Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dallas - Part II

  Day two of Dallas started with me driving downtown Dallas for the first time, in the dark, and rain! My knuckles were white, but I made it to the hotel at 6:30 a.m. in order to get ready for market with the girls of Threads Boutique. We grabbed a quick breakfast in the hotel and then caught the shuttle for F.I.G. where they had an appointment with their Joe's Jeans rep. I took my time browsing the market floor for jewelry artists like myself. I met two really nice ladies (Three Bishops and m.elizabeth designs) that were interested in talking with me.
My main goal was to visit, take notes, talk to people to see if setting up in a market like this is feasible for Bella Vita. I decided that it would be as soon as I figure out a catalog, line sheets, etc. etc. etc. My goal is to participate in a market like this in the next 8 months. 

  After a few hours of perusing the Market Center (which isn't a lot of fun unless you have a store you are buying for!!) I called Brooke and she came to pick me up. We went and goofed off for a few hours and then I came back to the hotel. 

  After a few hours of rest, we headed out to the Dallas Museum of Art for the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit. It was phenomenal! So many incredible designs in one exhibit. I don't know a lot about Jean Paul but I really enjoyed and appreciated his work. For more about the exhibit check out the website and this radio news story I found online. 

  I didn't get to wear my cute, coral-pink dress after all... I just didn't feel comfortable in it. I opted for leggings and a cute sweater and boots :)
  From the museum we headed to dinner at Dragonfly in Hotel ZaZa. The interior was so lovely... I think this was the main reason Leila picked this as our dinner spot. Check out the adorable wallpaper we sat by! Don't look too close, the flash picks up all the stains on the wall...

  Friday we got up, found a cute local diner and had a goodbye breakfast. I joked with Leila about how we always try to figure out ways to see each other. She lives in Louisiana now and I am in Oklahoma and we have managed to see each other quite a few times in the last 6 months. Not sure when the next time will be, but I am sure it will be an interesting adventure!

  As you read this blog post, I'll be in the sky flying to Tucson for the Gem and Mineral Show. Please do keep up with my posts! I'll be blogging and facebooking daily. If you have any special requests please leave a comment below.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Dallas - Part I

  Wednesday I set off for my trip to Dallas. I drove down and spent the day with my good friend Brooke. We started off with lunch at Bolsa, in The Bishop Arts District. This was very yum! We shared the bruschetta (sp?) platter and then a ham sandwich. From there Brooke took me to Dude, Sweet Chocolate which is a "funky artisan dark chocolate" shop. We sampled a handful of their chocolates and made decisions on which to buy. I purchased the Urrunaga Bros. (Avoca's Peruvian Coffee and Sweetened Condensed Milk Fudge), and the Vincotto (Fig, Moroccan Almond Soft Toffee). Vincotto was by far my favorite and I can't stop eating it! I HIGHLY recommend checking this area out. There are tons of restaurants and boutiques and definitely GO GET SOME DUDE, SWEET Chocolate!! 
  From here we made our way to Ikea in Frisco. I had never been to an Ikea store. I specified their products a lot on my design projects in college so I always wanted to see them in person. Ikea is a little overwhelming... especially if you aren't really shopping for anything in particular. I had a lot of great ideas while in there but only came out with a hanger for scarves, plastic cutting boards, and a mat for a rug. I have always wanted to visit the store so I did! Yay! I can mark that off my list of things to do ;)
  After Ikea we met Brooke's husband Mike (the man who married Matt and I) for dinner. 
A fun, fun, fun day! It was so refreshing to hang out with my girlfriend and just be girls and giggle ALL DAY. Or maybe that's just Brooke rubbing off on me. What ever it is, I can't wait to go back for another girls day out!

YUM! this was my favorite chocolate!
Me in front of the pretties, largest yarn bombing I have ever seen!
Brooke and baby Harper (2 months).

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Valentines Stampings

  I have been working on a batch of custom stampings for Valentines Day. If you are interested in a customs stamping please, please, please email me as soon as possible! brandy.elizabeth@gmail.com
  The stampings can be as long as you want, can be naughty or nice, sweet or scandalous! The sky is the limit and 100% confidential! Here are some examples I've been working on. 

Custom stamped charm necklace, $25 each.
3 custom stamped charms, $50.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

  Last Sunday Matt and I took off for the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is about an hour South and West from Norman. I was completely impressed and amazed that this existed in Oklahoma. I am so used to the flat lands that we live in, but this was far from that. 
The large rocky hills made made me think I was in New Mexico. I think the tallest one is in the 1,000 foot range.

  There are also roaming buffalo and long horn cattle. We didn't get very close to the buffalo but we had a few cows wander pretty close to us.
The day was beautiful and warm. About an hour into our hike we noticed the sky was turning hazy and by the time we got out of the hills the view was very "apocalyptic" like! The wind was insane! I would say the gusts were up to 40 mph. All in all it was a beautiful day trip! I highly recommend checking this out if you are a local or traveling through Oklahoma. There were quite a few shorter trails to hike, we chose the 5 mile loop which was one of the longer ones but made for a perfect hike! After the hike we strolled through Medicine Park which is an old historic resort town that has been restored. I wish we had more time to spend here but we had a dinner date with friends in OKC. I think we will go back for another day trip soon!
  We met our friends at their new house, which is amazing and made me totally jealous! I want to own a house. It was built in the 20's and is absolutely perfect!
From there we went to Republic Gastropub at Classen Curve. This was a new restaurant for Matt and I. I am trying to eat a new restaurant every time we visit OKC (which isn't that often, or not as often as you would think b/c it is only 30 minutes away). We all ordered a different beer and a couple of appetizers. Matt and I shared a Reuben with french fries. All in all the food was really good, a step up from pub food. The beer was good too. It was a little over priced for me to return but I am glad I got to check it out once. The design of the interior is pretty fantastic so that was nice to see. Again, if you find yourself in Oklahoma City, check out this gastropub, definitely worth hanging out in the modern space. And, Anthropologie just opened in the same shopping center!!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Testing posts from my phone...

I'm debating on whether or not to take my lap top to Tucson this year. Pretty sure I can just blog about my journey from my iPhone. So here's a test.
Happy Sunday!

Saturday, January 21, 2012


  This lovely image popped up on my facebook feed the other day and I have to say I am in love with ALL of it! The image is from Ylang23, a jewelry store based out of Dallas. Coral is by far one of my favorite colors as well as a color that flatters my skin tone and hair color.

 And this little beauty is the dress I will be wearing to the Dallas Museum of Art's exhibit, "The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk." 
I found it yesterday at , Unlabeled, where you can also find Bella Vita Jewelry!
I'll check in next week and tell you all about my trip to Dallas Market. 
Have a great weekend!! xoxo

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pantone Spring 2012 Colors

 The folks over at Pantone have selected some stunning colors for Spring.
I am especially excited about "tangerine tango," "cockatoo," and "margarita! And, one of my all time favorite color combinations; "solar power" (gold/yellow) and "sodalite blue" (navy/royal).
What colors are you looking forward to sporting this Spring/Summer? I hope you enjoy some of my favorite color combos and styles from the Fashion Color Report.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Vintage Earring-palooza!

  Yesterday I spent the day sorting and organizing all of my vintage baubles. I also took the opportunity to make some cute new earrings out of old charm bracelets and broken clip on earrings. I priced these items low! The sale will only last another day or two then the prices will go up to full price. I hope you enjoy some of my first designs of 2012!


Friday, January 13, 2012

Earrings - 1st Design of 2012

  I am dying to get back to my normal schedule of making jewelry like crazy. But, I have to do tedious things like sort receipts, end of the year numbers, and inventory before I get to be creative again. 
I did get the studio back in working order! It sure feels good. I will post some pics next week when I get it looking good. I had it all cleaned up then got all my end of the year paper work out so now it is a mess again! 
But, good news!!! I was able to hire a helper and she starts next week. I am really excited and relieved to know that I have back up. I have been getting really overwhelmed with all the work I have needed to do. 
  I did sneak in a little earring design this week. I had been thinking about the style in my head for a few days so I just HAD to sit down and make them. They didn't work out with the first bead I used but then I put these Czech glass drops on and they worked like a charm, I even had a facebook giveaway and got some great feed back. I was a little unsure about the design at first but from the looks of the comments on facebook they are a go! They will make their debut on my website as part of my Spring/Summer 2012 collection and will be available in 5 colors.

  As far as my "goals" go... I have still been sticking to them. Made it to the gym 3 days this week and hope to go at least one more day and maybe even a yoga class too. We had an overnight guest on Wednesday so I didn't cook, nor did I cook last night and probably wont all weekend (well much). We have another round of company coming today! We are very excited to host our friends from Little Rock this weekend.
 I have ridden my bike to work every shift this week... today is gonna be a killer though. I think the temp will only be in the 20's. And, I read a few more chapters in my book. I hope that you all don't mind that I talk about this on here. It really helps me to stick to my goals if I can talk about it. :)
Have an wonderful weekend!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


  Yesterday was awesome! I woke up early and went straight to work on my Studio. It pretty much took me all weekend to get things in a working order and yesterday I worked on sorting and organizing materials that were on my work table. Little, tiny, pieces of jewelry... everywhere! It's insane. You would think that I would just clean up behind myself when I go from project to project but that isn't so much the case.
  I had to stop around 9:30 in order to get ready for my "real job." So I rode my bike (one of my New Year's goals-- ride bike more!) to work. Did my waitressing thing then got off early, which couldn't have come on a better day! 
I used to like to get up really early, like 5:30 early, to go to the gym but I have found that I prefer to work before the gym. So now I have been going in the afternoons when I need a break from work. Anyway, all that being said, I made it to the gym after work (stuck to another goal-- exercise).
  After that I was starving! I ran to the grocery store to grab some fresh veggies for our dinner, which was tacos. Cooked dinner (one more goal-- cook more), had one margarita, probably ate a little too much but we have a hard time passing up tacos. Then, showered and got ready for bed. I even stayed up long enough to get over the first wave of being sleepy and then proceeded to read my book until about 11 (another goal-- read!!). 
It felt good to stick to my goals. I haven't been exercising or eating right and I think my body hates me for it. I am tired and sluggish and just unmotivated. I find it hard to run a small business, hold down a part time job and be good to myself, my husband and our dog. Life is all about balance and it is easy to lose sight of that. Here's to finding it and keeping it!

The book I am reading...

Part of my order from Cool Tools arrived last week. I haven't had a chance to play with any of it but hopefully I will asap! My kiln should be here in a week or so ;} eeeekkk!!!
On the books for today... 
-Figuring out my trip to Tucson... this girl has a plan ticket but no one to share a room with! Know anyone going that might want to share a hotel room? Please let me know.
-Cleaning up the last remnants of the "Big Rearrange" of 2012.
-Make some earrings! --most excited about this! I haven't made jewelry since before Christmas.
-Probably a little book work.
-Exercise and cook dinner :)

Happy Day to you!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cleaning, Organizing, Sifting, Rearranging

  January brings new beginnings, resolutions, goals, ideas, fresh starts etc. etc. etc. To me it is always a refreshing time of year, the big reset... A whole new year is ahead of us. Perhaps I look at it like this because I am the owner of a young, small business.
  I have many goals and ideas for new jewelry lines that I want to design in the upcoming year. I have two big shopping trips in the next 6 weeks, a research trip to the Dallas Market, and possibly a class or two in metal working techniques. (All before March 1st)
  But, before any of this can happen I have to clean out, organize, and rearrange my studio. This might not sound like a big deal but trust me, it is. 
As a collector of vintage and antique items (not just jewelry, decor too), I have acquired a lot of "stuff." Which is kind of crazy to me because I often think of myself as a minimalist... probably not so much anymore. So in between my shifts at my day job (waiting tables) I have started the cleaning/organizing process. I just drew up a sketch of I will rearrange the furniture in my studio and now have to get everything ready for the "big move." Hopefully, crossing my fingers, today will be the day that I get enough done to start moving furniture. 
  As a child I was always rearranging my bedroom. I loved the feeling of a new scheme. I think I'll feel the same way after I complete this project. Hopefully it will be completely inspiring too!

A small fraction of my vintage materials stash!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake

  My contribution to my family's Christmas lunch was this amazing cheesecake from Southern Living Magazine. I found it in the October or November issue and knew I had to make it. 
This was my first attempt at making a cheesecake. It wasn't hard at all... just a lot of instructions to follow. The cheesecake was a hit at the party and I had plenty of left overs and polished them off last week. What did you make over the holidays? 
  Cooking more is one of my resolutions... I almost hate to call it a resolution. I prefer to call them goals. Other goals I set are to stay organized, exercise, be positive, and have fun.