StudioJewel - Journey of a Jeweler


  • Top 10 reasons to take a Royal Caribbean cruise with your family - my favorite thing
    Family vacation? Yes please! A cruise? Yuck. 
    That was the last place I wanted to spend my money. Tiny rooms. Germs. Drunk people. Too much food. Rocking boat. THAT was the picture in my mind. To waste our hard earned money THAT way was so not going to happen!

    Here is the back story. We have never taken a family vacation. I mean a real vacation. Sure we've been to Great Wolf Lodge. A tiny cottage up north (where I did all the cooking). A drive out west (where I packed the coolers). But I'm talking vacation. Everything taken care of. Plans all made. Goal. Relax. Enjoy. Sit back. You know REAL vacation. The kind you read about "everyone else" going on.

    We had decided several years ago that we would begin saving for a "real vacation". We weren't sure when we would be ready?but we had a foggy goal. It began to look like a post graduation trip. Possibly the last time we would all be together?because really?who knows. We thought Europe would be amazing. 
    taken on our Royal Caribbean cruise 2014

    Then we met with our friend / travel agent and found out that yes indeed we could afford a Europe trip. We just couldn't afford to get there, unless we wanted to swim. And if anyone knows me?swimming is just not an option! :) Now what? We really had no clue. My heart had been set on Big Ben, the English Channel and maybe, just maybe the Eiffel tower.

    Travel agent Mike, sensing my disappointment, and knowing my serious aversion to cruises?threw it out there anyway. You could do a cruise, he said. Biggest ship on the seas, he said. Perfect fun for everyone in your family, he said. I promise, he said, as he looked in my eyes?you will love this trip or I will pay for it.

    My first thought. He's bluffing. My second thought. He thinks I'm stupid. My third thought. He really is our friend and he truly wants us to have the best vacation ever. Ok, tell me more. I said. Sell me. He did.
    Both my man and I were somewhat convinced that this would be great for the family. Book it. We said.
    We came home and told the kids. Of course the smallest person was immediately excited. I mean to her anything outside of Michigan and Indiana is a thrill! The teenage girls were a bit more skeptical?could it be mom's "I don't want to ever go on a cruise" attitude had worn off on them? The man child. Not thrilled at all. {{gulp}} what have we done?

    This was winter. By the time spring came we were gaining excitement. May? Just about giddy. June? We couldn't wait.
    Time to go! Aside from leaving VERY late for our 3 hour drive to airport, my man, aka Mario Andretti, got us there on time?if not early! An overnight in Fort Lauderdale. Ship in the morning. We were, by now, over the moon excited and let me tell you?it was worth it. It was amazing. It was perfection. I give you - Royal Caribbean - Oasis of the Seas
    Now I could tell you all the details about our vacation?but that is fairly boring?I mean look how much you already read! What I will tell you is the top 10 reasons this was the best vacation EVER. (these are in no particular order)

    1. The ship is amazing. It's huge! A complete floating city! And it was stellar clean! Not a speck of garbage anywhere. No chipped paint. No dirty carpets. Clean and sanitary. And if you were thinking "ewww" at any moment?there were hand sanitzer stands every where - no excuses.

    2. The food. I mean the food. The choices were endless. I could eat as healthy as I wanted to?or indulge in all sorts of "evil". But I loved that it was MY choice. And it was superior. And if, on the off chance, I didn't like something - they took it back and brought me something else!

    3. You don't have to spend ANY extra money. We paid our tips ahead of time and we chose to not purchase any of the beverage packages. Like unlimited soda. Or the alcohol package. There was water, ice tea, coffee and flavored water every where - so we didn't feel the need to drink anything else. As for alcohol, I did buy a couple of bottles of wine for week for dinner - I can't even imagine drinking all day long?but that's us. There are restaurants on board that cost money, however, since all our meals were covered and there was a virtual cornucopia of food available, we didn't think it necessary. Did I mention there is a bakery, a sandwich shop, a pizza place, a cafe and ice cream machines available almost 24/7? See what I'm saying?

    4. No internet. This means no phones. This means family conversation. This means heads looking up. A rarity. A luxury. It was the best. Again, there was an option to purchase wifi?but we said no. Vacation. We could escape for a week. This may have been my very favorite part. True connection. Real connection. It was magical.
    5. The fitness center. Ok, I know some of you just laughed?or scoffed?same thing. But I like to exercise. Some of my kids like to exercise. Noah pretty much thought he died and went to heaven. At one point I was laying on the floor with my girls doing crunches and I exclaimed?."I'm working out?on a ship?and it's moving!" Mind boggling. And if you haven't run around a track when you are out at sea in the middle of no where?then you are totally missing out!

    6. The ports. We were in the Western Caribbean - Haiti, Jamaica, Cozumel. Just beautiful. We did choose to spend money on one excursion. Snorkeling in Cozumel - it was spectacular. The water was a brilliant aqua blue. And the fish did not fail us. Everywhere you looked! Every color! I only wish I had an underwater camera! It was a bit crowded with a boat full of people getting out in one spot to snorkel?but still...so much fun. And absolutely worth it! Even the boat ride was a blast. Laying out on the top of the deck. They even served fruity slushy drinks and margaritas on our way back! 
    7. The staff. Every face was smiling. Every person genuinely wanting to serve and make sure we had everything we needed. It was a multi cultural experience. People from all over the world. We loved that. Each evening for dinner we chose to eat in the same dining room, in the same section, in order to have the same 2 waiters - they made dinner time so special. Remembering our names. Remembering our preferences. The same with our cabin steward. He was such a gracious gentle man. Even though we had paid our tips ahead?we tipped these individuals a little bit more. They earned it!

    8. The night life. The options were over the top! We tried to take in as much as possible. A musical?Hairspray. A comedy club. An high diving aqua show. An ice skating show. A headliner. A cirque du solei type show. On top of that there were parades and karaoke and a little club on our floor called Glitter where I did a little dancing with the girls?but mostly listened to the talented band.
    9. The promenade. A "street", complete with Starbucks. Did I mention this boat was huge? On the promenade were photographers. The pizza joint. The cafe. The Karaoke bar. And shopping. It was the primo place to people watch. And let me tell you?with 8000 people?there is PLENTY to see! It felt like you were sitting outside at a cafe, on a balmy evening, in a busy - yet exceptionally safe - city. 
    10. I'm not sure I can stop at ten. So I'll give you several quick reasons! 
    • Dressing up / formal nights - so fun.
    • 7 pools / hot tubs to choose from. 
    • Room service coffee and fruit on the balcony in the morning. 
    • The zip line. 
    • The flow riders.
    • The rock climbing wall. 
    • The cookies. 
    • The no real schedule. 
    • The view. 
    • The quality of people. 
    • The artwork on the ship.
    Needless to say?I will never ever diss a cruise again. At least a Royal Caribbean cruise. And you cannot beat the Oasis of the Seas. So there Mike. You win. You were right. We loved it. And IF we never take another family vacation again?these memories will stand the test of time.
    ****side bar*****
    When you wait to take your kids when they are a bit older on a "mega vacation" and to us?this was a mega vacation?two things happen.
    • they truly enjoy and appreciate the vacation?.not to mention they will create lasting memories.
    • they are grateful. each one of our kids thanked us repeatedly. with every new experience they expressed heartfelt thanks. and that meant the world!
    Have you taken a cruise? What? When? What did you think? I'd love to know!

    xooxooxooxo
    lisa

    p.s. and just for fun - a silly little video I made. 


  • Easy Summer Makeup Video Tutorial for your Beauty Tip Tuesday
    It's summertime! And your makeup should be easy and simple and filled with SPF! Here are my favorite summer makeup products and a little video tutorial on how to get your makeup done in 5 minutes!

    Be forewarned?I begin the video with my naked face! Yikes?I must trust you a lot!

    Here are the products used in the video?.

    2. BB Cream by Garnier $12.99 CVS
    5. Kabuki brush from the Body Shop regular price $28 on sale right now for $14.00
    9. Slanted eye brow powder brush
    10. sponge eye liner brush
    11. eco tools blush brush



    If you receive my blog through email you have to click through to see the video?but it's so amazing you just want to?I know it. Here's the link!
    Please?let me know your summer tips and what you thought of the video!

    happy summer!

    p.s. Susan Thompson was the winner of my "get to know you" giveaway last week. thanks to everyone who played along. it was SO nice to read who you are, where you came from and why you stick around. appreciate EACH one of you!

    xoxooxoxo
    lisa



  • Who are YOU and how can we best stay connected - ask lisa
    Blogging is weird. I've been doing it for YEARS. I adore writing, but I know the blogger platform isn't the best. I know those of you who subscribe get emails from lisajl32@gmail.com WHAT? I can't seem to perfect it. I can't seem to change it. But I keep blogging along hoping?waiting?to be saved from my blogging abyss by someone much savvier and techy-er than me!

    In the meantime - I want to know about YOU! How did you get here? A friend? Pinterest? My website? Etsy? Twitter? Instagram? How did you come to this tiny corner on the internet? And what makes you come back? What would make you even happier?

    What I love about this space is that it is so much more than "what I do". It's a piece of who I am. Wife. Mom. Daughter. Artist. Thinker. Survivor. 

    I'm not looking for a "lisa you're so awesome" comment - LOL - pahleeeeese. I'm looking for YOU!

    And if you want to stay even more connected - I have a newsletter that I write about 2-3 times a month. A few updates. Little snippets. And best of all, insight to ANY secret sales I might be having. Last night I announced my Christmas in July sale! HO HO HO. If you go to my website and fill out the form your in! AND?you get a 25% off gift certificate to use later! I'm never spammy. And I wouldn't DREAM of ever sharing your info. You're special to me. I want to protect that.
    So go ahead. Sign up for the newsletter. And more importantly let me know about you in the comments below. Make sure you have an email attached to your comment. I'll be choosing someone to win a $50 gift certificate to my shop just for humoring me!

    Happy 4th of July weekend American friends!

    xooxoxooxo
    lisa


  • How to make healthy flavored water at home and take it with you - my new favorite thing
    Water. A an essential element to life. Drink more water! We hear it ALL the time! In fact I have a weird self rule. Are you ready to see how strange I truly am? My rule? When I walk through the kitchen - for whatever reason - I chug a glass a water. My glass sits out all day. Needless to say, I use the "facilities" a lot as well. {giggle}

    However, even knowing I drink enough water, sometimes I want to step up the water game a little. That's where infused water comes in. I LOVE flavored water. I love seeing huge canisters with beautiful floating fruit. But let's face it. Not convenient. Real world here.

    In steps my Zing Anything - I like to call it a "zinger". My sweet friend Audrey told me about this little wonder - so I went to trusty Amazon.comand "picked one up". Not cheap - as far as water bottles go - but I literally use it EVERY single day. So easy to make. Incredibly refreshing. And it's as easy as doing "the twist".
    Here's the low down. Add your ingredients (I have my favorite combinations below) add the grinder blades?give it a twist. Screw it back together. Give her a shade and let it steep for about 20 minutes! Done! The recommended infusion shelf life is three days for all beverages, if refrigerated. If you plan to consume your Zing creation within a 12-hour period then no chilling is required.
    Slice up your ingredients:
    Add them to the infusing compartment:
    Give her a good twist or two or ten:
    Screw it back together - fill with ice and cold water - shake shake shake - steep for 10-15 minutes?.VIOLA!
    I refill mine with water about 3-4 times per ingredient mix. Then I start over. As long as I start with it full of ice it seems to stay very cool all day long!

    You can use any fresh fruit (except bananas ? ewww gross) - add in some herbs, and spices.

    Also, I am NOT a fan of drinking out of portable coffee thermos' or water bottles?so that made me a bit nervous. This one is actually comfortable to drink out from. Does comfortable even make sense? Well, you catch my drift!

    Zinger has a bunch of other type of infusers as well. One specific to citrus. One for kids. One for vodka?yes seriously. And even one for salad.

    If you purchase through my Amazon link?Amazon will reward me with a dime?or maybe a quarter?ooooo goodie! But it's something bloggers do :)



    Zinger did not ask me to write this post. This is truly something I love and use?thus my desire to share with you! Let me know if you have one?or if you buy one. Zinging is always better with friends!

    Here's some of my favorite combinations:

    • Minty Cucumber Lime
      • 1/2 a cucumber, sliced
      • 1/2 a lime, sliced
      • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
    • Strawberry-Lemon with Basil
      • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
      • 1/2 a lemon, sliced
      • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
    • Watermelon Mint
      • 1 cup cubed watermelon
      • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
    • Orange Blackberry
      • a small chuck of orange (peeled)
      • one large strawberry
      • 3-4 blackberries

    xooxoxo
    lisa


  • white shorts for summer. you need a pair. fashion tip tuesday.
    Shorts. A summer necessity. Yet I have always dreaded them. Too short. Too long. And let's be honest. My legs are not what they used to be. And then there are my teens and tween. Finding shorts that meet my approval is NOT easy. Do I really want to see your butt cheeks? Or anyone else's for that matter? I think not.

    However, it's summer. You cannot wear pants forever. And white shorts? Well, they are just the perfect warm weather item. They make even the whitest of limbs look tan?it's true!
    It's time to embrace who we are and enjoy the warmth of the season with a pair of these beauties. They are like a blank canvas! So many possibilities! Trust me, you still have to wade through the teeny tiny shorts that look like they fit infant butt. But it is possible.

    I have two pairs of white shorts that are my go-to's. The first pair is a bit shorter than I usually go, but they are casual?fun?and cheap?thank you Target! $19.99 5" inseam - I love them. I wore them on my vacation over my bathing suit?I dressed them up with a navy striped shirt (hello nautical!) and wore them with a fabulous camp style tank top from Old Navy?a bit of white on white. Cami tank top here.

    The second pair is from the Gap - boyfriend roll-up linen shorts. Longer inseam. Totally relaxed. Light weight perfection.

    For my girls it was a bit tougher to find long shorts. It's as if "they" want our daughters to show some booty. Gross. One of my favorite options is the high waisted short. Even with a shorter inseam it at least doesn't look like a tiny band across their inseam. Target and Old Navy had high waisted options. Anneke found some fab denim shorts at Kohls. Cute details. Long inseam. And even a belt! They don't have them in white online?we found ours at the store. Best part? Kohl's is ALWAYS having a sale.

    Other great options for finding your perfect pair? Ann Taylor Loft. They have TONS of options! I thought these crocheted trimmed pair were s'cute!

    Now you have em? What to pair with them. Ummm..anything. Thus the beauty of the white short. Ok, too vague. Here's my favorite ideas.

    1. Nautical. Classic. Gorgeous. Clean. Perfect. Choose a navy and white shirt or tank. Add a pair of tennis shoes like SuperGa or Converse and you are a vision of summer!
    2. White on white. This is one of my favorite looks. A button down shirt tucked in. Add a brown belt and strappy flat sandals. Done. Want more casual? White t-shirt and tennis shoes. Use a scarf for a belt to add a touch of color. Viola!
    3. Denim. Choose a light weight chambray top. Add a skinny belt and a pair of colored flats. You look amazing.
    4. Chilly evening. Add a loose flow-y sweater. Tennies or flip flops. Easy breezy casual. And that is what summer should be!
    5. And black and white is an awesome combinations. A cami tank top. A t shirt. A blouse. Anything goes.
    Ok, fine. I'll show you what I mean!
    shorts: Target shirt: Platos Closet bag: Steve Madden shoes: SuperGa jewelry: StudioJewel.com
    shorts: Target shirt: Old Navy shoes: PayLess jewelry: StudioJewel.com 
     shorts: Gap shirt: Forever21 belt: American Eagle shoes: PayLess bag: Free Endearment jewelry: StudioJewel
    shorts: Target sweater: H&M shoes: Converse jewelry: StudioJewel.com
    shorts: Target shirt: OldNavy shoes: ShoeMint jewelry: StudioJewel.com