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DEC
10

Holiday Blunders Thus Far


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Ran out of Christmas cards

Sent a portion of my address list cat stationary instead

Went to Michael’s on a Saturday in December

Went to Michael’s in December

Went to Michael’s period

Loaded 40 unwrapped ceramic loaf pans in my trunk

Drove over a curb with 40 unwrapped ceramic loaf pans in my trunk

Went back to Michael’s to replace broken ceramic loaf pans

Asked someone if Harry and David pears arrive ready-to-eat

Went ahead and cut into the just-arrived pear and found it not at all ready to eat

Missed the rehearsal for my office Christmas party’s flash mob

Donated a gift basket with a copy of each of my books to a jewelry auction because one of them is about jewelry and doesn’t that sort of count?

Picked a recipe for this year’s holiday treats that involved candied oranges

Drove all over town looking for candied oranges

Went to Trader Joe’s (found candied oranges) on a Saturday in December

Went to Trader Joe’s on a Saturday

Went to Trader Joe’s period

 

It’s going to be a long month.

JUN
16

Viva Las Vegas

I'm not exactly sure how it is that I've managed to get to this point in my life without ever having been to Las Vegas. Except that I do know. In that I've simply never chosen to go there. My impression of the city has never been favorable, I'm not a gambler (except that company Christmas party that one year that I totally rocked even though the money was fake and no one believed it was any indication of how I would fare in an actual casino....pppssshhh). After so many years of assuming Vegas was a bit slutty, now having been there--for a work trip earlier this month--I can report that Vegas is, in fact, a bit slutty. At the risk of incriminating our society at large (not that it's any secret), this obviously resonates with people. This idea of boozy, scantily-clad evenings spent frittering away money in smoke-saturated hotel bottoms. Sign me up. Except don't. Because that sounds terrible.

I was in town for the JCK show (THE jewelry trade show), and it goes without saying that the place (the convention center...not Vegas, hells no) was a lot like how I imagine heaven. In that there were diamonds, gems, and jewelry pretty much everywhere. Diamonds. Freaking. Everywhere. I even got to try some on (it pays to know people), and when the makers of this Garrard tiara (they design the tiaras for the British Royal Family...in case you didn't hear me, I said the BRITISH ROYAL FAMILY) asked if I wanted to try on this Princess Di replica, I very nearly wet myself. Between that and the limousine that transported me to my next event immediately after, I haven't felt so fancy in all my life. So I suppose if you spend several days in a diamond-filled convention center, your nights in an upscale luxury resort, and get to expense all your meals and cap everything off with a day sitting poolside, maybe Vegas isn't so bad. I may even look forward to next year. But only because of the tiara.

MAR
21

Rethinking Peridot

It probably stands to reason that if you royally slam peridot in your second book for being the hands-down ugliest birthstone, you will inevitably be seated at dinner next to the jewelry designer your company is hosting who just happens to be wearing one of the largest peridot pieces you've ever seen in real life. In that moment you'll have two choices: you can continue to be a peridot snob and eat your dinner the same way you eat your dinner every night. Or you can ask her to hand over the honking thing and eat your dinner while wearing more carat weight than you've ever even tried on.

I chose the latter.

And I would choose it again.

And that, peridot, is the closest to a love letter you'll ever get from me.

DEC
17

My Favorite Holiday Color

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Now, if coming home to find this blingitty bling bling gift on your front porch doesn't make up for you not winning the Ugly Sweater Contest at the holiday office party, then I'm not sure what will.

This Christmas just got a whole lot better.

PS - My sweater was hideous.

MAY
24

From Readers: Jewel Transformation

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Reader Roxayn submitted a jewelry story, and I loved it so much that I wanted to share it. I always love hearing from readers, so if you have a jewelry story of your own, send it in!! Remember that you get a free book if yours gets selected for the blog.

I remember as a young, almost teenager wearing rings, bracelets, necklaces adorned with turquoise.  I loved it.  And then I didn't.  I hid them away in a corner of a jewelry box embarrassed by my passion for turquoise.  I switched to all things sparkling and gold. Fast forward a few decades through dozens of glittering earrings, jeweled necklaces, and bangled bracelets.  Imagine my distress when I realized my cute, darling daughter's birthstone was not glittery or faceted as her name, Jewel, would suggest.  My Jewel had a birthstone of turquoise.  It didn't sparkle like her princess tiaras or her glitter splashed tutus.  Flat, lumpy turquoise seemed to be such a misfit among the other jeweled celebrations of birth—and totally inadequate to celebrate my Jewel.  I said as little as possible about birthstones.

I love to make jewelry.  I found a necklace I really wanted to make—and Jewel, now a tween, asked if she could make one too.  We went on a shopping excursion to find just the right beads.  As we gazed at the variety of sparkling, dazzling beads, I wondered how she would choose which pink ones to use.  "Momma, don't you just love these?"  As I turned to see her selection, shock hit.  You can guess what she chose—turquoise beads.  "Yes," I said, trying to hide my surprise.  "They will look so pretty, and did you know that turquoise is my birthstone?" she asked. I did know. And as we chatted and laughed all through the creative process, I came to know—through her eyes—just how beautiful turquoise can be.  She loved it because it was her birthstone, and for me, it became beautiful in her hands.

MAY
24

From Readers: Jewel Transformation

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Reader Roxayn submitted a jewelry story, and I loved it so much that I wanted to share it. I always love hearing from readers, so if you have a jewelry story of your own, send it in!! Remember that you get a free book if yours gets selected for the blog.

I remember as a young, almost teenager wearing rings, bracelets, necklaces adorned with turquoise.  I loved it.  And then I didn't.  I hid them away in a corner of a jewelry box embarrassed by my passion for turquoise.  I switched to all things sparkling and gold. Fast forward a few decades through dozens of glittering earrings, jeweled necklaces, and bangled bracelets.  Imagine my distress when I realized my cute, darling daughter's birthstone was not glittery or faceted as her name, Jewel, would suggest.  My Jewel had a birthstone of turquoise.  It didn't sparkle like her princess tiaras or her glitter splashed tutus.  Flat, lumpy turquoise seemed to be such a misfit among the other jeweled celebrations of birth—and totally inadequate to celebrate my Jewel.  I said as little as possible about birthstones.

I love to make jewelry.  I found a necklace I really wanted to make—and Jewel, now a tween, asked if she could make one too.  We went on a shopping excursion to find just the right beads.  As we gazed at the variety of sparkling, dazzling beads, I wondered how she would choose which pink ones to use.  "Momma, don't you just love these?"  As I turned to see her selection, shock hit.  You can guess what she chose—turquoise beads.  "Yes," I said, trying to hide my surprise.  "They will look so pretty, and did you know that turquoise is my birthstone?" she asked. I did know. And as we chatted and laughed all through the creative process, I came to know—through her eyes—just how beautiful turquoise can be.  She loved it because it was her birthstone, and for me, it became beautiful in her hands.

 

FEB
03

Harper Lee

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In case you've missed the big literary news of the day (and this is positively epic), Harper Lee is publishing a new book this summer. If you hadn't yet heard, I'll excuse you, as I myself was on Fifth Avenue looking at a couple pieces of estate jewelry (#ihaveaproblem) and had to hear via phone from someone else. But if you don't know who Harper Lee is, then you should be ashamed of both yourself and your high school English teacher.

Harper only ever published one book, and it won a Pulitzer Prize. (Now that's the way to do it, am I right??) To Kill a Mockingbird can only be described as a classic, and while there may be a few people out there who are a little anxious about the story of the adult Scout being disappointing or not living up to its hype (although keep in mind that Go Set a Watchman was written before Mockingbird...it was the original book), I have a feeling the 2 Million copy first run won't be nearly enough.

 

JAN
26

My Morning with DOROT

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I should probably be doing more to prepare for this blizzard than listen to the 80’s Hits radio station and fold laundry. But clean underwear should be near the top of anyone’s snowed-in list. And I stand by that.

Since I will inevitably lose power in this storm, I thought I’d first say a few words about the opportunity I had this weekend to serve with the DOROT organization. A Jewish organization (the word means ‘generations’ in Hebrew), they work to serve the elderly, particularly by connecting them to younger volunteers, many of whom form lasting relationships with the elders they serve.

Yesterday DOROT delivered winter care packages to hundreds of elderly (many of them shut-ins, unable to leave their apartments) throughout NYC. The packages contained not just food, but warm hats, gloves, and other things needed in winter. (Just in time for the storm!) Of course serving others is its own reward, whether or not the experience is a particularly positive one, but I feel doubly fortunate that the woman I was assigned to visit was such a gem.

I talked with her for about an hour (socialization is another thing these elders are in need of), and in addition to her beautiful Abyssinian cat (the cat lady bond runs deep), her noteworthy career in film (she was “very fond” of Peter Falk, and Shirley MacLaine “did not suffer fools”), when she learned of my gemology studies, she had me fetch her jewelry box, and, drawer by drawer, she showed me her treasures and told the stories behind each one. None were particularly remarkable or valuable pieces, but the stories were incredible, and this amazing woman thanked me for giving her the chance to remember things she hadn’t thought of in years. (Sidenote: Yet another testament to the significance of jewelry and what it can represent to us.)

As a society, there’s so much we can do for each other. I know time is precious and not one of us has nearly enough of it. But if any of you in the NY area are looking for an opportunity to serve, I strongly recommend this organization. You don’t have to be Jewish (“Well you’re obviously not Jewish,” the woman I visited pointed out rather comically when my blond-haired, blue-eyed self showed up at her door), and I promise you you’ll not only enjoy yourself and want in on the next planned delivery day as well, but you'll also wish you had gotten involved sooner.

DEC
24

Roots and Wings

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I love living in New York, but it's hard to beat this view out your back window. Yes, I love living in New York, but I'd be lying if I said it was stress free. Au contraire. It's noisy, it's expensive, and the woman downstairs keeps whacking her ceiling as hard as she can every time my cat runs across the room. Of course, these things seem less significant when compared to all the wonderful things about living in New York, but still, there are days it wears me down. There are days when the woman downstairs wins. 

All of this is to say that I am enjoying my extended Christmas vacation in Oregon perhaps much more than I have in other years. The contrast is so refreshing. Everything is quiet and the air smells clean and piney. There are tree-covered hills in every direction. There are high school friends raising families. There is my jeweler who asked me once again yesterday how long before I am ready to buy his store. Of course, these things seem less appealing when compared to the economic challenges and realities of living in rural, southwestern Oregon, but still, there are days when it wins me over. There are days when the city can't compare.

I know, I know. A girl can certainly have roots and wings, and I guess I should consider myself fortunate that both places are so special to me. And with that, I must return to my Christmas Eve activities. There's a pie to bake, presents to wrap, a party to attend. I can promise that before stepping into the building tonight, pie in hand, I will pause, surrounded by green on all sides, and take a deep breath in. And it will smell like rain and trees. More than that, it will smell like home.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

AUG
14

The Jewelry Effect

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It doesn't have a great effect on book sales, I can tell you that. In fact, full disclosure, it's a bit discouraging how much more difficult it is to sell Jeweled than Schooled. Especially when very close to all people who I've heard from who have read both say they actually like Jeweled better. (Even the San Francisco Review liked it better. See this post:The 5-star Book Review ) But out in the world, to the general public, convincing them to read a book that looks every bit like it will be entirely about jewelry is not easy. Even trying to describe Jeweled has me fumbling over my words. You just can't sum it up as concisely (or as universally relatably) as a book about school. Let's try it, shall we?

It's my life in jewelry.

It's life from the eyes of a jewelry lover.

It's a look at the jewelry industry through the eyes of a jewelry lover.

It's a look at life, love, and family through a series of stories and reflections about jewelry and the impact it has on all of us.

It's a series of stories about jewelry and the effect it has on life, love, and family.

The life, love, and family is sort of what gets lost here when I find myself explaining to people what Jeweled is about. Remember, that's what one of my early readers called me up about as soon as he'd finished reading...that the back of the book did nothing to capture the true sentiment of the book, which is actually about life and love.

Still, I like Jeweled better. If for no other reason than it is much more unique to me and my life and passion. I mean, how often do you meet a girl who throws jewelry-themed parties where the guests are forced to play matching games involving diamond cuts? (And how often does said girl become secretly appalled when all of the guests positively *suck* at this game? I mean, what self-respecting adult woman doesn't know that April's birthstone is the diamond? Or that the skinny, football-shaped cut is called a marquise?) Next time, they should read up beforehand. I know just the book.

 

JUL
07

Definition: Fortuitous

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Not sure there's any other word to describe being at an author fair selling your new book about jewelry and having the author to your right be--get this--a jeweler. I'll say that again. He was a freaking jeweler! Like metals and gems and his own studio and stuff. It made the already beautiful day that much more delightful, and I kept looking around at all the other people I could have been seated next to (we did not pick our own arrangement) knowing none would have made for as enjoyable an afternoon as the one I had.

Not that Loganberry Books could have known (or are they just that good?), but I thank them. Not just for my seat placement, but also for putting on such a wonderful event on Saturday. From the cucumber sandwiches to the sunscreen, surely no group of authors could have felt more cared for. (Unless they'd given us all diamonds.)

JUL
01

Strange Seizures Beset Us

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A side effect of writing a book about your lifelong love of jewelry is that people will begin associating you with jewelry. Any jewelry experience they have, they will tell you about. Any purchase they make, they will show you. And more to the point, any trip to Tiffany's they take, they will snap a picture outside the store and send it to you.

For the record, I love all of this.

I love that a co-worker recently sent me a note about the Tiffany gift she purchased for her daughter's 21st birthday ("Her first blue box!"), and that another co-worker mentioned that he thought of me when passing the flagship Tiffany store while on a recent trip to NYC. I love that in the past month I've received pics of people outside various Tiffany stores, pics of new pieces of jewelry that people have bought or received, even a copy of the description of a $225K ring from the insurance agent preparing its policy because she knew I would appreciate it. I love hearing a woman tell me Jeweled has inspired her to get her wedding ring fixed finally, or sized finally, or how the book has inspired her to stop in at Carlton Jewelers. All of these things have happened, and I hope they continue to happen. 

It's weird that jewelry is my thing, but I always end up back at Annie Dillard's quote, the one about our responsibility to write about the things that fascinate us, the strange seizures that beset us. "There is something you find interesting, for a reason hard to explain. It is hard to explain because you have never read it on any page; there you begin." Sage advice, no matter how you look at it.

(PS - If you have a jewelry story you'd like to share, submit it on the "Share Your Story" or "Contact" links of this website. If I use your story on the homepage, you'll get a free copy of Jeweled!)

JUN
03

On Love

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The feedback from early readers is that most of them like Jeweled better than Schooled. I confess this is very surprising to me, as I figured the universality of school would ultimately leave readers more satisfied than a book about jewelry…which, admittedly, is something most people don’t know about, care about, or wish to read about.

I heard from someone over the weekend who told me he liked the new book ten times better than Schooled (praise, indeed!), but his one complaint was the back cover copy, which he felt didn’t really capture the spirit of the book. (Let me just say right now that deciding on the back cover copy is much harder than actually writing the book.) What this reader was saying is that while the back cover copy focuses on the gems and the jewelry, the book is really held together by the stories I tell about love and marriage and family.

A bit of an A-ha moment, as I hadn’t really thought about this book as being held together by love (although I do say in the book that the connection to love is one of my favorite things about jewelry). As I’ve thought about this over the days since my conversation with this reader, I suppose this might be why people are more pulled to this book than I predicted they would be. Here I thought I wrote a book about jewelry, when the overarching theme ended up being one that’s exponentially more universal.

MAY
20

It's My Party, and I'll Wear Two Carats if I Want To

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Surely, this was the real song title they were searching for in 1963.

Well, the book is out (Kindle to follow shortly). And given the subject matter, a jewelry store was a perfect place to have the release party; a party that ended up being such a wonderful combination of people all gathered to support me. Which is exactly how I felt...supported. It's hard not to feel silly at a party thrown entirely for yourself, but on the other hand, it does feel nice to take a moment and acknowledge accomplishment, regardless of how insignificant (and unprofitable) it will end up being.

And of course, now that the first wave of readers are reading the new book, it's been exciting to hear the initial feedback. This book really is so different than the first. And so, so sparkly.

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