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Visiting Scotland Again Through the Books of Alexander McCall Smith

  • Jan 20 2015

The city of Edinburgh, Scotland, was one of my favorite places to stay during my European vacation this last summer. It's a rich, beautiful city with intelligent, witty and friendly people, glorious architecture, and a remarkable and layered history. Walking along the cobbled and mounting streets of Old Town, grabbing a cup of hot tea in an almost-hidden alley-placed parlor, and catching a movie in New Town were just a few of the joyous highlights I was lucky enough to experience. Since leaving--three days being far too short a time to absorb such an inspiring place--I have yearned to go back.

While I may not currently have the means or availability to spend a summer or longer in Edinburgh, I do get to travel back to the city through a much more accessible means: reading books by author Alexander McCall Smith.

While being transported to another world via a work of fiction is always an enjoyable stretch of the imagination, it can be just as delightful--if not even more so--to be delivered BACK to a place you have once been through the same means. The above books by Smith are light-hearted, intelligent, and thought-provoking literature, but they have been even more endearing for me to read because I can recognize the places, street names, and vocabulary used and inhabited by the fictional characters within. I cannot help but smile as a character walks down queen street, hopping on a bus at one of the same stops I has also done, while contemplating the deep philosophy and implications of local culture or moral fabrication.

I will be visiting Edinburgh again, most certainly. But in the meantime, I'm glad for this newly discovered library of books by Smith to hold me over.

Flourish & Thrive Academy Laying the Foundation

  • Jan 17 2015

If I had to name one thing that was important to me...

...just ONE thing...

I would respond to you with a single word:

INDEPENDENCE.

Independence is at the core of my ambitions, the goal illustrated by my dreams, and the results I am attempting to manifest through my daily actions.

My pursuit of independence is the spark that lights up my jewelry business.

Yes, I love making the beaded jewelry you'll find on this website, and designing original creations that will help wonderful people from all over the world feel more confident and express themselves and their originality. But that's all part of my internal drive for self-reliance and freedom.

I have witnessed and lived through a lack of independence and it is terrifying.

It's why my mother couldn't leave a spouse that sent her to the hospital with the blows of his fists, or, later, couldn't relieve herself from the bottle that took her life away when I was 16 years old.

It's why so many of the people I care about stay with family or partners who mistreat them, addictions that destroy them, jobs that demoralize them, habitats that bore them, and obligations that gradually wear them down into passive submission.

To be perfectly clear: I love my husband, love my day job, love my house, town, and friends and family. I'm not looking for an escape. I just want to breathe easier knowing I would never have to live my life feeling entrapped in something that isn't serving me or allowing me to serve others to the best of my ability.

To do this, I need to take my jewelry business to the next level.

Right now I am making and selling handmade pieces that I design, market, and sell individually. I love every part of this process, and even enjoy all of the different hats I have to don, but it isn't scalable in the way that is required to obtain the level of flexibility I'm looking for.

I need to take my business to the next level.

My goal for this year, if I can put the pieces together and create a map for it, is to design original pieces that are partly manufactured, and partly hand-beaded. As a new line, it would represent both of my skill-sets in one: digital design, and artisan beadwork. If this is something I can pull off, it would be a more sustainable and scalable way of moving my business forward, where I can then reach for my ultimate dreams.

My desire for this business is to use it as a catalyst to not only gain my own independence, but to supply a tool for women locally and nationally to achieve theirs. I'm not sure of the exact specs of how I would go about this–yet–but I want to partner with non-profit organizations assisting women trying to take charge of their lives and remove themselves from domestic violence or uncomfortable workplace situations. I will use this business as a means to provide employment for these women, teach the principals of entrepreneurship, and spread awareness of what is still too prevalent of a problem in 2015.

As part of my path towards accomplishing these goals and desires—to reach independence and turn it into something infectious to others—I am applying for a spot in Flourish and Thrive Academy's Laying the Foundation course.

I have taken other courses from Tracy and Robin and Flourish and Thrive Academy and can attest to the value and support they provide. I feel I am close—so close—to getting where I want to be. This course will help me refine my jewelry collections, figure out how to even get started with manufacturing and digital design, and provide me with valuable feedback and support along the way.

(You can learn more about this course and the scholarship contest here: www.flourishthriveacademy.com/2015/01/16/win-scholarship-ftas-laying-foundation-course-2015/)

This course would provide another step—a big step–towards achieving

INDEPENDENCE.

Miniature Coffee and Tea Cup Rings Loved by Liz

  • Jan 16 2015

Showing off her recent purchase from Megan's Beaded Designs, Liz of the fashion blog Luxe by Liz recently boasted, "I was finally able to get a mad hatter tea cup ring AND a latte ring. They are such unique pieces and sooo adorable. I had a blast styling them and can’t wait to wear these quirky little rings all the time :) I got so many compliments when I wore them for the first time over the weekend!"

Miniature coffee ring

She went on to say, "I love working with Artisans and buying from individuals so much better than massive chain retailers and am always so happy to find an artisan that can make such fabulous but also quality things. Megan is a fellow introvert with loads of personality that she expresses through her beaded designs. When she is not working her graphic design job or running her fabulous business, you can always find her sipping on hot tea or catching the latest horror flick. I still have several pieces on my wishlist for Megan's shop."

Miniature cup rings

Miniature Latte Ring

You can snag your own green mad hatter tea cup ring here, or your own miniature cafe latte ring here.

Made with Love - Handmade Valentine's Day Jewelry

  • Jan 13 2015

Say "I love you," "I think you're cool," "I heart Valentine's Day," or "I don't really like this holiday but I think hearts and handmade jewelry are cool, so there!" with a Valentine's Day themed piece of hand-crafted, artisan jewelry from Megan's Beaded Designs.

Gothic Pin Up Hair Clip
Hair Clip - 19.00

Blue Turquoise Heart Necklace
Heart Necklace - 16.00

I Heart Music Earrings
Earrings - 5.00

Blue Hearts Headband
Trail of Hearts Headband - 29.00

Cookie Ring
Cookie Ring - 9.00

Heart Health Gamer Bracelet
Game Health Bracelet - 47.00

Accessories that POP

  • Jan 12 2015

Accessories that POP

Yumi blue skater skirt
$30 - houseoffraser.co.uk

Karen Walker acetate glasses
$75 - theoutnet.com

Yellow nail polish
$4.53 - newlook.com

POP hair accessory
Megan's Beaded Designs

Marsala's Moment: Jewelry Featuring Pantone's Color of the Year

  • Jan 8 2015

Marsala, a rich, deep red wine shade, has been elected as Pantone's color of the year for 2015. The Executive Director of Pantone's Color Institute, Leatrice Eiseman, describes this color by explaining that, "This hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors."

I couldn't agree more.

While this warm, brownish shade might feel more like it belongs to the autumn season, I think that donning some jewelry pieces with some subtle Marsala can easily blend in with your summer, winter, and even spring wardrobe selections, particularly if set against white or sandy yellow.

You'll find a wide selection of jewelry and some hair accessories featuring Marsala in The Rebecca Collection, such as this glorious headband or this chevron necklace.

Marsala Earrings Marsala bracelet Marsala Jewelry

Click here to shop the entire Rebecca Collection.

New Year, New You: Easy Accessories that will Upgrade Your Look for 2015

  • Jan 5 2015

It's 2015. Thank goodness we aren't actually dressing in the fashion that the Back to the Future series predicted.

fashion in 2015

*Whew* thank gawd we missed the boat on that one, eh?

That doesn't mean, however, that many of us haven't resolved to taking our looks up a notch for the upcoming year. Noting, of course, that it doesn't mean we have to sacrifice comfort, conform to what other people tell us we're "supposed" to wear, or any other such nonsense as all that. Really, all it takes to pack some punch and make an expressive impression via your wardrobe is to adorn it a bit. You don't even need to throw out all of your clothing investments and spend your retirement money on a new wardrobe.

(As fun as that sounds.)

You'll feel better about your appearance, boost your confidence, feel more put-together, get more compliments and conversations going by simply topping off your everyday looks with a few new, original accessories from Megan's Beaded Designs.

For example, an easy-to-rock headband can quickly turn hair that you didn't have time to fix that morning into something sleek, polished, and complete.

Boho Headband
Stretch Headband - 114.00

Blue Hearts Headband
Ribbon Tie Headband - 29.00

Wedding
Wedding Headband - 19.00

Equally efficient- who can forget earrings? Instantly elevate and glamorize your look by opting for something long and dangling instead of your usual studs.

Blue Block Earrings
Earrings - $18

Finally, you don't even have to buy new shoes to upgrade the ones you've already got. Simply stick a pair of shoe clips on 'em, and you could wear the same pair every day if you wanted to!

Moonstone Shoe Clips
Shoe Clips - $32.00

You can browse all beaded jewelry here, or hair accessories here.

Bicoastal Brunette Rocks Earrings from The Negative Space Collection

  • Dec 23 2014

Sleek style-maker and fashion blogger Samara Lipsky of Bicoastal Brunette recently rocked a pair of earrings from The Negative Space Collection from Megan's Beaded Designs. Using them to finish off an outfit of cool, all-black, she looked nothing short of fabulous.

Here's what Samara had to say about her new set of stylish adornment: "These modern earrings are just my style! They are edgy and perfect for the day or a night out. The come in gunmetal on black and are flattering for everyone. The outside of the squares are hand beaded and the inside contains a faux- leather square. These earrings measure ¾ an inch wide and 1 and 3/4 an inch long. These modern earrings are lightweight so they won’t stretch your holes. The best part of all is that if you don’t have pierced ears they come in clip on!"

To snag your own pair of earrings, click here to go to their product page.

Punk with a POW

  • Dec 15 2014

Punk Pow

Vintage dress
etsy.com

Crayo purple watch
jomashop.com

Burke Decor fringe shawl
burkedecor.com

Beauty product
sephora.com

Framed wall art
kirklands.com

Fried Egg Earrings
Megan's Beaded Designs

Alligator hair clip
Megan's Beaded Designs

Gift Guide for Guys

  • Dec 11 2014

Gift Guide for Guys