Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Pursue your passion. My boyfriend is this weekend!

(This post is a bit off my normal topic of fashion, jewelry, and personal reflection, but please read on.)

Me and my man, on a Ferris wheel.
If you know me, you know I'm an advocate of one pursuing their dreams full out, pedal to the metal, go all in, etc, etc. If we've talked face to face, you may recall at least one of our conversations being of a motivational kind, if the topic was started by me asking, "So what's your dream?"

Yup, I'm kind of a cheerleader, an optimist, a dreamer, head in the clouds, and maybe a little unrealistic passionate at times. Somewhere inside of me at an early age, I really got my head wrapped around the reality of we-are-all-going-to-die-someday so why not live full out. Well it's no wonder I've found that same gusto in a man who has a lot of passion, drive, and determination. What's even cooler is that it's visible. (See figure 1 below.) *giggle*  That's my boyfriend, Steve. (And yes mom and dad, my probable future husband.  We did go ring shopping a few weeks ago. Eeeeek!) 

Kiss concert! More his music, not so much mine.
He's a "machine" as I heard one woman in passing say when she saw him crossing the street just last week. Well he's not only a machine, he has a heart bigger than anyone I've ever known. Seriously. Truly. I.mean.for.real. I'll refrain from getting too mushy and just say I've never been more proud of introducing a man to my family and friends than I have when I introduce him. He's generous, loving, and becomes friends with just about every one. Oh and the bonus is he treats me like a princess. I love him.

Figure 1.

It's not uncommon these days to hear of people's struggles and how they've made something of themselves after a rough road early in life. Steve's one of those people and though he won't readily admit it, he has come a long way. As you might be able to tell, he works out and he's been able to use that platform to transform his life to one of physical, mental, and emotional strength and is a proponent for physical health and the benefits of working out. The first time I spent more than a few minutes with Steve was inside the gym, and it was apparent that that is where he shines. He's passionate when he's there. He takes the time to talk with others who approach him asking for tips on exercise and dieting. He jumps at the chance to workout with any of his friends; he'll ride his bike in the rain to meet them at the gym! Naturally, he's inspired me and my younger brother so much that we too have fallen in love with working out and have thus transformed our lives and physiques (moreso my brother's physique, mine is underway.)  
Applying a pasty layer of fake tanner before the show

5th Place
Well, he's following his passion and he's competing in a bodybuilding show THIS Saturday, called the 2013 NPC San Diego Championships. It's a bit last minute and a decision that came after a heart-to-heart conversation we had about going after what's important to us. He has previously competed in bodybuilding shows before, and has placed 1st (twice) and 5th place (twice), and once had "the overall" which is a big deal. And yes, as you can see he got super tan and wore the tiny little Speedos. This time he's competing in a category called the Men's Physique, which means the judges focus more on the upper body rather than the overall... and he doesn't wear the Speedos, and instead wears board shorts.

He's really excited about this show, more than I've ever seen him excited, and I think it's because he knows he's going to do well. You know when you just know?... I think he's experiencing that very thing. After years of hard work, trial and error, and researching which competitive categories he fits best in, he's anxious to get back up on stage. What's even more exciting is that if he does well in this competition, it could lead to even greater things for him professionally, including sponsorship's from larger companies, and many more opportunities with a chance to compete on a grander scale. Ultimately he wants to be a personal trainer and eventually own his own gym. If he won, it would provide him with opportunities that I'm certain are unimaginable. 

Let me get to the real point of this post. To enter this weekend's contest there are costs, and we need to pay for the following.
  • Annual NPC registration (National Physique Committee
  • His registration into the actual competition
  • Board shorts for the show
  • Tanning
  • A haircut, per my suggestion (lol)

Steve with Mr. Olympia, Phil Heath
All of which will cost just under $300. There's one more thing, of course I REALLY want to watch him when he's up on the stage. There's a morning show (when the actual judging occurs) and an evening show, which is more a show for the audience that involves loud music, cheering and crowd banter, and sometimes a guest speaker/poser. Last time the guest speaker was Phil Heath, Mr. Olympia himself!

Anyway, I usually only purchase a ticket for the evening show, because that's when they announce the winners and I get to see him awarded a trophy. I'd LOVE to see him during both shows. It allows me to take photos of his stage performance (posing) during the actual judging in the AM, and provides him with images that he can use to improve upon for future shows. The morning and evening tickets combined cost $75, and we'd love to raise the extra money for both. 

To support him in living his dream, several of our friends have sponsored him, including my great friend and CrossFit trainer Ace who is the founder of Mighty CrossFit in San Diego, California. My friend and business coach Tamara, the owner & founder of Flirt with Me, is loaning us her professional camera for the event. We've raised $200 as of now, and the remainder is $175.

After the show
As my contribution to his pursuit of competing, I will be extending my liquids-only-fast that I began earlier this week (for personal reasons), and will break my fast the evening immediately following his competition. It's important for competitors to "diet down" in the weeks leading up to the competition, so to help him bare the monotonous meals of plain chicken and yams, I won't be eating my favorite candy bar and ice cream flavor, or anything else for that matter. (For more info as to why I'm fasting, read this blog post.)

Of course we could ask for donations, but I wanted to raise money by utilizing my skill set of jewelry-design. So for those who would like to either contribute to his dream or who just love a great jewelry deal, the option is there and it's a win-win for every one! For this week, I'll be running a SALE on my slinky-bracelet design. I typically sell them for $12 a piece or 2-for-$20, but for this exciting and possibly fruitful opportunity, I'm marking the bracelets down to $8 or 2-for-$15 and more colors to chose from! I chose the slinky bracelet design, because from time to time Steve will help me make these bracelets for my upcoming events and shows. (I told you, he's incredible! And we make a pretty good team.)

Slinky bracelets! 

But wait, there's more! I can't leave out the guys. Regularly my personalized dogtag designs are $28. For this week I've marked them down to only 18 bucks!
Dogtag necklace

All orders will be shipped this week and next.

If you're interested in simply donating any amount, you can do so via PayPal by clicking the donate button below.

For the bracelets, click here to buy one, or here to buy two! Want a personalized dogtag, get one

For every one else, thanks for reading this, and thanks for supporting my dreams by simply reading what I write.

I will be posting photos and keeping my readers up to date during the day of the event here on my blog.

If you have any questions or encouraging words for Steve, please leave your comments below!

Pedal to the metal,


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The ups and downs of a jewelry designer, slash dreamer.

My very simple jewelry sidewalk set up,
on a NON sunny California day.
This past weekend I had a hard time wanting to set up my jewelry stand at the local surf shop, Mission Surf. I had done it two days in a row at that point, and three times the week before. It's pretty incredible to be able to work for myself. Being able to sit outside in the warm (mostly) California sun is pretty amazing. I regularly set up my jewelry tables in a part of San Diego, California, that is known for partying and day-drinking. I come into contact with a lot of young, drunk people. After a while it gets annoying to have to interact with drunk people, and watch them closely so they don't knock over my display. It's disappointing seeing such spastic behavior ranging from college kids to adults well into their 50's. My hope is that their stuper is not a regular activity. After a while it's as if  they are not actually individuals passing by. I see the same shenanigans, insecurities, arrogance, loud-mouthed, group-clowns, chemical dependent, and sloppy-drunk personalities; who are always in an altered state of mind.

Not only does my clientele consist of mostly drunks, I don't always make the best profit. Sometimes I walk away with no sales at all. That's a risk I'm aware of and willingly take. This weekend I hit a breaking point and Sunday, just after waking up, I started crying. I felt like I'd been putting in more work and getting little in return. At the rate I'm going, it's financially not worthwhile long-term.  I ultimately know that jewelry is not my "destiny" and it's not what I'm meant to do well into my senior years. I never believed it was anyway, but I didn't know my desire to do it as a form of income would begin to wane this soon. Don't get me wrong, I love it. I love the creative process. I get giddy at seeing my designs completed, and I love how I feel a download of creativity during the process. Maybe I'm gifted, or perhaps I just know how to tap into a source, or a "muse" as Steven Pressfield calls it in his book The War of Art . Ultimately, I enjoy the creative aspect.

I have to acknowledge that I am living a dream I've had for years. I created a vision board years ago and repeatedly wrote and spoke of my desire of living by the beach, waking up when I wanted, and having the freedom to walk my dog anytime of the day. I achieved that dream! And surprisingly (or not) I didn't reach the level of happiness and eternal bliss I thought I might. Lesson learned. Looking back I'm just stoked that I took the steps to at least pursue the gutsy dream of leaving the work force and doing my own thing.

Perhaps I'm seeking to find my "flow", something where I lose track of time and can generate enough income to where I'm not scraping by. Somewhere within me there is a disconnect, and I'm on a path to finding it. After journaling my frustrations Sunday night, I realized it was time to fast and drink only liquids with the intention of getting clarity and direction. I've fasted before and have always experienced insight. As of today, I'm on my third day of fasting and have gone 65 hours without food. That's not the point though. I stated previously I'm on a journey, a little self discovery, and I'm in a state of inquiry. It's not like what I have experienced before. For example, I've always looked at "what's next." No, this time it's different, it's deeper and I can't put it into words. As of right now, I have little insight and I'm remaining open.

Sunday, my first day of fasting.
Note the gallon of water in hand.
As part of my fasting, I've been reading books and watching documentaries that seem to "call" to me. I watched Euphoria today. It's a peculiar film, but a few things were mentally stimulating to say the least. I had an "ah-ha" moment when the narrator stated the following:

"What a paradox our nature is, to offer us euphoria as a reward for pursuing something else. To make happiness unattainable as a goal, but then supply it plentifully along the paths we find most meaningful.  And to provide the best escape from the tedium of day to day, when we engage most deeply."

I'll leave it at that. As for now, my heart and mind remain ajar.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

She sold her belongings, quit her job, and went to see the world!

Michelle (Mish)

My friend Michelle  is gorgeous, adventurous,
smart, and incredibly funny... so inevitably I like her and follow her blog as she's out TRAVELING THE FRIGGIN' WORLD!! Oh yah, and her boyfriend is smoking hot and willing to participate in what I think might be her own hairbrained (but genius) ideas. Michelle, also known as Mish, was kind enough to answer a few of my questions while she's out traipsing the globe!

The interview was done on April 4th, so I'm a few weeks late posting this, my apologies. I hit a few schedule and technical bumps, but who's counting, right?! ;)

Without further adieu, the wonderful Mish every body!

Sarah (S): So as of April 4, 2013, how many days have you been traveling and where are you at right now?
Michelle (M): Today marks 138 days of travel {wow} and I am currently sitting in our room in Chiang Mai, Thailand typing this to you!

S: You’re from San Diego, California, you had a full time job last year and made plans with your main squeeze Verner, otherwise affectionately known as V Dizzle, to go set your peepers on sites on the other side of the globe. You’ve been to Spain, Italy, and Thailand. What’s the next stop?

M: Well, after our first month in Thailand, we headed out to Malaysia, Bali, and Vietnam. But then we found that we really loved and missed Thailand, so we decided to head back for another month to explore!
So far, we spent a few weeks in Phuket, now we’re in Chiang Mai and then next week we go to Bangkok!
After Bangkok, we head to Amsterdam! We’re pretty excited because not only is V Dizzle’s mama from Amsterdam, but she will be meeting us there, along with my own mom, to spend 8 days with us there. We haven’t seen them in quite some time, so it’ll be really fun, I’m sure. Maybe we can convince them to eat some “special brownies” with us. Just kidding. Sort of.

S: For those reading who don’t know much about you (yet), it was a bit of a grapple for you to let go and sell some of your belongings before leaving the country. What advice would you give to someone who is looking to whittle down their own belongings?

M: I can definitely tell you that what I once thought was a big deal in getting rid of 95% of my things has now proven to not be the case at all. In fact, I can hardly even remember what I left behind or sold. I remember crying when I sold my Louis Vuitton bag. Crying! It’s embarrassing to think about now, but I guess I just needed to purge, physically and emotionally, before setting off on this journey of ours. I’ve learned that things are just that: things. We have somehow put so much value and meaning into them. Everything I now own literally fits inside one suitcase. It’s a very freeing feeling and I’ve learned to live off less and appreciate what little I do have. Though, I will be honest and say that I am completely sick of every piece of clothing I own and hope I don’t go too hog-wild in the shopping department when we get back.

S: I’ve always imagined that my world-travel packing would consist of timeless, classic, flowing pieces to ensure I look fabulous in all my photo’s, and then another thought creeps in and destroys my picture-perfect idea, and I conclude that I would probably pack some ugly walking shoes, jean shorts, and a handful of sweat-wicking tank tops. I’ve noticed a good variety of outfits in your travel pictures, and you’re friggin adorable! How did you decide what to pack for clothing and accessories and how many items did you end up taking with you?

M: Bless your heart for thinking I look at all any version of “adorable.” I look at all of my pictures and feel like I’m wearing the exact same outfit in every photo. It was definitely a bit of a challenge to whittle everything down to just one suitcase, while having to plan ahead for extremely cold weather in Europe, followed by extremely hot weather in Southeast Asia.

Here’s a list of what finally made the cut:

2 pairs of pants (blue jean skinnies and black jean skinnies)
1 pair of jean shorts
1 pair of black leggings
2 bras (1 tan, 1 black – both Victoria’s Secret with convertible straps)
20 pairs of undies (though, I probably could have brought 10 and been just fine)
10 pairs of socks
2 sports bras
3 sweaters
1 Zip-up hoodie
1 parka (that was tossed in the dumpster on our last day in Europe, heading to Thailand. Goodbye and good riddance!)
3 L/S shirts
5-7 T-Shirts
5-7 Tank-Tops
1 Maxi-Dress
2 or 3 blouses for those “dress-up” days
Victoria’s Secret sweatpants
1 beanie
1 scarf
1 pair of gloves
1 pair of high heels (though, let me tell you, I have literally only wore once in Rome to which I regret because I suffered a major blister afterwards. If I were to do it again, I wouldn’t bring ‘em)
2 pairs of boots (1 brown, 1 black – and have since thrown out the black ones after wearing them down from all of the walking in Europe)
1 pair of Rainbow flip-flops
2 pairs of sandals (1 brown, 1 black – Though, again, haven’t really worn them much. I stick to my Rainbows most days now. Sexy, I know.)
1 pair of running/work-out shoes (for all of that running I do. Kidding. I think I’ve ran 3 times in the last 5 months.)

{…it surprisingly seems like a lot of shoes now that I’m typing this out.}

I can easily say that I could have taken way less!
I have definitely dumped several items as we’ve gone along.

S: I’m fully aware that there is a very LARGE mixed bag of styles out there, and I’m dying to know what other women are doing globally in regards to fashion. Is there a particular city that stands out to you where the women have grabbed your attention with either their style or the way the carry themselves, or both?

M: I was hoping to come up with a mind-blowing response to this question, but the immediate thoughts that come to me are from what I’m seeing here in SE Asia for the past few months – which is: Not much. It’s been so hot, that most women are just throwing some shorts and a t-shirt on with flip-flops. Although, I have noticed that the majority of women here are a lot more modest than Westerners and even if it’s 100 degrees out, they still cover up with pants and a long-sleeve t-shirt. But then of course, you have the small group of women who still love to wear the designer brands and high heels, no matter how out of place it seems as you’re waltzing down a dirt road with sweat dripping down your back.

We had a layover in Kuwait once and most all of the women were wearing the full-length, long-sleeved black abayas, while also having their hair and sometimes face covered. But even being fully covered, you could spot the ones that were more “fashion foreword” with their designer shoes and handbags, which I thought was interesting and reminded me a lot of that scene in Sex and the City 2 when they’re in Abu Dhabi.

For the most part though, other countries have “westernized” themselves quite a bit and it’s not too far off from what you’d see in America; there are different groups and different trends ranging from high-end fashion to the laid-back look.

S: Europeans are pretty dang stylish, and I’ve believed them to be a bit ahead of us Americans. Report back to me Mish, how would you compare the State’s (specifically SoCal’s) style to Europe’s attire?

M: SoCal is far more relaxed and laid back than European wear, that’s for sure. And you’re right; the Europeans definitely seem to be very fashion-forward. It’s probably convenient that most cities are lined with every high-end designer you can think of. I just want to know how they can afford it all! I would also like to know how all of the women can wear high heels every day, all day, no matter the function. Us SoCal girls don’t tend to do that very often. I know I personally prefer flats and sandals than kill myself with heels.

S: You’ve done a bit of shopping, for example your incredible $7 swimsuit buy! What other style(s) are you going to sport when returning to the states?

M: Since we’ve been on a budget, I’ve actually had to refrain myself from purchasing anything new. I did really good while I was in Europe and didn’t buy a single article of clothing except a pair of gloves, can you believe it? I was pretty proud of myself. But then we got to Thailand and everything was so cheap! So I bought myself a couple of sun dresses and a few tank tops. Mostly because I was just so sick of everything I had by then. I’d like to say I’ll be bringing them back to the states so I can continue wearing them, but to be honest with you, I’m probably going to toss them. Like I mentioned before, I’m going through an “I hate literally everything in my suitcase” stage. So, let’s just say I am very much looking forward to some Forever 21 and H&M shopping when I get back (got to still stick to a somewhat budget until I can find a job again).

S: Your blog is incredibly entertaining, funny, and relatable. I’ve definitely been living vicariously through you since well before your departure. Are you finding it easy or difficult to write and post while you’re globetrotting?

M: It’s actually been a lot easier to write than I thought it would be. We have a very flexible schedule and make sure to throw in a lot of down time as well. Plus, I’m experiencing so many exciting things on the daily, that I usually can’t wait to get back to our hotel so I can blog about it!

S: You’ll be returning to the States soon, what’s the first self-pampering thing you’ll be indulging in upon your return?

M: Pedicure, pedicure, pedicure! This is the longest I have ever gone without one. I’ve brought a few nail polishes along with me and have been doing it myself, but I am very much looking forward to a proper scrub down!

S: Where can we find you and follow you? (Not literally of course)

M: I blog daily at Mish Lovin’ Life:
And I update our travel blog after each new place at Filling In The Dots:
But you can also connect with me on Twitter (@mishlovinlife) and Instagram (@mishlove) – slightly obsessed with those.

Mish, Verner, and a baby Tiger... awwwwwww

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

More Nomadic Fashion Jewelry pieces to shop, shop, shop!


Feedback from another happy customer in Texas!

I am SO pleased with the lovely piece I ordered from NF. 

The pictures posted here, on Etsy, were certainly beautiful...however, after (QUICKLY) receiving my necklace, I was incredibly impressed by the sturdy craftsmanship of my new lovely piece! As I placed it on my neck, I felt empowered with beauty and strength!

THANK YOU Nomadic Fashion for the BEAUTIFUL necklace and shipping it so quickly!

Your lifetime customer

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Do you know where your jewelry has been?

As a young girl, I knew that beauty existed in the details; subtle touches amplified the magic of apparel and fashion. As a designer, I bring that same magic to every step of my process, including the way I ship orders to my customers.

Very few, if any, of my customers know that their statement necklace, droplet earrings, or personally designed cuff makes it to the post office by way of the beach. That’s right, I mount my powder-blue (and slightly rusted) refurbished antique Schwinn beach cruiser and pedal my way along the shore of the Pacific Ocean. My adorable beach cruiser was made for the “boardwalk-highway” style commuting, but its utility in the shipping process was not always the case.

For several years I had journaled about leaving my desk job in corporate America, living by the beach, waking up whenever I chose, walking the dog with coffee in hand, and designing for hours on end. I am now living every bit of that dream. One of the unanticipated perks of doing what I love is riding my bike along the beach, every day.

For every jewelry order that is placed and shipped, it takes a 1.3 mile ride along Southern California’s boardwalk in Mission Beach and Pacific Beach. I, might I say amusingly, guarantee that each shipment is sprinkled with the ocean air prior to being placed in the hands of the United States Postal Service to then make its way to its new owner. How many people can say that of their jewelry? I like to think that there is something magical about my designs as it is, and this element of the shipping process sure puts the cherry on top. It's one last joy ride with my designs before they're delivered to someone else who will cherish them!

There are so many upsides to this way of sending orders, and one upside hard to ignore is that this method is a “green” way of shipping; I don’t get in my car, there are no emissions, and I am saving oil and fuel. However, that was not my original intention. I consider myself to be naturally economically friendly, that has been a part of my creative process since day one. I often upcycle used pieces from jewelry that was either given to me by friends or purchased inexpensively. Nonetheless, I’m grateful that I also get to be earth friendly in so many steps of the design and sell process. Doing so allows me to pass the savings on to my customers. 

Dreams do come true, and when they do, they’re good for the soul and the earth.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Ride, Sarah, Ride

A ride down the boardwalk to drop off a few jewelry orders at the post office, and my brother captured a wonderful moment.

Check out my jewelry on Facebook and Etsy: