Optimism Redefined

January 14, 2015 at 1:27 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

I have been enjoying a renewed sense of self the past couple of years. This year I experienced loss in a beautiful way. This has allowed me to reflect on the nature of love and loss and impermanence. I now know that love never leaves. True love does indeed last forever whether or not you are in the physical reality of each other.

Spending time alone with my horse has brought me to a new place of appreciating alone time and the optimism which comes from self reflection. I had the opportunity to reconnect with someone I used to hold dear to my heart. We spent a couple of weeks getting to know each other again and he was ready to move forward. I realized I was ready to move on. I still love him and always wish him well but our journey together is complete…at least for now. I have learned from another never to say never.

I have found surprising joy in my choice to let this relationship go. I find joy in the everyday company of myself as I plan my journey forward and my move back to France and eventually Portugal. I wake up each day excited about getting my business in order and ready to create new art in a new country. I no longer require another person to tell me how beautiful or special I am. I know deep in my heart I am unique and special in my own way and when I am ready to share me again I will remember that fact. ❤

I look forward to a healthy love with someone as independent as I am and one who understands we cannot change others to fit our mold. I surprise myself at how often I say no when I could easily say yes. My path is my own for now.

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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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Video Master Group Made up of Women Who are Anything but Masters of Vid.

March 25, 2013 at 9:16 pm (Excellence in Business, Red Carpet, Style) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Recently I have been working on getting my long overdue website ready for launch as a direct retailer of my art. Currently my art is available wholesale and through retailers.

Having spent the past few years working predominantly on additional skill sets including cabbing, carving, drilling and faceting gemstones I have not expanded my presence beyond a handful of retailers. This is about to change as i now have an inventory of cut stones, as well as jewelry made from recycled metals, gems and naturally occurring seaglass. The beautiful broken glass dumped into our oceans and tumbled into soft edges and washed up on distant shores. Trash into treasure.

Seaglass and Abalone Hemp 003As part of my website I want to incorporate videos of myself ranting on about the importance of shifting our consumer lifestyles to be more eco friendly and sustainable all while enjoying ourselves in the moment. So far my personal videos are pretty lame.

This video was made on the fly by Media Pro who happened to be in the building and shot this at the last second for me when I gave an impromptu talk about part of my story to some fashion students from Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dHLWvCAmIfQ#

As you see I was not made up and my hair looks like it just rolled out of bed. So some of the entrepreneurs at Hera Hub have joined forces and started a private group called Video Masters on Facebook for the express purpose of posting anything and everything in video.

Here is a typical “did it myself” video for your enjoyment er rather amusement. or not as word press won’t allow me to upload the short clip : (

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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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What if Failure Was Not an Option?

January 15, 2013 at 7:12 pm (Art, Freedom, gemstones and Jewels, Health, Letting go, LoVe, Relationships) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

So I ask myself the other day as I registered my daughter for a four day life coaching event what would I like to do if I knew failure was not an option? What if I knew with absolute certainty that I would succeed?

1) I would love with all my heart and soul.

2) I would create what is in my heart without concerns of marketability.

3) I would travel to far away places and learn the language and carry only a backpack and not worry about the cost.

4) I would invest in companies I believe in regardless of what the financial experts say.

5) I would apply for graduate school in a foreign country.

6) I would learn to fly an airplane.

7) I would make a beautiful collection of jewels from my amazing local tourmaline collection for their pyroelectric and piezoelectric health qualities.

8) I would speak my mind.

9) I would paint everyday without thought to whether or not anyone else is interested in my art.

10) I would teach the poor and disenfranchised that they have the power to change their circumstances starting with their own limiting beliefs.

…and so it seems failure is not an option and so it is time to continue the journey. Life is a gift, give thanks daily.

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How to Make Your Art a Star and live quietly in the background.

December 1, 2012 at 6:33 pm (Art, Freedom, gemstones and Jewels, LoVe, Relationships) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Once upon a time there lived a talented young woman and her husband and baby. They lived in a beach neighborhood and so she kept her successes and creations from her neighbors to protect her family from possible burglary. Everyone thought she worked in an office somewhere part time and was busy as a homemaker at home. She was busy…amking jewelry, soldering chain and sheet silver and setting bezels around stones and wrapping wire and knotting pearls…for herself for stores, for other designers. Anyone willing to pay her to make their jewelry so she could be with their young daughter.

Her work ended up around the necks of President’s wives and movie stars and few had ever heard of her by name but they knew they look of mixed gems and pearls breaking the classical rules. She taught herself many techniques and took classes when the budget allowed. Soon some of the retailers were carrying her lines alongside theirs which she had manufactured and often assisted in designing. Throughout the years she worked for various companies in a wide range of the jewelry trade by day and plied her wares by night and weekend while her husband took the lines to market. One day she would leave the day jobs completely and take her knowledge with her to create all her own jewels.

That day came and one after another more opportunities came from high end retailers and she was producing along with local talent her signature looks. Often retailers would market the look under their store brand but she didn’t mind the checks were coming in and feeding her family of five now. Success looks different to everyone and this was her success.

Continued next time…

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Fashion as Revolution

November 19, 2012 at 9:22 pm (Art, Freedom, Letting go) (, , , , , , , , , )

Fashion is often dismissed as part of a lifestyle which is offensive to those who toil in sweatshops and cannot afford those very items they create.

I propose a different vision. Fashion is at the basis of our daily communication with our world professionally and personally. By creating and manufacturing, distributing and selling all within a region realigns our economy to our lifestyles and wages. I’m suggesting something as basic as a local sustainable economy reflective of the needs of San Diegans.

The flip side of this coin is developing the top end resale business. A perfect compliment to buying locally manufactured clothes, jewelry, food etc. is the upcycle and reuse of those outside elements already in our midst.  Those Dior pumps from 1992 look amazing with Stacie May’s Gatsby inspired modern take on the Afternoon cocktail dress. The 1960’s Cini of Newport beach California sterling jewelry lavalieres are a divine accessory for so many Southern California moods and events.

Part of my lifestyle is recognizing that I need to add more whole foods and organic into my life as I transition to less meat and more raw fruits and vegetable. I feel so good when I eat macrobiotic, locally grown organic food. I am energized after eating versus wanting to take a nap. One restaurant near me that offers only wholesome choices is Casa De Luz in North Park offering fresh, local organic cuisine. Everything I have tried is so flavorful, clean and fresh I am constantly delighted by their innovative combinations. I am restored to see this as a growing food movement in contradiction to corporate farming and GMO spread as local fashion is to the sweat shops and corporate management of cheap, poorly made fashion.

The argument designed to confuse is that all this localization costs more. It does not as it fits an equilibrium which we must strive for. I don’t need six cheap tops I need versatile quality and I can do that with local made and consignment and thrift stores to find quality vintage finds…often once made in America.

Soyez le change….I am the change in my consumer choices.

Local fashion talent

Paul Rico interprets the little black dress for San Diego’s women.

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