Monday, September 30, 2013

How do you unwind?

So I ask you: What do you do to relax? Do you ever take the time to get away from it all? 
After a few stressful months (moving, settling in a new place, career change, etc…) my sweetie and I decided to spend a weekend away at the Pura Vida Spa Resort in Dahlonega, GA . Chuck went for the yoga and meditation classes sponsored by Hope’s Yoga Atlanta; I went for the spa treatments and time to relax on the porch with a good book.
Pura Vida Spa Resort, Dahlonega, Georgia
Pura Vida Spa Resort, Dahlonega, Georgia
Our destination for the weekend was only about an hour drive from where we live. As we drove through the rolling hills, I saw a beautiful hawk floating on the updrafts coming up the hill. The hawk glided across the valley making navigational adjustments with only the slightest tilt of its wings taking advantage of the breeze.  It seemed that the he was totally at peace and relaxed. At that moment I felt it was a sure sign that the next few days would be effortlessly serene. 
Pura Vida Spa Resort, Dahlonega, Georgia
Pura Vida Spa Resort, Dahlonega, Georgia
The main reason for our brief getaway was to take some time to unwind, reflect, and relax. And relax we did. In a matter of just over 36 hours I had experienced my first meditation session, met several new people participating in the yoga classes, dined on healthy spa cuisine (a bit bland in my opinion), had a facial, spent several hours reading and enjoying the fabulous view from the front porch, and enjoyed a bonfire in the woods.  Nothing to worry about except making sure we were on time for our next meal. Priceless.
Pura Vida Spa Resort, Dahlonega, Georgia
Where I spent most of my time, relaxing on the porch.
Pura Vida Spa Resort, Dahlonega, Georgia
The lovely sitting room you enter from the front porch.
The weekend weather was perfect, a bit brisk in the morning and low 70’s during the day.  While my sweetie was taking a yoga class and a meditation walk in the woods to concentrate on the mind-body connection, I went into town and did a little antiquing around the historic town square to concentrate on the mind-pocketbook connection. We each got to relax in our own way. Perfect!

During our stay I couldn't help but think of how valuable these types of mini vacations are to relieve the stresses of everyday life. We needed it, that's for sure! I'd definitely go back. In fact, perhaps we'll make it a bi-annual event.

Please share any suggestions you might have on future spa weekend locations. Just click on word "comments" below and enter your thoughts.


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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Refined Halloween Designs...

I was browsing on Etsy and stumbled upon an artist with an amazing shop filled with wonderful mixed media designs. Several of her creations caught my eye for a refined Halloween party idea that has been lingering in the back of my mind for several years. 

Mirjana Cesar’s designs are a fusion between acrylic painting and fiber collage with emphases on incorporating natural and recycled materials. It's constantly evolving with extensive use of old artisan techniques to achieve original, one of a kind pieces.  She incorporates weaving, beadwork, and embroidery in her mixed media artwork.

I think the fiber art spiderweb heart and the beaded bird from her Etsy Shop would be fabulous on the fireplace mantel for my refined Halloween party...

Mirjana CesarMirjana Cesar

She says that she is greatly influenced by nature, with its inexhaustible beauty.  She is inspired by the plants and flowers of central Florida, as well as vivid memories of her naturally diverse Croatian heritage and seeds of creativity from her artisan grandparents.

“Beauty lies all around us. We forget to look at the simple, small things, like fern buds unfurling, unfolding just like life itself. We should walk the fields of flowers instead of concrete sidewalks.“

The fiber cuff and collar below would work well with my idea of the modern refined witch. No flowing skirt, pointy hat or broom stick, my modern witch would wear a fabulous little black dress and these lovely accessories.

Mirjana CesarMirjana Cesar
Mirjana works with burlap (rather than canvas) because of its organic roughness and its receptivity to her specific techniques. Acrylic paints, fabric cutouts, various yarns, threads and wood beads allow her to achieve a dimensional, primitive but contemporary theme.  Fabulous!

Take a peek at her shop, there are many fun and colorfully works of art available:


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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A letter to my friends...

My Friends, 
We all lead very busy lives, our days are jam-packed with work, family, hobbies, study, and many social and service obligations.  The gift of your time and loving support has been a blessing throughout the years. Today I dedicate this blog post my friends past and present. I want you to know how grateful I am to have you in my life and how much you mean to me…

thanking friends
Thank you for not letting time or distance affect our friendship. (You know who you are, my long distance friends)
thanking your friends
Thank you for asking how I’m doing, and actually wanting to hear the answer. Thank you for making time for me, even on your busiest days.

thanking your friends
Thank you for being there for me through some of the most difficult times in my life. (My father’s emergency lifesaving surgery, abusive relationships, difficult career choices…)

thanking your friends
Thank you for being genuinely happy for my success & good fortune, as if it were your own.

no toilet paper
Thank you for forgiving my faults and lapses in judgment, and for tolerating my idiosyncrasies (e.g. my zero toilet paper phobia; don't lie, I know you want one).

thanking your friends
Thank you for always being my friend, not just when it was convenient.

thanking your friends
Thank you for being honest with me when I really needed you to be. (Does this make my butt look fat? giggle)

thanking your friends
Thank you for hugs, smiles, inside jokes, and adventure memories. (Especially while camping)

Thank you for understanding that I could never write a long enough blog post to express how much you all mean to me.

thanking your friends

I firmly believe that friendships are the greatest earthly treasure we have, and unlike material possessions, friendships may follow us into eternity. 

If this message has sparked any memories of friendship, please share by commenting below. :)


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Friday, September 13, 2013

Weekend at the Lake...

My Sweetie and I are planning a lake front weekend with a group of our close friends.  Within easy driving distance from Atlanta is the Ritz-Carlton Resort at Reynolds Plantation on Lake Oconee.
I know we will spend some time relaxing on this lovely terrace. I can picture myself having a bite of lunch while reading the book I recently purchased about a couple who impulsively moved to Key West from England. It's a very amusing true story.
I love the design of this bar, a great place for the group to gather before dinner. Like any large group, we usually have some late, makeup, and matching shoes to the sundress takes time (wink)!

Our friend Richard has rented a boat for the weekend. The resort has a dock that we can use all weekend.  This patio looks like a good spot to dry off and enjoy a tall cool cocktail and some munchies after playing in the lake all afternoon.
Planning on a great weekend with our 'family' of friends.
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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Yellow Daisy Festival - 2013

I went to the Yellow Daisy Festival last weekend and met a fellow Atlanta Jewelry Designer.  I really like her work, very simple designs and my favorite gem...pearls. Take a Peek...

Etsy Leather and Pearl BraceletEtsy Leather and Pearl Bracelet

Etsy Leather Multi Strand Bracelet

Stop by Carolina's shop and take a look at all the wonderful items.


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Monday, September 9, 2013

Three cheers for the Etsy feedback change…..

Have you noticed the new Etsy feedback system?
I have been remiss in keeping up with the Etsy system updates but I was pleased to see the modification to my shop this week. The change will help buyers and sellers get a better picture of a shop’s performance. The new 5-star rating system will be rolling out to all shops in the coming weeks. 
Here is an overview of the key changes:

1. The seller’s feedback will change from a percentage score (which included the seller’s purchases) to a 5-star rating system from buyers only.
2. The buyer’s profile name will be shown and they’ll be required to leave a comment when leaving a review.
3. There will no longer be feedback left for buyers. (never found this useful)
4. Reviews can be edited. Useful if there was a misunderstanding and the buyer wants to update the review.
Etsy believes that the 5-star review system is more shopper friendly. Many online shopping sites currently use this scoring format, so buyers may already be familiar with this system of rating their shopping experience and product quality.
I’m pleased the buyer’s feedback is being eliminated. I never found a lot of value in grading my buyers; they sent me payment and I sent them goodies…simple.
If you’d like to read the details of the feedback changes just visit this post on Etsy.
I’m very satisfied with the new rating system. I had a very bad experience with the old feedback system. As a buyer I was rated unfavorably because I asked a question about a product I had purchased.  The seller took offense to my question and rated me negatively.  This affected my overall score as a seller. (visit Bad Feedback post here for details). This can no longer happen with the new system.
Let me know your thoughts on the 5-star rating system.

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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Love this.....

Garden Tool Organizer

I've got to add this to my Honey Do list....

Hope you've having a great weekend!

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Check out what I got in the mail…

Lampwork Beads, Moonraker Beads
This week I got some new beads from a favorite lampwork artist: Melanie of Moonraker Beads.  I’m working on a birthday present for an old friend who lives on the Atlantic coast and loves the beach.  Our birthdays are on the same day and we have been celebrating this big day for more years than I care to mention.  I’m going to use these beads and some sea glass to make a multi strand bracelet for her.  I can’t wait to get started.   I’ll post pictures after the big day. 
Information about Moonraker Beads:
  Melanie started lampworking in 2002, after seeing some beads online and realizing that *actual* people made them…one by one…by 'playing' with glass.  After a little digging, she found a beginners class in lampworking and signed up. It was a very basic class, learning to do simple rounds and applying glass.
She went home and ordered a simple kit to continue working on her new craft.  After much practicing and a rapidly growing pile of finished beads Melanie started selling online in the fall of 2002. Not surprisingly her whimsical beads were a hit and a new business was born.
Take a peek at her shop:
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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Refocusing on Blogging

I have been meaning to sit down and write this post for months. But as one day went by, another day went by, and then a week, and then a month, I finally said “I am just going to sit down, and do it!” And here we are.
Just like most folks, I am not perfect, but every day presents an opportunity for a fresh start; a new beginning from this day forward. Maybe you can relate, maybe you can’t, or maybe you don’t even care (and that is ok too.).
To refocus, I had to ask myself some questions this morning:
  1. Why did I start a blog? Simple. I decided to do it because I felt that a number of crafty small business owners might relate to my experiences.
  2. What kept me from blogging for over 4 months? I have been taken aback by the day to day activities of life….Major career change (my day job), moving to a new house in a new community, regrouping after a plumbing disaster, family responsibilities, etc, etc... There really is no good reason not to blog too; I like many other people, I just need to make the time to get things like this done.
  3. What’s been keeping me from growing my little business? Not everyone will, but some of you will relate to the fact that I have been focused on working ‘in’ my Etsy business (instead of on it), taking care of customers, purchasing materials and supplies, planning new designs, organizing a new studio in the new house…etc.
  4. How can I get back on track? Action is in my opinion the main driver of success and achievement. Even if I don’t have everything perfect, it is best to just get out there and take action. I need to put in the time to get things done, even if it is not perfect.
"Even if you're on the right track,
you'll get run over if you just sit there."

So I am taking action and I am working on refocusing my efforts on taking consistent action. I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. And if I can refocus and just do it, then so can you! Start today; don’t wait. Get out there and take action on whatever you have been procrastinating about.
You can’t score any goals in the game of life if you never make an attempt to take a shot. I hope this long overdue blog post motivates you to do the same and if it does, I would love to hear about it!
Wishing all of you greatness and success!

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