Tag Archives: jewelry

#freethewrist With bittersweet by Maria Shireen

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Last month, I attended the media preview of bittersweet and b+sweet by Maria Shireen (created by Shireen Palsson).  I first heard about the bracelets through BuzzFeed, and I thought it was a fantastic idea back then.  Imagine my excitement to be invited to preview these fully functional and stylish bracelets that really are game changers when it comes to wearing hair-ties.



I know so many of us women wear hair-ties on our wrists as a convenience for when we need a quick change-up to our hair, either due to heat or when performing certain activities (I know I pull my hair back while cooking).  Depending on the size of your wrist, many times hair-ties are painful and constricting, often cutting of circulation.  When I spoke to Shireen and her husband, Arni at the media party, she explained that Arni had asked her why she always wore the black elastic band on her wrist.  After she explained the reason, he surprised her by creating the very first version of the bracelet as a thoughtful gift, engraved with her name in Farsi, which she continues to wear to this day (read the full story of how the company name was then born out of the engraving here).  With engineering and science backgrounds, their desire for problem solving as a couple helped them fully develop this idea into a company, with the bittersweet bracelets as their flagship product.

In addition to the main bittersweet bracelets (which range in price from $45 to $85 and come in steel-plate or silver, gold and rose gold), they debuted the b+sweet line for the younger set, made of durable BPA free plastic (at $20 for a set of three with matching hair-ties).


I was lucky to receive a bittersweet bracelet as a thank you for attending the event, and I wear it everyday.  I recently did an outfit post that will go up in the next week, but here’s a partial preview of my outfit where you can see my bittersweet bracelet (below).  I love that it completely changes the hair-tie to something stylish yet functional!




These bracelets will make great holiday and birthday gifts, especially the newest “Signature” holiday line.  These bracelets have a little sparkle because of the textured interior channel where the hair-tie would go.  They would look great with or without a hair-tie!

Between The Black & White

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I’m a big fan of anything with a vintage feel, and I guess I was inspired by The Great Gatsby when I put this outfit together.  Although my hat is really a simple beanie, the large crochet flower just reminds me girls in flapper dresses and my shoes are a nod to gentleman wearing spats.  I kept my outfit from feeling too much like a costume by wearing jeans and keeping the colors limited to black and white with accents of silver.

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Outfit:  Cotton On shirt (old); Converse for Target lace trimmed tank top (old); Aldo hat (old); Madewell legging jeans in artic blue; Restricted “Showcase” wedge brogues (from DSW, but are still available on Modcloth, called Pie Contest Wedges in Cookies & Cream); Lookmatic “Tippi” glasses; Vintage Scooter Necklace c/o Lavishy; Watch c/o Timex

(Stay tuned for a contest to win a gold version of the Vintage Scooter Necklace from Lavishy!)

(Post title is a lyric from the Depeche Mode song Alone.  Photos by Rholnna Jiao.)

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial (the Lavishy necklace).

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Weekend in Pictures: The SoCal Etsy Guild Market

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This weekend was quite the busy one!  My mother-in-law was in town for a conference on Friday, so she requested that we hang out on Saturday, going anywhere and everywhere throughout San Diego.  We started our day off at The Headquarters near Seaport Village and browsed around the SoCal Etsy Guild Market.  Although the weather here in San Diego during the weekend was quite temperamental, going between hot, cold and rainy, we stuck it out to take a look around and even listened a bit to the live band.

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The Headquarters at Seaport District invites you to a unique San Diego event. SoCal Etsy Guild Market will feature Southern California’s premier handmade artisan vendors in the beautiful setting of our intimate, outdoor courtyard. The market will include live art & music and free children’s activities. All products featured at the market will be handmade, vintage, artisanal food or art. This collection of merchants is one you won’t want to miss. Support local artists and buy handmade at the SoCal Etsy Guild Market, Saturday April, 26th from 10 am – 5 pm.

– From The Headquarters Website

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Afterwards, we headed up to The Forum at Carlsbad (again); then had a snack at Harbor Fish Café (my mother-in-law’s favorite little fish shack); bought some confections at The Chocolate Bar; shopped a little at The Beat Clothing; dropped off our sleepy little boy at home with Nana before heading back to Fashion Valley Mall for some final shopping.  Whew!  That was quite the whirlwind of taking in as much of San Diego as we could in just one day!  She then brought our little one up to Las Vegas for the week while my hubby and I do some spring cleaning, which includes setting up our vinyl listening area (pictures to come).  Although we were all over San Diego, I took most of my pictures at the SoCal Etsy Guild Market, featuring a couple of booths where I made some lovely purchases.  Hope you had a great weekend!

DSC03816 (2) (1280x853) As we entered, we were greeted by the cutest little cast of characters from The Yarn Crate.

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Immediately smitten by the donut, I purchased it along with some equally adorable macarons (all of which are going to be on display on my desk at work)!

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My final purchase of the day was from Cirello Gallery, featuring laser cut stainless steel jewelry.

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I purchased the hand cut gold plated skull pendant. Right up my alley!

To learn more about the SoCal Etsy Guild and possibly join, click here.  Also follow them on Twitter at @SoCalEtsyGuild and Facebook!

Shining for me, Majestically

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There’s a saying I saw somewhere that somewhat goes “When a woman says she can’t decide what to wear, she really means she can’t decide who to be that day.”  Well, this past weekend, I decided to be everything.  I wore this while running errands with my husband and son, and I completely felt like this was a combination of dressy, yet casual and edgy.  Wearing flats with a plain white t-shirt and long skirt felt comfortable, so I put on a classic black cardigan with shiny silver accessories to bring a dressier edge.

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Outfit:  Cotton On cardigan; Bitten t-shirt (old); unknown brand skirt from Shimmer; Tieks California Navy ballet flats; Rebecca Minkoff Jody “C” leather pouch; Suki Bijoux rings; London Tube Metro cuff c/o Designhype; Blue Triangle necklace and earrings c/o Majestical Jewelry; Timex Originals Classic Round watch c/o Timex; Eva glasses in Sepia Kiss c/o BonLook

Post title is a lyric from the song “The Darkest Star” by Depeche Mode.

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial. (Majestical Jewelry)

(I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.)

A Love Story in Rose Gold Featuring Brilliant Earth

A Love Story in Rose Gold

In anticipation of Valentine’s Day, I was approached by fine jewelers, BrilliantEarth.com, to participate in their Personality Style Challenge.  I chose to style the rose gold and diamond pieces as they have always been a favorite of mine (see a previous post here).  I found an adorable dress on ModCloth with “fluttering hearts” in an organza overlay, but kept the shoes and purse fairly simple so that the jewelry could shine (although, that Aldo purse is pretty fantastic).

Brilliant Earth is a wonderful socially conscious company, who also supports sustainability.  Founded in 2005 by Beth Gerstein and Eric Grossberg, Brilliant Earth is “devoted to cultivating a more ethical, transparent, and sustainable jewelry industry.”  What this means is that they are dedicated to go above and beyond the current industry standards to ensure their diamonds originate from pure and ethical sources.  They apply the same high standards to their colored gemstones, carefully tracking them to ensure they meet their standards of social and environmental responsibility.

Additionally, Brilliant Earth handcrafts all of their fine jewelry from recycled precious metals.  On their site, they explain “dirty gold mining” which has a grim history.  Their objective is to “diminish the negative impacts of dirty gold” by affecting the demand of newly mined precious metals.

Lastly, Brilliant Earth gives back by donating 5% of their profits to help communities who are affected by the jewelry industry.  They promote growth and support initiatives designed to improve livelihoods and protect the environment.

Thank you Brilliant Earth for this lovely opportunity!



"Re-Live A Little" With Suki Bijoux

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As mentioned previously, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a meet up for the San Diego Style Bloggers last month (post here). Not only did I meet and reunite with some fantastic local bloggers, but I also got the chance to chat with a couple of local jewelry designers. I instantly fell in love with the designs of Suki Bijoux, who creates original vintage infused jewelry, using authentic vintage pieces. I bought two pieces straight away at the meet up, and then bought six more later on because I was impressed by her use of the vintage materials, such as vintage maps, dictionary entries, sheet music and actual typewriter keys. I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with Suki at the meet-up, and then again later because she custom made a vintage dictionary ring that I wear everyday since I bought it. Suki is as beautiful as she is talented, and I have discovered that she and I have the same taste in music and have actually been to a few of the same concerts! I knew there was a reason we hit it off when we met!

In this brief interview, Suki explains how she got started and her inspiration behind the jewelry she makes. Support local designers, especially Suki Bijoux jewelry!

How did you make the decision to start your own business and how did you get started with jewelry specifically?

Well, unexpectedly really. Since an early age, I have always been creative by nature and had an affinity towards vintage memorabilia. As a young girl and into my early teen years, I spent countless hours tinkering with bits ‘n bobs I found here and there -creating artistic collages, jewelry, ephemera, and hand-sewn articles.

I married at 18 years old and was a mother to two beautiful children by 20; between raising children, being a full-time college student, and working there was very little time to pursue my creative outlet… until 3 years ago! What with my children now adults, I decided to re-kindle my creative ability and started a hobby making unique jewelry from vintage components. I started out using old typewriters and watches to make rings and cufflinks, and then ventured into using anything and everything circa 1900 – 1960.

One day, my husband brought to my attention just how much inventory I had made and he encouraged me to pursue an outlet for my creations. I visited a local boutique, who’s owner just fell in love with my designs, and offered to display/sell them. As it turned out, her customers loved them too! This was the start to what we know today as “Suki Bijoux”.

After the first delivery sold out, I made another… and all of those items sold too. I started to get really excited that people liked my creations, and was so inspired that I approached another local boutique with a sampling of “Suki Bijoux.” They loved it too! And so, one small step at a time, my business has grown slowly and steadily over the course of the past three years.

One year ago, I left my corporate job to pursue my new venture, my hobby gone wild… and there’s been no looking back. My designs are now in 18 boutiques between San Diego and San Clemente, with no end in sight.

Vintage Purse Suki Bijoux

When we chatted, you seem to gravitate towards a lot of vintage pieces that you rework. What inspires you most? Basically, do you seek out something to create, or are you inspired once you find a piece while out on a venture?

The inspiration evolves naturally. When I look at things, I try to envision if and how they can be re-worked into a piece of jewelry. Wherever I am, whether it’s on vacation in Europe or at a local Estate Sale, I’m always looking for unique vintage items to incorporate into my “Suki Bijoux” designs. For example, earlier this year my husband and I were vacationing in Italy, and ran across a Flea Market along the Grande Canal; I found some spectacular vintage Venetian buttons, tiny old hand-blown Morano glass flowers, and vintage postcards from the turn of the century. Occasionally an amazing item catches my attention, and I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do with it – sometimes months will go by until one day its’ purpose enlightens me and components seem to fall into place. I love it when that happens! Most days I go into my studio with no prior idea of what designs are going to come out of it… just like a jigsaw puzzle, the pieces come together. It’s so much fun!

Will you stick mainly to upcycling vintage or will you offer newer creations?

My passion is creating authentic vintage infused jewelry, and it’s really important to me to stay true to that origin. I love everything that original “Suki Bijoux” designs represent – a piece of authentic history, a peek into past lives and cultures, a story and journey from long ago, a twinkle of what once was. My creativity gives forgotten and unwanted vintage items another chance to be appreciated once again… with a new twist! Each “Suki Bijoux” item is a one-of-a-kind, designed and hand-crafted by myself, and infused with authentic vintage materials [circa 1900 – 1960] that I personally resource from all over the world. Truly unique in every essence.

Fleur De Lis Suki Bijoux

What would you say is your “style”? How is that reflected in what you have to offer in your own designs?

I like to wear styles that are timeless classics, and then add personality with accessories: a fabulous pair of shoes, a unique purse, a statement ring or necklace, or edgy earrings. As I’m designing “Suki Bijoux” accessories I always keep this in mind, “if I wouldn’t wear it, don’t make it”.

What do you enjoy best about what you do?

Now that’s a loaded question! I love the fact that I’m in tune with my creative mind again… it is so calming! Being self-employed is amazing: to be able to enjoy my home by working from my in-home studio, and to embrace the benefits of a flexible schedule. Most of all though, I just love creating jewelry that makes other people feel good when they wear it… it really makes my day when someone sends me a message telling me how much they love their “Suki Bijoux”.

I am so thankful and appreciative to all of those who have supported my business and ventured to “Re-Live A Little”.

Recoil Ring Suki Bijoux

A custom-made “recoil” vintage dictionary ring, made especially for moi! Thank you Suki!

(Pictures 2, 3, and 4 are taken from the official Suki Bijoux Facebook page.)

Jewel of The LAB: The Shangri-La

Rings and bracelets have been my accessory obsession as of late.  So when I visited The LAB a couple of weeks ago (post here), it’s no accident that one of my first stops just happened to be a quaint boutique called The Shangri-La.  Owned by the beautiful Karen Hsiang, this little jewelry paradise appealed to my indie and gothic sensibilities at every turn, as you can see by my choices above.  Dominic even spotted a jar filled with candy Ring Pops, the only jewelry a three-year-old boy seems to be interested in.  I had the chance to chat with Karen about her boutique and how she began her mystical journey into jewelry design and starting her own business.

How did you make the decision to start your own business and how did you get started with jewelry specifically?

The start of the boutique came on a whim. I had an online jewelry boutique for a while as a part-time hobby, but it did not garner as much traffic as I wanted. One day I e-mailed The Lab, Anti-Mall in Costa Mesa to see if they had an any open retail spaces available just to get an idea of cost of rent, and lo and behold, a little Shasta trailer was available. I had to take that opportunity and I quit my full-time job to live out my dream. 

When we chatted, you mentioned that you create your own jewelry, but that you also have designs by other jewelers.  Do seek out designers, or do they come to you?
I am trolling the internet 24/7 to bring unique designers and pieces into the store. I have many local designers who also were just shopping in The Lab who stumbled upon the boutique.

What would you say is your “style”?  How is that reflected in what you have to offer at your boutique and in your own designs?

 I have a very schizophrenic way of dressing. I dress by mood, so one day I will be in a white lace dress, and the next day I can be geared up in combat boots and in all black. I honestly buy pieces to put in the store for myself, and hope that other people will take a liking to it. Since I don’t really have a specific style, I offer jewelry for all kinds of styles from bohemian to utilitarian and everything in between.

How long have you had a space at The LAB?

It has been 5 months already! Time passes by way too fast. I remember the day I signed the lease like it was yesterday.

Some of the boutiques throughout The LAB are situated in Air Stream trailers, and your boutique has a unique ceiling.  What is the story behind the chalk illustrations?

There really isn’t any specific story behind the chalk illustrations. I just thought it would be fun for my customers to leave a little bit of themselves behind in the store. I have all my friends and family leave their mark when they come and visit me.

What do you enjoy best about what you do?

The expressions on people’s faces when they see the store is pretty priceless. Honestly, I am so grateful for all the kind words and encouragement that complete strangers give me everyday. It makes my day when people tell me that they have never seen anything like the selection of jewelry that I carry. It makes all the blood, sweat, and tears worth it.

(Thank you Karen for taking the time out to chat with me and no doubt I will visit your shop whenever I’m in town!)