things we love

A Dash of Paprika

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I love my iPad. Truly, I use it for so many things. It is great for working on the go, easier to travel with than a full laptop (but still allows me to blog and stay connected on trips), it keeps my littles entertained with movies on long flights, allows me to read books on my Kindle app, taking an entire library with me on the go, and so much more. But, this post isn’t really about my iPad. It’s about the so much more. (more…)

Merry Christmas to Me!

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Hubs and I are really into coffee. Part of it is due to my my friend Pauline’s influence, as she encouraged it by giving us her old espresso machine when she upgraded to a new one. I think it really took off to new heights, however, when we lived in San Francisco. SF is coffee-crazy and incredible artisan coffee abounds there, so we were a little spoiled with options and our standards raised in proportion.
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We’ve Got a Sparkly New Studio!

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It really is a bit of a dream come true. I’ve long since wanted to open a studio space where I can work in a lovely and well-designed space and where I can meet customers for personalized shopping appointments (and, of course, host shopping events!) I have been designing jewelry for nearly 15 years now (yikes!) and I’ve always done most of my work out of my home. With three littles, however, the game has changed quite a bit and this space allows me a place to think and create in relative quiet and a place to meet customers when it is most convenient for them (even if that is when my littles are napping!) Click below for some lovely photos of our new space and the details on where I got everything!

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Hello, lovely!

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Form follows function – that has been misunderstood.
Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.- Frank Lloyd Wright

I like things to be organized (though I don’t particularly like to do the organizing!) I also like things to be beautiful. When those two features merge into one item, joy ensues. I recently found the Day Designer, a beautiful labor of love from the talented Whitney English. Spurred on by her own frustration with planner products and entrepreneur organization challenges, Whitney set out to make something better. After loads of research about productivity and branding, the Day Designer was born.

I have to admit that the beauty side of this planner is a major draw for me. I’m far more likely to sit down and plan out my week/month when the process is lovely and fun. This planner has luxuriously thick, beautiful paper, a shiny spiral binding and beautiful gold metal corner details and a fun black and white stripe pattern that makes it ultra-chic. I love seeing it sitting on my desk and look forward to writing in it and planning with intention, which is a half the battle for me. The day pages just make sense. With an hourly agenda, a to do list, top three to do prompts, notes, a section for gratitude and an inspirational quote for the day, the page helps you organize your top priorities and visualize those alongside your schedule and longer priorities list. Having written things down this way for a month or so now, I realize that my to do lists are WAY too long (read: unrealistic) and I love being able to write them down on future dates and put them out of my sight and mind until the appropriate day so that I can better focus on what I need to be doing today.

Not sure the Day Designer’s page style is for you? Whitney is kind enough to offer a free download for you to try it out before investing in one. (Now, that’s a woman who is confident in her product.) I’m really loving mine – and the private Facebook group that you’re invited to when you own one, in which people post myriad ideas for better organization and using your Day Designer in the best way possible for keeping overwhelm at bay in your own life. So, hop on over to Whitney’s site and take a look around. My guess is that you’ll love her sophisticated, gorgeous (and don’t forget functional!) products as much as I do.

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Grab yours here…

We LOVE Casanova

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It is no secret that I love Carmel, California.  It is absolutely gorgeous with stunning cypress trees, a rocky coastline, beautiful ocean views and stunning vistas everywhere you look.  Not only does it have natural beauty, it is home to many great restaurants, fabulous shopping, quaint streets and lovely art galleries. Speaking of great restaurants, one of our absolute favorites is Casanova.  The atmosphere is old-world European, reminiscent of France or Italy.  There are lovely indoor and outdoor seating areas and the many rooms make the large restaurant seem small and friendly.  The food is outstanding.  Every.  Single. Time.  I have been to the restaurant many, many times and have never not liked what I tasted.  It is always absolutely delish! (more…)

Twin Peaks

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If you’ve never been up to it, Twin Peaks is worth a visit.  For the twisting, winding road up and the slightly confusing directions to get there, you’ll be rewarded with incredible panoramic views of the city.  (Above is a photo of me at the top with my beautiful cousins visiting from Atlanta.)  Foggy or not, the views are stunning at 922 feet above sea level.  From the top, you can see Market Street as it bisects the city, ending at the Ferry Building.  You can see the Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge and countless beautiful churches and buildings. (more…)

Samovar Tea Lounge

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San Francisco is known for coffee.  I loved coffee before we moved there, but during our time in SF, I became even more of a coffee snob and so did my hubs.  San Francisco has no shortage of incredible coffee shops.  Blue Bottle, Ritual, Four Barrel, Sightglass, Philz – they all come up in conversations about the best coffee in the city.  But, true to its health-conscious reputation, tea is a pretty big deal in the city by the Bay as well.  One fabulous example of this is the Samovar Tea Lounge.  With locations in the Castro, Hayes Valley, Yerba Buena and now the Mission, this hotspot is well worth the hype.  Featuring artisan teas from around the world served by a staff that is well-trained in the art of tea, Samovar is the real deal.   (more…)

An Answered Prayer

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I literally have chills on my arms and tears in my eyes as I write this blog post. A family is finally united. What a blessing. What a journey. What an answer to prayer! Our friends who have so patiently waited for a year and a half for their boy finally have him in their arms right here in the U.S.A. (For the background on this situation, please read my original post here.)

At times on the journey, especially in the past nine months, doubt seemed to be stronger than hope.  Darkness seemed to be hiding the light.  Pessimism reared its ugly head and threatened to snuff out trust.  (Really, isn’t every good work of literature set up that way?)  Deep down in my heart, I know that the Lord is in control and that He can be trusted, but my momma’s heart just broke for a friend who couldn’t hold her baby boy and have her family all together at home.   (more…)