Sunday, May 31, 2009

Let’s Get Catty

It wouldn’t be fair to all the felines out there if we looked at pug pictures only, would it?

Let me introduce you to Cookie – Tuck’s younger sister. They get along most of the time, but Tuck does get jealous when Cookie gets attention. Cookie loves the outdoors and like all cats, LOVES to play with all kinds of bags!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pug Off!

Remember Tuck, the pug who made a cameo appearance on this blog in its early days? For Christmas he got a “Pug Off” tank from one of the greatest shops on Etsy – miascloset!

While I wasn’t able to get pictures of him wearing it, I got a few shots of him for you!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Wearables – Necklaces Featuring Maku Studio Pendants

When I first joined Etsy, I spotted an item from Marianne Kasparian’s shop, Maku Studio, on the front page. (By the way, Marianne’s friends call her Mak). I was immediately intrigued by it, and went to visit her shop. I was amazed how beautiful and unique Mak’s pieces were! She uses the raku process to create the most amazing color combinations that have a natural feel. To learn more about the raku process and read Mak’s biography, click here.

I contacted Mak and asked her to make a few custom pendants for me so that I could use them in my jewelry. When I asked for specific colors, Mak said that she would do her best, but the raku process is unpredictable – you never quite know what color you’re going to get. This exciting unpredictability sealed my love for raku and Mak’s work!

Here are the three pieces that feature Mak’s one-of-a-kind pendants and focal pieces! Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

You know my obsession with frame beads… Here is a gorgeous Smoky Elegance Bracelet - Faceted Smoky Quartz and Sterling Silver Bracelet with Handmade Raku Bead that features the focal “frame bead” that Mak created for me recently!

Raku Pendant and Smoky Quartz Bracelet 3I love the unique design and colors of the pendant in The Sun of Jupiter Necklace - White Rice Pearl Necklace with Raku Pendant.

White Rice Pearl Necklace with Black Raku Pendant 2The natural colors of the Peaches and Cream Necklace - Pale Purple Rice Pearls and White Keshi Pearls Necklace with Raku Pendant are soft yet striking.

Peach and Keshi Pearl Necklace with Raku Pendant 1Be sure to visit Mak’s shop – I know you’ll love it as much as I do!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

It’s Almost Newsletter Time!

Have you signed up for your very own copy of a monthly jaC Jewelry newsletter that tells you about occasional specials, sales and new products?

If you haven’t, be sure to do so here – you will not want to miss the June sale! The details will be delivered to your mail box on June 1; for now, I will just tell you that this sale will feature the biggest discounts offered to jaC Jewelry shoppers yet!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wednesday Multi-Usables – Seat Belt

ice creamThe other day, it was hot and humid out, and I was craving a McDonald’s ice cream cone. It has been at least two years since I had one of those. We go in and get cones, get in the car and keep driving.

Of course, my delicious  ice cream melts prematurely. Two humongous drops of melted ice cream (actually frozen yoghurt to be precise) head straight for my dress but instead fall…

right on the seat belt!!!

My summer dress was saved. Couldn’t have planned it better myself!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Would You Like to Host a jaC Jewelry Giveaway?

Dear Readers

SaleAvatarI need your help. I am having a big sale starting 1 June and need all the help I can get with advertising it! If you are a blog owner and would like to help, I will offer a $10 gift certificate to my jewelry shop to one of your lucky readers! If you would like to hold a giveaway in conjunction with my sale on or around 1 June, please contact me by leaving a comment right here on my blog or e-mailing me (jac@jacjewelry.net).

Thanks so much!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Just like Summer Camp

During a recent trip to Beaufort, SC, we visited Parris Island – one of the two locations where Marines are born! After successfully completing a 13-week boot camp, a new class of Marines graduates nearly every week.

ParrisIsland 2

The first stop we made was near the barracks where recruits live. We saw a Drill Sergeant, and seeing his hat brought back a lot of memories for Husband, who completed boot camp a while back.

Right away, a Military Police representative informed us that the barracks are not a tourist attraction. After peeking inside and seeing the austere conditions, I’d hardly call them a tourist attraction!

ParrisIsland 3

I cannot say the same about the rest of the base – located right on the water, it is absolutely beautiful! See for yourself. If it weren’t for several groups of Marines-in-the-making we saw marching around or exercising on a hot Saturday afternoon, you’d think you were at a resort!

ParrisIsland 4ParrisIsland 6ParrisIsland 5 ParrisIsland 1

Husband said that several recruits in his class were furious because their recruiters told them that the 13-week course was going to be just like summer camp! Poor souls… Did they not watch any military movies?!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday Unreasonables – Cash is King

Gym One of the most important concepts I learned in business school is that cash is king. I just didn’t realize how big of a king until earlier this week when Husband was calling around local gyms to find out how much it would be for a month-long membership. Now that I have graduated, our gym membership in campus has expired. We have another month until the big move and wanted to have a place to exercise.

He calls a place we spotted while driving back from Target one day.

“How much would it cost me to join your gym for a month?”

“$70 unless you pay in cash. Then it’s $40.”

$40 is nearly half of $70! (Well, 57.14% to be exact, but I understate for emphasis.) That’s a pretty incredible difference, don’t you think?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Saturday Receivables – Flats

Recently I came to a sad realization that my high heel days are going to be over very soon – in a little over a month, to be exact! The reason is that we will be living in the Big City, and my “commute” to work will consist of a 12-block walk. Comfortable shoes are a must, and flats or shoes with small heels will do the trick. Shoes are the one thing for which I don’t mind paying a little more – it is important to me to keep my feet happy and healthy, and I found out first hand that you get what you pay for with shoes. I buy classic styles that last me a good while – I still wear shoes I bought in 2003!

I usually buy most of my shoes at DSW at unbelievable prices! While I was surprised to find out that you can now shop at DSW online, I didn’t see anything that I had to have. Besides, there are a lot of brands with which I am unfamiliar, and I prefer to see those in person.

Searching for new items to add to my wish list I headed to Nine West, one of my favorites for well-made shoes at reasonable prices. There I found these adorable Noadiah flat shoes in silver, $79. I love the accent in the front! I have no silver shoes (I can just see Husband reading this and going, “Impossible! You must have something in silver; you have so many shoes!”) Silver flat shoeI found these cute Linea Paolo 'Fallyn' Flats at Nordstrom, another favorite of mine. They are a little pricey at $99.95, but it’s hard to find good shoes in white, so if you’re desperate and if you can make shoes last multiple seasons like I can, then it’s worth it.White flats

These classic Biala 'Raggio' Flats, $74.90, are also available at Nordstrom.

Black flats

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Wearables – Summer Necklaces

With June less than two weeks away, I thought it would be a good idea to review summer necklaces! There are quite a few in my shop. We will admire a select few today, but you know where to find the rest!

I love the combination of pearls and a gorgeous shell pendant in this Mocha Ice Cream Necklace - Chocolate Pearls Necklace with Shell Pendant. What a fabulous summer piece, even if you’re not heading to the beach!Chocolate Pearl Necklace with Shell Pendant 2This cute Red Sea Necklace - White Coral and Sterling Silver Necklace with Salmon-Colored Coral Fish Pendant in soft colors is terrific if you like slightly bigger pieces. It is a bit chunky without being overpowering!White Coral Necklace with Pink Fish Pendant 2 Wear this versatile Hephaestus Necklace - Fiery Orange Coral Necklace long or short! I love the vibrancy and versatility of this free-form coral necklace.Red Coral Necklace ModelAll these beauties are in stock and ready to be shipped to  you!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thursday Edibles – Turkey, Cheese, Mushrooms and Sundried Tomato Pesto Panini

Turkey Mushrooms Sundried Tomato Panini Ever since Husband gave me a terrific Panini maker for the holidays, I have been having fun making all sorts of Paninis! The Panini maker deserves a post of its own; until then, here is a recipe that I created early on, and it has quickly become one of our favorites.

Ingredients (makes one Panini)

Several fresh baby mushrooms of your choice, sliced
2 slices of bread (I used pumpernickel for the pictured Panini)
White truffle oil (read all about it here)
1-2 teaspoons sundried tomato pesto
2-3 slices smoked turkey (or any other cold cuts)
2-3 slices Swiss or Provolone cheese

Preparation
Sprinkle mushrooms with salt, pepper and a few drops of white truffle oil and grill them for 1-2 minutes or until ready using the Panini maker (or sauté in a small skillet). Set mushrooms aside.

Brush a very thin layer of white truffle oil on one side of each bread slice. Set one piece aside.

On the second piece, layer smoked turkey, cheese and mushrooms. Spread the pesto over the mushrooms. Cover with the second piece of bread.
Grill the Panini on medium for 4-5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wednesday Multi-Usables – Newspapers

Newspaper Gift A few days before my Birthday, I came home to find three boxes sitting on the living room floor, all neatly wrapped in a day old Wall Street Journal. As an aside, let me point out that husband has never wrapped anything in his life. This peculiar wrapping job attracted my attention right away; upon closer inspection I discovered a Post-It note affixed to each box. The notes were addressed to me and contained congratulatory messages!

I couldn’t believe it: Husband WRAPPED my presents! This was in stark contrast to his usual gift-giving method: boxes typically go straight out of the UPS delivery guy’s hands into mine – complete with address labels and receipts.

He did an excellent wrapping job, too! So what he used newspaper and Post-Its? (To his defense, he said we didn’t have any wrapping paper. Shhh don’t tell him there are three rolls sitting in the corner of our closet.) He gets points for originality, and recycling is always good!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tuesday Irreplaceables – Organizer

Organizer Right before graduation and associated guests, our place was in dire need of cleaning. Husband declared that I was the culprit of the “drastic mess” that our place was, but of course you all know that I am only partially responsible. Anyhow, I procrastinated until a day before the guests were scheduled to arrive, and then when I couldn’t postpone it any longer I cleaned the place up in no time at all.

The problem? Today I went to look for my organizer, and I cannot find it! Did I put everything away? Yes. Do I remember where I put it? NO.

I rely on my organizer for all important appointments, things I need to do and deadlines. That, and I like to put check marks next to tasks I complete – there is something gratifying in that. :) The worst part is that I have no idea where to look! I checked all obvious places, and it is not there.

Lesson learned: cleaning has unintended consequences. Off to keep looking…

Monday, May 18, 2009

jaC Procures at Ross Boutique – Tank Tops!

tank topRoss is like the gift that keeps on giving! My latest find? Ribbed tank tops! I purchased two 100% cotton tops – one pink, thin, long and SO soft, for $4.99. I am really too short for it, but it is just too comfy to pass up. The second one is turquoise, and not as soft or as long, but fits perfectly, for $3.99. (If you can’t find them in Misses, the trick is to head to the Juniors section – that’s where they’re hiding!).

I am going to make another trip there before the big move and stock up on one tank top in every color! They are perfect for a hot summer in a big city!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Impromptu Strawberry Picking!

A week or two Husband read somewhere that strawberries were in season. I asked if he’d Google where we could go strawberry picking, and 20 minutes later we were in the car going to Page Farms in Raleigh! It was such a great day, and we had a blast picking strawberries!

Here are the rules, but I am sure nobody reads them.

Here are the orderly rows of berries – I love how neat they are!

Here is my progress; the whole experience took at most 20 minutes.

We are proud owners of over 10 lb of freshly picked strawberries! At a $1.35/lb, it is a pretty good deal.

I asked if there were any eggs or fresh milk, and we got a dozen of fresh farm eggs! I used them to make this terrific breakfast.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saturday Receivables – Kitty-Themed Items

As I mentioned before, I really want to get a little kitty when we move. Did you know that fantastic cats can be found all over Etsy? Let’s take a peek at a few of them.

Have you ever met a cat that was not naughty? I love this terrific NAUGHTY CAT, FISHING Recycled Felt appliqué pillow by Alexandra Ferguson.

How precious is this teeny tiny Kitten?! This nice dream - 8x10 photography print kitten kitty cat meow is available at Crown of Storm’s shop.

This Balancing Cat Card from Pocket Studio’s shop is one of the neatest cards I’ve ever seen! LOVE it. There are a few more really awesome cards in this shop – check them out!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Wearables – Floral Designs!

Lately I have been finding myself falling in love with flower components! It all started with adorable sterling silver flower ear wires that I used to create these cute The Sweetest Flower Earrings - Sterling Silver and White Pearl Earrings:

Then, the more I started seeing blossoming flowers, trees and shrubs, the more I was inspired to create with bright glass flowers. The results are these two pairs of earrings and a bracelet:

Sweetest Flower Earrings - Orange Czech Pressed Glass Flower and Sterling Silver Earrings

Sweetest Flower Earrings - Yellow Czech Pressed Glass Flower and Sterling Silver Earrings

A Little Birdie Told Me Bracelet - Sterling Silver, Blue and White Opal Czech Glass Flowers and Pewter Bird Charm Bracelet

Enjoy these summery designs, all of which are available in my Etsy shop!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thursday Edibles - Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

Forget fancy mixes and kits that cost a lot of money. Forget adding shortening and vanilla extract. All you need is fresh strawberries and your favorite kind of chocolate (milk, dark, etc.)! I have used Lindt Excellence bars, and they work wonderfully to create delicious bites of strawberry-and-chocolate goodness.

Ingredients
Fresh strawberries
1 solid chocolate bar (you may need 2, depending on how much fruit you use)

Preparation
Wash and dry strawberries. I use a paper towel or a kitchen towel to pat them dry.

Break the chocolate bar into small squares and place it into a small pot. Melt the chocolate on LOW heat. When approximately half the chocolate has melted, start mixing it gently with a dry spoon.

When the chocolate has melted, hold the berries by the greenery and dip them in the pot one by one. I’ve learned that it helps to tilt the pot so that all the chocolate is gathered up on one side. Place them on a tray or baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or wax paper. Sprinkle with nuts or coconut flakes, if desired.

Place the tray into the refrigerator for several hours until chocolate hardens. Take the berries out of the fridge right before serving.*

*If you’d like to use bananas, peel and slice them into several pieces before dipping in chocolate. Or you can make chocolate-covered fruit kabobs by threading strawberries and bananas onto skewers, placing the skewers on a tray and pouring chocolate all over the fruit! I made these for dessert at Christmas; the whole family loved them!