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Yearning for an Ireland Vacation

  • Mar 16 2015

If you're considering going to Ireland, for a vacation, for a business trip, [insert whatever possible excuse you can muster here], allow me to urge you to go through with it. Ireland is a beautiful country, with an emotional history, and is a fun adventure to explore.

Ireland Vacation

Here are some highlights from my journey through Ireland last summer:

I stayed in this adorable town, Kilkenny. It may be small, but it is bursting with artisans, shops, delicious eating, entertainment, and more! Plus, it's small size makes it super easy to walk from one end of town to another in very little time!

Kilkenny Castle
Did I mention there's a beautiful castle in Kilkenny? Well, there is! And it's also a tourist attraction you get to go in and explore!

Church in ireland>
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Plus--as if castles weren't stunning enough--Ireland is also full of some of the most gorgeous churches ever built. These are also free to explore for tourists during non-mass hours.

Driving in Ireland
Driving on the "wrong" side of the road is tricky to get the hang of at first, but totally worth it for taking your car out onto the Irish country side! Breath-taking views and LOTS of green all along your journey!

Don't forget to stop and take a rest at the Irish coast line. The sight will be somethign you will never forget.

Viking Towner Waterford Ireland
I also visitied Waterford, a slighter larger city south of Kilkenny. Here you'll find the crystal factory Ireland is much-known for, as well as the above-shown Viking tower, full of history and waiting for you to explore.

Plus, Irish pubs. Need I say more?

What Celtic Designs Stand For

  • Mar 10 2015

As with most symbols and legends, the meaning behind different Celtic designs has evolved over the years, but there are some basic, agreed upon meanings that can still apply to the designs today. These meanings remain powerful to us, which is why we are still prone to decorate our homes with them, wear them in our jewelery, along with other personal adornment.

A Few of the common Celtic designs and what they stand for are:

The Infinity Knot

The Infinity Knot is a symbol of never-ending love. This could be romantic love, or the love of a lifetime friendship. You'll often see this design in wedding bands and engagement rings.

Celtic Bracelet Beading Pattern
{Celtic Bracelet Beading Pattern - $3.93}

Celtic Knotwork

Celtic knot work was used for decoration before and after Christian influence in the regions of Scotland, Ireland, and Welsh country. Going beyond their used as borders, knot work designs were used in illustrations to depict humans, animals, and entire story scenes.

Celtic Knot Pendant Beading Pattern
{Celtic Knot Pendant Beading Pattern - $1.99}

The Tree of Life

The tree has long been depicted as an all-giving, all-loving symbol that connects heaven to earth. It's stretching branches represent never-ending life, nourishment, and the inter-connection of all living things.

Tree of Life Earrings
{Tree of Life Earrings - $7.00}

Interested in a custom beaded jewelry piece featuring your favorite Celtic design? Send me a message here and I'll get back to you with a comprehensive quote.

Don't Get Pitched! {Outfit for St. Patrick's Day}

  • Mar 9 2015

St. Patrick's Day is coming, and you'll be needing a little something green to celebrate the Irish holiday, and to keep yourself from getting pinched by the people who are really, really into tradition. (Seriously? I remember being a kid and it was getting tickled, so much less painful.) Anyway, if you don't want to end up looking like The Grinch in head-to-toe green clothing, you can settle for a nice mix of green and black, or green and another color. An effortless way to pull this off is to wear mainly green accessories, a nice accent to whatever other color you were already planning to wear that day anyway.

If you're afraid that wearing mostly green -even if only green jewelry- will make you look Christmas-y in Spring, let me show you an example of a green (and red!) outfit that pulls the look off perfectly, with even the slightest hint of "holiday cheer" that might confuse onlookers:

Luck of the Irish!

Nina Ricci sleeveless top

GUESS black jacket

Pencil skirt

Suede boots

Leather tote

Beaded jewelry

Green Collar Necklace
$20 www.MegansBeadedDesigns.com

Green Beaded Ring
$17 www.MegansBeadedDesigns.com

Hoop Earrings
$12 www.MegansBeadedDesigns.com

How to Change Your Luck

  • Mar 2 2015

Whether you were born in a crappy situation, or have had a series of crappy things happen to you lately, it’s easy to conclude that you’re just an unlucky person. Simple as that. ‘Tis your lot in life and all you can do is brace yourself for the next unlucky thing that’s bound to happen, right?

Well… kind of. But not really.

See, the thing about luck is, it can be changed.

And the best way to change you luck is to change your perception of how lucky you are.

I know that sounds really wishy-washy, but hear me out.

Like most peeps on the planet, I was born into a pretty “unlucky” situation. I grew up in a household with a lot of abuse, domestic violence, alcoholism, poverty, no electricity or running water, lack of nutrition and medical care, the whole lot. I lost my mother during my mid-teens and have been on my own since.

I don’t tell you this about myself to make you feel bad for me, or even to make you compare your situation to mine. Because believe me, I know that there is always someone out there who has had it worse.

I’m telling you about my “born into” situation to set the premise for what I’m about to declare next.

I’m pretty damn lucky.

If you need me to brag about ALL the ways in which I consider myself lucky, we could be here all night. So here are just a few: I’m healthy, I have comfortable shelter, I eat pretty damn good, delicious food on a daily basis, I have a closet full of clothes, I have a fabulous education and the access to gain more of it if I need to, I have a hunk of a hubby I adore and who adores me, I have some of the most loyal and amazing friends on the planet, my mama’s good-lookin’ genes were passed onto me, I have talents I get to share with the world, and a job I enjoy. (I really, truly, seriously could go on all night. But I think you get the idea.)

As I mentioned in a previous post, gratitude is the key to happiness.

Coincidentally, deciding that you’re lucky is also the key to becoming lucky.

Because of some weird phenomenon or trick of the universe, when you start noticing how lucky you are: you become luckier.

Mens Irish Bracelet

Beyond that, you may also start to realize the power you have to change some of your own luck. For example, instead of feeling saddled with a job you hate, you may start to realize how lucky you are to live in a time where job hunting can be as easy as a few clicks on the computer. You can change you luck by finding or creating employment that brings you more joy.

Because luck doesn’t just come from anywhere. We create our own luck.

So you want to be a luckier person?

Here are the steps you need to take:

(1)Realize how lucky you already are.

(2)Take action to change your own luck where you can.

And optional step (3) Buy some Irish-themed jewelry, because, a little extra token here and there never hurt anybody. ;-)

Where I Want This Business to be in 5 Years

  • Feb 26 2015

5 years is a long ways away.

It’s hard to think that far in advance, because it’s impossible to predict everything that can happen between then and now.

But having goals and a target to focus on helps me drive my business forward, hopefully, in the direction I want it to go.

In 5 years it will be 2020.

(Holy crapola! That sounds like a date from a science fiction movie!)

Anyway, 2020 will land before we even know it, and here are my hopes for where this jewelry business will be, or at least be headed towards by then:

I will continue to sell handmade jewelry to lovely men and women all over the world--but a lot more than currently. This business will be profitable, and my day will become an option.

My jewelry collections will be in dozens and dozens of fabulous boutiques, globally.

I will have strong partnerships with other businesses, local and international press, and charity organizations making a difference in the lives of women and girls.

This business will provide an opportunity for women coming out of domestic violence situations to become financially independent through employment, or by learning how to run a business of their own.

This business will make a difference in the world and provide financial opportunities for artists and supporting organizations globally.

The jewelry and accessories sold from this business will set trends and transcend trends.

This business will not only be debt-free, but able to provide grant opportunities for other small businesses looking to make a difference and an impact.

This business will be an inspiration.

(Now how’s THAT for setting the bar high!?!)

The Key to Happiness is Gratitude

  • Feb 23 2015

The Key to Happiness is Gratitude

When I get asked, “How can you be so positive and happy all of the time?” I answer, “It’s because I have so much to be positive and happy about.”

Gratitude is the key to happiness.

It’s so simple, but it’s not always easy to put into practice.

It’s easy to focus and get stuck on all of the negative things in our lives.

There’s always something bad happening that we can get mad about, a feeling of lack we want to remove, or a number of bad things that have happened in our past we can dwell on.

But it’s usually a waste of time, especially if it’s something that’s done and over with and there’s nothing we can do to change it.

You can’t change the past; you can only change your perception of the past.

It’s easy to feel like we are particularly unlucky, or, the victims of our situation.

But remember: everybody’s got their own shyte.

I’ve got shyte, you’ve got shyte.

It’s how we react to our shyte that defines who we are.

When you start feeling down, and find yourself only able to see the dark side of your present circumstances, take a moment to ponder everything you have to be grateful for.

Go into detail.

It will have a bigger impact on your consciousness if you don’t simply think “I’m grateful for my health” but instead think of all aspects of your health that you have to be grateful for, such as your ability to use your legs and go for walks with your adorable dog, the ability to breathe and smell the flowers your hubby got you for your last anniversary, and so on.

Take a minute and consider everything you have to be grateful for, because no matter your circumstances, there is something. You’ll feel better when you do this, and even better the more often you put it into practice.

The more you appreciate what you already have, the happier you will be.

Clash of Colors - Spring Edition

  • Feb 19 2015

Before the weather even starts to warm up or the flowers start looming, spring fashion begins sprouting all around. We can't help it. In no way could we allow ourselves to wait any longer before pulling out our bright colors, soft pastels, and brilliantly clashing combinations of closely related hues. For example, as in the outfit styleboard shown below, the unthinkable combination of pink, red, orange, and yellow - paired perfectly with just enough flecks of lime green to hint at summer, while remaining a look to usher in the spring season. When seeking your own #OOTD, why not take out something of your own to welcome a change in the weather?

Clash of Colors - Spring Edition

Clash of Colors - Spring Edition by Megan's Beaded Designs

Matthew Williamson boho chic dress
$1,530 - matthewwilliamson.com

DESTIN floral print scarve

Tech accessory

Yves saint laurent lipstick
$40 - johnlewis.com

Essie peach nail polish

Chrysanthemum jewelry

Teacup jewelry

10 Tips to Keep the Romance Going

  • Feb 17 2015

Keep the Romance Going

Valentine's Day may have come and gone for this year, but that doesn't mean that the romance has to be over. Far from it. Especially if you are in a committed relationship, keeping the "spark" alive all year round is important and worth putting extra effort into. Below are 10 quick tips on how to keep the love coming after V-day and beyond:

1. Make time and schedule a date night.

Because I run a jewelry business in addition to working a "regular" full-time job, it can be really easy for me to come home from work, only to work on my business for the remainder of the day until it's time to go to sleep and start it all back up again the following day. In order to ensure I'm giving my husband adequate time and attention, we schedule at least 1 date night a week, that I can plan around and make sure I have time for. Likewise, I have friends with children who may not be able to do it every week, but they make sure there is at least 1 night a month they can plan on going out together without the little ones in tow.

2. Have long, thought-provoking conversations.

Put away the phones, turn off the TV, and shut the laptops. Face each other. Then... just talk. It doesn't have to be romantic, it could be about anything. Relationships are formed and maintained via communication. It sounds simple, but it's everything.

3. Compliment each other constantly.

Everyone likes to feel appreciated, especially by someone they liked so much they chose that person to be their partner. Compliment everything from physical appearance to chore-completion skills and beyond. Soon it will become second nature and you'll be nauseating to your friends (but you'll both feel so good about it, so it's worth it.)

4. Little surprises never get old.

Flowers and chocolates are awesome, but so is completing a household chore normally assigned to the other person. The more unexpected, the better.

5. Dream together.

Talk about where you want to travel, what kind of house you want to live in, and what you would like to learn together. Look at inspiring pictures of your goals and start mapping out the steps you could start taking now to make some of them possible.

6. Learn something together.

Take an art or a dance class together. Start learning a new language together. Or even something that might be "boring" such as accounting or the legalities of running a business can be more fun when you get to experience it as a couple.

7. Go somewhere new together.

Whether it's on the other side of the world, or simply a neighboring city, there's some serious relationship cementing that happens while experiencing new places together. (Plus, who doesn't love any excuse to travel!?!)

Notre Dame

8. Hold hands.

In the car, watching a movie, across the dinner table, while walking down the street, whenever possible...

9. Make yourself feel attractive.

Go beyond necessary hygiene grooming and dress yourself up and invest in making yourself feel more attractive. It will boost your self-esteem around your partner, and even make you feel more attracted to him or her as a result.

10. Have a lounge day.

The hubby and I call these delightful excursions "naked days" because we lock ourselves up in the house in nothing but robes for an entire day. We eat ridiculous junk food and binge on Game of Thrones all the while taking the time to enjoy each other in all of our unkempt glory.

Date Night Dress Up

  • Feb 11 2015

Looking for some outfit inspiration for what to wear on your Valentine's Day date night (or Treat Yourself night)? Here's a style board in red and black to get your wheels moving. Individual outfit details with go-to shopping links are below the image, just in case your closet or jewelry box is feeling a little lackluster.

Date Night Dress Up Style Board

Date Night Dressing by Megan's Beaded Designs

Beaded anklet

Buxom beauty product

Dangling Butterfly Earrings
$9 www.MegansBeadedDesigns.com

Flower hair accessory
$12 www.MegansBeadedDesigns.com

Single on Valentine’s Day? Treat yourself!

  • Feb 9 2015

Single on Valentine's Day

Every year I try to prepare for the onslaught of anti-valentine jokes to hit my Facebook feed and lips of my single friends. “I don’t care about being single on Valentine’s Day,” they say, “It’s a stupid holiday anyway.”

But of course, they’re saying these things because they totally do care, their bitterness spewing from their jealousy of all the happy couples around them.

I’m not here to judge.

Being single on the most romantic holiday of the year sucks.

However, always striving to be that annoying glass-half-full kind of person that I am, I feel like there’s no reason you can’t use the holiday as an excuse to do something extra special… FOR YOURSELF.

Buy yourself a new book, piece of clothing, or that necklace you’ve been eyeing on this site.

Head out on a long, romantic walk to collect your thoughts and contemplate your reality, take a luxurious bubble bath, get out the paints you’ve long since stored up in your attic and create a work of art (just for you), and cook yourself something extra special for dinner (or get takeout, and grant yourself a break for the oven for a night).

If you have single friends, may a night of it! Typically there are lots of clubs hosting “single mingles” on Valentine’s Day. Giving you the perfect opportunity to head out and meet some new peeps.

Or, you can just head over to Facebook and read all of the nasty anti-Valentine and I-hate-being single posts until you feel like the worst version of yourself. (Not the best idea.)

Personally, I’d never pass up a reason to pour on a little extra, much-needed self-love!

Pink Valentine Bracelet
Bracelet - $19

Take the time to plan out what you’ll do now, so you don’t find yourself sucked into the social media vortex of negativity that’s bound to happen.

You just might realize, Valentine’s Day isn’t so bad after all, and you can be your own fun date for the day.