Cadillac Ranch and Other Roadside Attractions

July 16, 2014 at 3:35 pm (Art, Freedom, Letting go, Travel) (, , , , )

As I roll across the Southwest with the cruise control on I see incredible vistas and postcard colors all unfurl before me like a movie about my life I am starring in.

My first day driving alone finds me heading east on the 40 towards Amarillo Texas across the New Mexico sands. Beautiful reds, pinks and oranges abound in the deserts and cliffs under the hot sun.

Passing signs for Indian fry bread, moccasins and other assorted native American offerings I see a cliff with an assortment of tepees spread over the edge looking down on the gift shops below…Tepees I think? They were on the plains, shouldn’t there be a wigwam or a pueblo like the ones some families still lived in when I crossed this desert as a child?  Maybe some still do but certainly not a tepee in this climate.

I speed on down the road and finally cross into Texas with a feeling of accomplishment. I am now further away from California and closer to Pennsylvania my destination on this journey. This sense of freedom, of being alone with my own thoughts is very intoxicating.

20140520_165525Entrance onto the “ranch”.

Meanwhile at the Cadillac Ranch…20140520_165534This art installation was commissioned by an oil heir and produced by the art group Ant Farm in the 1970’s. It has stood the test of time as people flock to see and unusual sculpture and write their own message or paint their colors on the many layers. When I was there most of the tourists were French and enjoyed getting their pictures taken with the oddity.20140520_170238My message. After this I head to my host’s home for some country music as his band rehearses in the living room before a supper of grass grown local beef and spaghetti.Cal Worthington has some Caddies It really is quite beautiful to behold and sparks some interesting conversations.

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Life Lessons from…My Life.

February 2, 2014 at 8:57 pm (Art, Life skills or hacks, organized simplicity, Time management) (, , , , , , , , , , )

I haven’t posted any writing in a while as I have been learning the lessons in real life. I have an innate desire to go through life at a leisurely albeit productive pace. This isn’t always possible. Let me expound on this…

I am by nature an organized person, not Stephen Covey matching binder and datebook organized, but I know what I need to do and I know where my material things are to be found as could someone acting on my behalf.  I operate off of white board calenders and a Reagan Ranch desktop calender which is my dad’s. Our yard is well kept considering we have crazy free rein (more than range) hens and two fenced gardens in our backyard.  It is perhaps my mental file cabinet which needs a thorough sorting, filing and shredding.

I am the family big picture manager. It is a skill I take to naturally as well as a skill I have developed over many years running my own business as an artist as well as running a family and helping my elderly parents after they made some infamous financial faux pas. These faux pas naturally involved none other than less than optimum family members who will take everything you offer and more. Enough about them and on to my mental file cabinet which needs a thorough cleaning by Matt Paxton and Cory Chalmers Hoarders crew!

Now I can hear the productivity experts and coaches out there saying “oh but you need to write it all down so it isn’t stuck floating in your head.” That is a lovely thought but the fact is I generate ideas, concepts, solutions in my head first not in bubbles, or with stick figures or appendix lists. Those may work for you and that is awesome but this is about …ahem…me. I wake up at 4:00 am with new solutions, new questions and myriad new ways of looking at a long standing issue. No wonder I wake up after falling back asleep as if I have already put in half a day of work! Perhaps I should embrace the two shift sleeping habits of many great thinkers including my hero Benjamin Franklin? I used to split my time during the night to be able to create while my children, husband, clients slept. It worked quite well as few are available to interrupt your work at 2:00 am to 6:00 am. Others find it odd that I then sleep until 9:00 or 10:00 am and are convinced I must be an extreme layabout were it not for the many tasks, projects and creations completed.

So the lesson from my life is that I just need to re-accept my former sleep habits and know that really mind is doing what is does best at these hours…thinking.

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Recycled Gems and The Jeweled Butterfly Effect

May 27, 2013 at 8:34 pm (Art, Excellence in Business, gemstones and Jewels, Local Made, Remanufactured goods) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

This pair of earrings is made from a single emerald (once part of a pair of earrings) and a sapphire cabochon which was once a pinky ring. ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????The coins are early 20th century and the wires are handmade from recycled sterling. They can just as easily be two separate pendants on chains. I love the idea of quality jewels no matter the size as they are always worth remaking down the road. I must admit that this is nothing new for me…I was busted turning my mom’s presidential silver spoon collection into bracelets back in the 70’s. The JFK spoon was my favorite. I still occasionally turn a piece of random sterling flatware into a ring.

058 These tourmaline cabochons and slices were from three old tourmaline crystals in a collection given to me by a boyfriend. I didn’t learn to slice and cut them for a couple of years after I received them. A couple of them are drilled and now employed as pendants. The tourmalines were from Maine, USA.They were mined many many years ago so I am not impacting the environment today which adds to their beauty.

Mining in Sri Lanka

As you can see mining even in a primitive way disrupts the natural landscape in ways that are rarely if ever reversed. This is my small contribution to the land which has given us so many gems and with the advent of the shopping channels has been scraped, dug, and tunneled to provide even low grade commercial stones so that every price point from Walmart on up is covered.

By using antique and mid century Italian coral instead on newly harvested I am not part of the problematic issue of over consumption of precious corals.  This dependence on vintage and previously manufactured has its limits on being able to produce commercial quantities of my art and frankly I am A-OK with that. One of a kind has always been my niche and small collections based on some locally sourced vintage beads or gems makes my creative process stretch and grow in ways that having a mainstream supply does not.

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This is another reason I recycle. I am not interested in low grade gems. I try to work with quality even if small gems and rarely use gems which are irradiated or dyed or stabilized.  I love jewelry and all that it stands for so it is important to me that my jewelry share my ethics of respecting the planet and the humans who inhabit this planet. Jewelry means many things from religious or spiritual beliefs to love, affection, ancestry and as a symbol of wealth, fashion, style and energy. Respecting the process means respecting those meanings which people assign to their gems and jewels.

Ask where your jewelry comes from and why?

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How to be a Non Consuming Consumer…and look good doing it!

May 20, 2013 at 9:50 pm (Art, Eating Nature, Excellence in Business, Freedom, gemstones and Jewels, Health, Letting go, Local Made, LoVe, Polo, Remanufactured goods, Sailing, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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My own lifestyle often sparks my deepest thoughts.

I love quality well prepared food.

I love beautiful well made clothes.

I love learning new things.

J’adore bijouterie! That’s French for I LOVE jewelry (and gems).

I also love the planet and all of us on it…well most of us.

I love the creatures and the flora.

…and so I strive to live in harmony with these values. How do I do that you may wonder (work with me here I know you may not really care), well let me break it down for you.

I grow some of my organic  food such as Persian melons as they are hard to come by organic and buy at farmer’s markets organically grown and my local Windmill Farms neighborhood market. This helps limit what I buy at Bigbox inc. I like knowing my food is as fresh as I am and is employing my neighbors and compadres without coming from a hemisphere away and all the pollution that entails. I live in Southern California so we grow a ton of the food out there.

I regularly donate to the Amvets and Goodwill as well as shop there. I find some sweeet finds in USA made, Italian made and French made couture for a small fraction of what Mrs and Ms. Big buck$ paid for them and very often in near new condition. There are a zillion reasons why this is a score.

  1. I’m not paying full price.
  2. The reseller makes money to pay employees when I choose to buy there.
  3. I get to be the fashionista I was born to be…don’t judge I see you looking when I stroll by.
  4. I am not contributing to new sweat shop labor from major companies who source the cheapest available markets as well as freighters again crossing the seas leaving their oily ooze in their wake.
  5. I get to enjoy things for a season and then pass them on when I redonate them for the next lucky customer or gift them to adoring friends.

When I buy new clothes I buy from locally designed and made companies and individual designers. Here is why this is a major win/win.

Paul Rico

  • Locally made means more people locally working.
  • More local tax revenue.
  • I look amazingly stylish and not like everyone who bought this season’s offerings at Bigbox inc. or Massmall.
  • The clothes are designed with my specific area’s climate and lifestyle in mind…you know old school. I live in a temperate climate (or until global warming bakes us all I do) and I need cool breathable clothes for days and layers for early mornings and evenings. I live in a city on the Pacific ocean so beaches, boating, sailing, hiking in the mountains and desert and polo are all under an hour away.
  • The cost is not greater than many mainstream department store lines and yet surprise not made in a sweatshop in Bangladesh or China but here in my neck of the woods often by the designers themselves. Major win!
  • They don’t travel far at all. Often under fifteen minutes by car or 45 minutes by public transportation. Less global warming more great weather.
  • When I choose to give them to a friend or local thrift store they will be treasured as the gems they are and snapped up again by savvy shoppers.

Last year I went to a variety of sailing schools to learn to competently sail a yacht or dingy. I spent a year learning something so new to me my brain ached and so did my body after very windy days…and I love it! Joining a local sailing club affords me discounts on my zero carbon hobby and allows me the ability to take friends out for a beautiful day too.

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This year I am learning to play polo. All new rules all new whole body workout and balance work at its finest. Another green sport played outdoors with other humans and horses all working in teams and cooperating while competing and learning on a fast curve…as my coach says you only leave the field one way if you ignore the rules…in an ambulance or life flight helicopter. I always want to play another day so I catch on quick!

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  1. I want the earth to live another day too so I strive to live in a way that enhances everyone’s opportunity to live another day in peace and prosperity.
  2. Hobbies that are green enhance everyone’s enjoyment.
  3. Workouts outside don’t need well lit air conditioned gyms, with bleached infused workout towels and chemical soaps (but if that makes you happy who am I to tell you how to get your sweat on) but for me that was a toxic way to work out and caused allergic reactions to the chemical cleaners. I am a canary.
  4. I don’t need to take vitamin D supplements as the sun is abundant even in the early morning.
  5. I get to wear my cowboy boots more often without line dancing.
  6. I meet and bond with players versus being next to people at the gym.

On the bijouterie front I remanufacture jewelry here in San Diego so I’m not adding to the issues of conflict minerals and mining slavery and injustices. I buy broken stones and recut them, I buy mining cast off parcels of rock and use water and grit to cut them. I recycle silver and gold to make the settings and I take buy backs from my clients. Here is why buying from your local remanufacturer versus the HSN or QVC is a planetary win.

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  • There are no conflict diamonds or rubies unless you are referring to the fact that your aunt wanted the ring grandma gave you. Want to preserve her legacy and make sure all the cousins have something from the family jewels. Break it up and make a charm using the stones for each or make earrings. The possibilities are only as finite as your imagination.
  • No additional stress on the planet from mining.
  • No sweatshop labor to cut the gems (sweatshop in my world is me on a hot August day).
  • No sourcing through dodgy governments or buying cartels who routinely abuse their citizens and your wallet.

So I’ve probably rambled on too long so I will release you dear reader with a question.

Are there easy ways you can lower your carbon footprint while also enhancing your individual life?

I would love to hear from you.

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Following Your Dream Without All the Baggage

April 29, 2013 at 7:53 pm (Art, Excellence in Business, Freedom, Local Made, organized simplicity, Relationships, Style, Travel) (, , , , , , , , , , )

A few years back when my then husband and I were doing trunk shows as vendors with Nordstrom we developed a philosophy of never checking our baggage. We needed to carry on the jewelry for obvious security reasons and being parents we never had an extra minute to spare in our 48 hour sales weekends. We would fly out of San Diego first flight on Friday, race to the rent a car location at our destination and find our way to the Nordstrom store in time to be set up and ready to sell when the doors opened. In this we were successful.

I had parents who, although somewhat supportive made it clear they did not want to be burdened with picking up our children and minding them while we were as they put it “gallivanting off somewhere”. My dad would drop us at the airport every other weekend and say “okay have fun on your vacation”. He was not being funny, I think he honestly thought we were flying out for fun and frolic.  Airport, rent-a-car, store, quick meal, hotel rinse and repeat then fly home. Not a whole lot of sightseeing going on unless you count how many rent-a-car kiosks or Nordstrom lunch rooms I have toured.

I had a leopard print chiffon over cotton sheath dress (remember the Debra McGuire style of the mid ninties)and heels (with a back up pair of Dr. Scholl’s sandals) and grey Anne Klein suit with golden blouse that were my uniform to show off my delicious jewels and maintain some sense of conservative decorum. One outfit on, one in the bag and my business partner cum husband just changed his skivvies, tie  and dress shirt. This time saving and aggravation saving philosophy saved us numerous hours and headaches. Many of our colleagues would travel as if they were heading to Europe for the season with steamer trunk size bags containing who knew what! I remember one occasion when one woman’s suitcase went to Chicago when we all went to Salt Lake City. She had nothing to change into and worse nothing to sell except her matrix, store owned merchandise. We cringed for her as she stood over her case of treasures pulling back stock to display up top and trying not to look like she came unprepared. She spent a small fortune on a new outfit to wear day two.

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Fast forward a few years and I had fired my partner (as sales rep and husband) and was preparing to leave for six months at a French business school. I brought my eighteen year old son along for the first couple of weeks for a vacation. He had a large backpack. I had a carry on bag and a backpack which contained my laptop, my zillion files and documents for the French government and my university. The carry on had all my clothes and shoes. I did not need to bring a lot since I was going to be in France the couture capital of the world (je suis desole NY c’est vraiment.)  I ended up shipping clothes home to avoid being a pack mule on my return that summer. Those early lessons in traveling light have always served me well.

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How does all this have anything to do with following your dream your ask? All of life is a journey…yes I know you know that…so with that in mind we need to carry on only…it just simplifies things allowing us to receive all the good things we deserve in life without being weighed down by the safe and known.

Happy travels.

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Can I be Green and a Fashion Lover?

April 22, 2013 at 8:20 pm (Art, Local Made, Remanufactured goods, Style, The decline of Civilization) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

The short answer is maybe.

Paul Rico

My ability to be green depends on some less trodden paths down which will make all the difference…

So as I focus on being a green fashionista I will continue to buy from local designers who make their clothes and accessories locally as well as shop my friends discards, thrift stores, consignment shops and swaps for charity. I m often complimented for my outfits and I believe selecting my clothes through time and space gives me greater freedom than just relying on what is new in the shops. This photo above is of myself and Paul Rico Fashion Week San Diego 2012 for Spring 2013. This is THE little black dress I ordered from Paul Rico who is an amazing local talent. I will post a photo of the one he made for me with a longer hem and made to fit my body not just a “size”. I can combine the latest and vintage for the look which can only be me. : )

Where is my fashion designed and manufactured? What types of safeguards are in place to minimize pollution in the creation process. Am I buying a pretty dress made in a not very pretty sweatshop employing humans who will never be able to afford this item and struggle to meet basic needs or was it made locally by independent artisans who determine their own working conditions? These are questions I want to ask at my favorite local boutique at home or when visiting another city.

That brings me to another thought. I like to buy things made in the area where I am. I don’t want to buy made in China in Paris, I want to buy made in China in China. I like to buy southern California made swimwear as the designers and manufacturers understand my lifestyle and how that one piece may become my top later at dinner with a wrap and a skirt.  My daughter bought me a beautiful cotton wrap while living in Thailand…they know sarongs.

Am I willing to buy remanufactured? I am because the cutest jean jackets ever have been cobbled together from others with patches, embroidery, changed collars and yet they are timeless and add fun to any casual outfit. My favorite turquoise mules have been repaired more times than I can count but they still get compliments and fit better than ever.

This photo taken with some phone that was still primarily a phone back when was taken in downtown SD after four hours of dancing at the EL D and walking back to my car parked a zillion blocks uphill away. My friend lent me one half of her flip flops she had in her purse should this need arise. The blue shoes have seen many a dance floor since as well and with the scalloped trim in light green they go with so many outfits. I haven’t had those jeans in years and the DJ from that night is big time in LA these days.

What can you do? Feel free to comment with your ideas, experiences and thought on this topic.
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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Hera Hub Writer’s Lounge

April 8, 2013 at 10:40 pm (Art, organized simplicity, Travel) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Last Monday due to the three ring circus which is my life I was not able to attend the Writer’s Lounge where I am able to carve out time to write blogs, rants, emails etc. The Lounge is hosted by professional writers many of whom specialize in web content, ghost writing and even technical writers. The offer their wisdom and perspective on an as needed basis.  So the funny thing was I got waylayed…

So because I was not able to clone myself and attend I missed out writing a blog and attending to several other writing needs which I have come to handle each Monday. It wasn’t until I missed it I realized how valuable this time has become for me.

I have been working on doing short videos for practice and I would gladly share one of my more ridiculous moments were it not for the fact I am still on a free WordPress account. That will change very shortly. Munchie the Olde English Bulldogge can hardly wait to stream to you!

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Which brings me to my next topic which is Videomasters another group I belong to which is full of anyone but a master videographer! We all share a desire to become more proficient at video blogs, interviews, You Tube posts etc. We have a private Facebook page and the requirements for membership include posting weekly in video. I can truly say I am getting reasonably good at off the cuff interviews and talks but scripted videos are not for me. I come across too staged and that lacks authenticity and the energy of a certain spontaneity for which I am known. I was thinking on my feet before I could walk!

5135001-R1-020-8AI am as likely to write my post from the road delivering leather and pearl bracelets as I am from my studio. This is the central California Coast and home of a surf shop where I retail my seaglass and pearl on leather designs. I know I can blog and take photos anywhere and as I am a huge fan of street style fashion I will be adding videos as an adjunct to my observations.

Avez vous un bon jour mes amies!

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Art is Love Personified

March 18, 2013 at 9:57 pm (Art, Freedom, Letting go, LoVe) (, , , , , , , )

I know that is a big statement…but think about it for a minute. Art is the culmination of an artist’s lifework in the form of an expression of love for all things. Even the difficulties in an artist’s life become an important part of the work. The pain the broken heart, the joy, the growth, the disappointments all live in our work. If they don’t then it probably isn’t art but craft.

The greatest of greats have had difficult lives and at the very least challenges that would have broken people of lesser commitment to their love of their art and the driving need to communicate. people used to feel sorry for me marrying and having my first child at 17. Would I recommend this path to anyone? Never. Did it work to make me who I am today? Without a doubt many of my skills at hustle and knowing failure is not an option are directly related to knowing I had to be successful to provide for growing family. I had a loving husband who was a true partner for most of our marriage but I had bigger dreams and more courage than he had and I wasn’t about to live the life he would have settled for if he were the sole breadwinner. I put all of my sorrow, my yearnings and my love into my jewelry at every stage of my career.  I think the pure heart and soul I put into my work is what drove me to continue on as it was an outlet for all my goals, frustrations and desires as well as my expression of beauty for its own sake.

IMG_8326These earrings are rubellite and green tourmalines with citrine briolettes in 14k gold. I choose the tourmalines as these remind me of hot pink snapdragons on their green stalks and the citrines are droplets of rainwater. They make me smile and I have recreated them several times and in other color combinations reminiscent of flower colors. Hot pink rhodolite garnets with deep purple amethysts are pansies and peridot green with lemon citrines are fresh scented daffodils in early Spring.

These aquamarines remind me of a fresh spring bubbling up on the desert floor or a cloudless day in winter. The sweet delicate color allows the wearer to enjoy them with many looks and moods.
Aquamarines in 14k gold
So nothing I make is an accident or without deeper thought. Often it takes me longer to create a new line of jewels because I do reflect long before actually sitting down to the bench to create. The stone I am cutting today may end up in a piece next week or next year or be sold as a finished gemstone to another jeweler. I do what I do because I love the process and the message. Jewelry is a way for me to convey my message of sustainability and local manufacture by giving the consumer a place to begin their own conversation about their own meaning…

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Every Picture Tells a Story Don’t It?!

March 11, 2013 at 8:07 pm (Art, Freedom, gemstones and Jewels) (, , , , , , , , , , )

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Fashion Week in my Closet

February 20, 2013 at 9:48 pm (Art, Freedom, gemstones and Jewels, Letting go, Style) (, , , , , , , , , , )

So I have been trying on clothes in order to determine what beloved items no longer fit (too big finally) and/or no longer suit my style.

This task has taken on runway proportions as I combine and toss things together to see what makes a solid piece in an outfit. I found a black lace tee shirt whose back is now being sewn onto my zebra print sweater’s back. I embroidered over the neckline of a skritchy Prabal Guhrung tee shirt so that I may enjoy it with my turquoise corduroys this Spring.

I discovered Miss Daisy the six month old Bulldogge has chewed the heels of my favorite yellow snakeskin heels.

The Lilly Pulitzer corduroys two sizes too big will become a knee length skirt to be worn with the hot pink chiffon sleeveless top. The black sweater that never looked right on me is heading for the Hera Hub clothes swap to benefit The Monarch school of San Diego and Planned Parenthood. Also the Levis I gladly relinquish to another with the beginnings of holes in them they are at their prime. The shrug sweater that was not my style will also find a happy new wearer.

I realize I really like skirts over jeans or slacks. I have a pretty good collection of nice skirts gathered from other’s closets, thrift stores, local designer’s wares to wear and even a few purchased by my mother. So I will try each on and be willing to share my overstock with my skirt wearing sisters at Hera.

I have enjoyed this wardrobe overhaul and all it means to me in my life which is in a constant state of overhaul.

Sorting out what works from what doesn’t is always the trick. It isn’t about the fashion but rather your personal style. Wear what makes you look good and feel good. If it means breaking  out your Nancy Reagan red dress and rocking it with your vintage candies go for it if works for you. I have noticed over the years the only people who look awkward in fashion that stands out are the ones who are forcing a look that is incongruent with their inner fashionista. In the eighth grade I had a red corduroy Eisenhower style jacket and matching wide legged pants with high waist AND cuffs. Some kids giggled and made fun while a few edgy fashionistas whose father’s let them shop in New York and Paris understood my statement. I had that jacket many years after the pants were sent on to fashionista recycle. I wish I had it today!

I currently own a jean jacket and a corduroy jacket so maybe that means I’m greedy, or just prepared as I have loaned the corduroy jacket out many a time to friends. I should slip a library card in the pocket for check out! I have refrained from ornamenting it as the jean jacket has a variety of after market trims and embellishments on it.

Back when I still wore suede slacks I had these to wear with my Lady Diana Blue silk blouse. Many thought I was out there wearing these together I thought I rocked it…I still think that : ) women's opportunity week 85 001Yes that is me looking quite conservative in my pearls at the Women’s Opportunity Week Fashion show with talented clothing designer Tawny Walkowiak. Tawny made the delicious suit she is wearing.

So back to editing my wardrobe and my life…add, take away, alter to fit, repeat.

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