can make this a tradition."

The weekend will also include a full day at FINO, courtesy of the owner Alejandro Hormechea, and premiere stylists Andeen Rose-Clark and Zhane Richer (Celine Dion's personal hair stylist). Donating their time and space, all 22 moms and daughters will receive manicures, pedicures, make-up, and hair styles in preparation for the televised segment of the Miss America Pageant.

"I have been asked who is the official sponsor for the event and my response is, 'Two blondes with big hearts and generous friends.' said Hansen. "We simply wanted to do something to honor our military families. Our partners have enabled us to provide a fairytale event loaded with surprises and a lot of bling!"

Taking part in this type of experience is part of a long road of recovery which TAPS facilitates for any person who has lost a military loved one, regardless of the relationship to the deceased or the circumstances of the death. "The Project Gratitude organizers reached out to TAPS knowing our military survivors would benefit from a weekend of bonding and sharing a fun experience," said Elizabeth Kreft, TAPS Director of Communications. TAPS is a network of more than 25,000 mothers, daughters, sons, and fathers who have lost loved ones in military service.

Got Your Back Network provides children of fallen soldiers the opportunity to interact with our country's most talented leaders.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Do Something...

The winter issue of elan woman, our annual Tribute to Men, features inspiring stories of gentlemen whose creative talents and generous hearts make the world a better place. Our cover, Barton Brooks, is one of those men who, where ere he roams, he does matter great or small. What are you doing?

In a time of need, Barton, along with others like him, are finding ways to assist those in Haiti. We all may not have the means or ability to hop a plane, but we can support the endeavor. Might we suggest, if you are wanting to assist the thousands of people crying for help in Haiti, that you take a moment and donate to a worthy cause? BE CAUSE 
48 hours after the quake 12 year old Louigene gets her first medical care for lacerations.. the hospital staff operating outside for fear of aftershocks. (Photo by Ann Curry)

"There are three kinds of people: Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who ask, 'What happened?'"
--Casey Stengel 

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Inspiration...

While at a holiday gathering, my friend, Dawn McLain, was telling me about Mike Cass, owner of Tunex, in southern Utah. He is just one of the faces that make up the charitable landscape of people who are always looking out for others first. His gift to a family in need was selfless and I thought appropriate to share his example, especially this time of year:

"Inspiration, is what Mike Cass and the staff at Tunex in southern Utah are all about. In these tough economic times, he feels like everyone can use a little bit of it in their everyday life, and he’s more than happy to be the one to share it. Tunex presented a young couple and their two daughters with a vehicle that they were in great need of in their First Ever Tunex Car Giveaway. Team Tunex distributed nomination forms at local businesses throughout are area for people to nominate people they felt were deserving of a vehicle and why. Once the nominations were collected, the St. George Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors evaluated them and chose the winners – Brett and Teryl Davis, who received their car on 11/11/2009. For Mike, giving the car away was just the right thing to do. “As a business owner, I feel a responsibility to the community. With the economy today, people are scared. Business owners need to step in and help out, and to promote positive change so that we can get out of the negative cycle. Sure, we could have sold the car and made some money, but we thought we’d change someone’s life instead. It’s a no-brainer.”
I asked Mike what spurred his interest in cars. “…My Mom was a single parent working 2 jobs to feed her kids. We really didn’t have money for a new car, or to maintain the old one we had. As the car became less and less reliable, we worried more and more about her safety coming home late at night. The fact was, there were plenty of times that us kids ate, but she didn’t, so that she could save money to get her car repaired. Many of the repairs we needed were because we could not afford the proper maintenance on the car. It was then that I decided that no one should be in that position, no less a single parent. So, I educated myself, and have been in the car business all my life. I look at our customers the same way I look at my Mother, as family. I want to keep them all safe.”

Friday, December 11, 2009

Willa Shalit Makes Appearance on Martha Stewart

VIDEO: The women weavers from the Village Kiyombi, Rwanda, provided Lee Lysne and myself with a passionate welcome that I will never forget.

Today the lovely Willa Shalit, Founder of Fair Winds Trading, will make an appearance on the Martha Stewart Show. Her relentless efforts to connect the Rwandan women weavers of Gahaya Links with global partners is changing lives from all perspectives. Not only are the women receiving educational assistance on issues like financial sustainability, health, and personal hygiene, but Willa's injection of the entrepreneurial spirit has empowered village weavers to provide their families with a level of confidence and security they hadn't known before.

The footage you will see on Martha Stewart was shot during my journey to Rwanda with Willa this year.

To learn how you can participate in supporting the efforts of these amazing and talented weavers, tune in to Martha Stewart.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


The holiday's provide a magical opportunity to gather our loved ones and create some much needed quality time. Thanksgiving offers the brilliance of the fall, the celebration of the harvest, and the excitement of the Macy's Parade!

From the time I was old enough to wear black patent shoes, my mother and grandmother had me toddling through the doors of Macy's on that long awaited Friday morn. Traditionally, it was then and not one day sooner, that one's eyes would catch the first glimpse of Christmas. The lights, the colors, the Santa's, the sales! For as long as I can remember, Black Friday was always a day spent with the most splendid ladies in my life taking in the magic of the holiday.

Today I carry on this tradition with my own daughters. However this year was truly exceptional - we spent Thanksgiving in New York City. The entire family enjoyed the 83rd Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. A year hasn't gone by that I haven't caught at least a glimpse of this historic event on television. While sitting along Central Park Ave. watching the thousands of people marching, dancing, twirling, singing, and jump-roping down the street, I couldn't suppress the excitement of being a part of something as historical as the Macy's Parade.

Black Friday was no different. We lined up at 4:45am in Herald Square, on Broadway and 34th Street. Here stands NYC's most iconic location for shopping - Macy's Department Store. Built in 1902, Macy's Herald Square is their flagship department store and one of the last turn-of-the-century department stores in existence. As we entered with a few other thousand, we were welcomed by yet another icon of NYC...the Rockettes!

The experience was similar to playing out a movie, or living a dream - much like the splendor of being a child during Christmas. While flying home I was able to search the net (wifi at 37,000 feet is a technological miracle) and discovered that Macy's has put together a holiday program for children, "Believe," benefiting the Make a Wish Foundation. Based on the response from a letter to the editor of a New York paper, the everlasting expression, "Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Clause," Macy's created a variety of charitable and educational components via their website to allow children the experience of giving, creating, and celebrating this magical time of year.

This holiday, make your own magical moments with your family and friends. Make memories. Make a difference. Do both. But whatever you do, "BELIEVE" that dreams can and do come true!


Top: "Believe" balloon from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Middle: My daughter's Amy and Kylee with the Rockettes at 5:01am on Black Friday.

Bottom: Terry Lundgren, Macy's President & CEO, speaks to the press.