StudioJewel - Journey of a Jeweler

  • 10 practical things every teenager should know before they go to college
    Teenagers. They are capable. More capable than you think. Here are 10 things they need to know before they go to college. In my opinion? They should know these by the 8th grade. But that's me. I home schooled 4 kids for about 9 years while running a full time business. If you think I could juggle it all on my own you are CRAZY. Besides, isn't this what you have kids for?

    Anyway. The list.

    1. Laundry. This is a no brainer. My kids have been doing their own laundry since they were 10 years old. That doesn't mean I don't help. That doesn't mean I don't fill in. But one needs to learn that clothing does not get thrown on the floor and then magically appear clean and folded on ones bed. I mean seriously mom?you have better things to do? Like HGTV for example! :)

    2. How to load a dishwasher. The sink is NOT a holding place. It is for rinsing. It is for seeing empty. This is a huge pet peeve of mine. So when food is consumed. Dishes are rinsed and go in the dishwasher. If said dishwasher is clean and full?then you best not let me see you even rest that dish in the sink?empty the dishwasher. Pretty simple. And?I will hunt you down.

    3. How to write AND address a thank you note. For the love of all things penmanship?teach your kids legible handwriting and how to address an envelope and WHERE to put a stamp. You might think this is common knowledge. It is not. And?the value of a handwritten thank you note is huge. Do it.

    4. How to vacuum. Just turning on a vacuum does not count. Rubbing it back and forth along the floor does not count. It is systematic. It takes longer than 30 seconds. The carpet actual likes it?mom does too.

    5. That brings me to chores. Saturday morning. Clean your bedroom. Meaning?stuff off the floor, surfaces dusted, floor vacuumed. It may not be perfect. But a weekly update makes sure things do not get out of hand. We have all seen THOSE dorm rooms. Ugh. AND?clean your bathroom. Don't expect to hand them cleaning spray and have them get it. Show them. How to clean a toilet. How to clean a mirror. How to clean a sink. Again?our kids have been doing this on Saturdays since they were wee ones. You have plans for the day? Great. Chores first. Their college roommate will thank you.
    6. Money. Teach them how to use a check book. That a debit card is actually money. How to transfer money from checking to savings. How to check their bank statement. How to really use cash. Money?does not grow on trees?no really it doesn't. They need to know?value?and understand that.

    7. How to use public transportation. Finding bus schedules. Hailing a cab. Maneuvering through an airport. We tend to do everything FOR them. Next time you are on a trip, let them do the figuring out. When Anneke and I went to DC last summer I made her figure out the Metro. Could I have done it a million times faster? Totally. But what if she needs to travel on her own. Thank goodness for cell phones.

    8. Restaurant skills. How to order. How to ask questions. Which forks to use. How to wait until other people are served. How to respectfully treat a server. And most importantly how to tip?and that you do tip. Oh yes, and my favorite?how to chew with your mouth closed. I mean is that too much to ask? Gross.

    9. Cooking skills. I am not talking boiling water. I am talking how to actually follow a recipe. How to make a meal. Bake a dessert. Time a dinner. Get those kids in the kitchen and show them how to use it. Make cookies. Grill chicken. Make pasta..and sauce. Fry eggs. Make chicken salad. Slice vegetables and fruit. Brown ground beef. Crush garlic. SHOW them. The more they know?the better off they will be. Good grief, buy your kid a cookbook and have them use it. At the very least teach them to search out recipes online and read the reviews! I am planning on eating many meals at my children's homes and I plan on them being delicious!

    10. Teach them to be grateful. For the big things. For the little things. To be appreciative of tiny acts of service. And then to acknowledge it. Never it expect. Never assume. But true gratefulness.

    And then send them off. Give them the basics. They won't remember it all. Not now. But someday?someday they will call on it.

    Man-child is ready to go. We are ready FOR him to go. And he is prepared. I have no doubt that he will do VERY well. Will he stumble and fail? Probably. But isn't that what college is for? At least I know I have tried to do my job well. AND that my refrigerator will stay full for a lot longer a few weeks from now! 


  • Subscription boxes everywhere a Golden Tote review
    I have been a sucker for subscription boxes for a very long time. I mean even before they were all the rage. When my man child was 15 months old I stumbled across a box for toddlers. It was $15 a month plus shipping which was pretty steep but it had a toy, a hard cover book, an activity book and something for mom. Those books are STILL some of our all time favorites.

    So when Birchbox came around several years ago I was immediately attracted?that little box in the mail is still one of my monthly highlights! I have tried several other monthly boxes, I just haven't told you about them yet. I like to be very sure before I recommend ANY thing to you.

    But this subscription is different. It's not a subscription really. Golden Tote. I had heard about it. I was skeptical about it. But I decided for the sake of you?of's all about you?I had to give it a shot!

    Here are the details.
    The curators of the box are designers, stylists and personal shoppers. Each month they curate a new collection. You check it out. You decide if you like it. No obligation ( I like that part)
    You choose 1 or 2 pieces and then they surprise you - based on your profile - with the rest! So your basically shopping for yourself?then they fill in gaps.

    Cost: $49 you choose 1 item then they choose 2-3 items (value $250) 
    OR $149 you choose 2 items they fill in with 5-7 items (value $600)

    I jumped in and chose the $149 box.
    This is what I chose.(beware lots of photos?I want you to get a really good idea!)
    I wasn't sure I loved the nautical dress. But now that I have worn it, I love that it isn't something I would typical purchase. It's a perfect summer dress. It has POCKETS!!! (Day at Sea dress value $45)
    This dress is typical me. Long. Flowy. Comfortable. It's a very thin, light weight fabric?but not see through or cheap feeling. Just a perfect summer weight. My equally tall middle girl already laid claims to borrowing it. Good sign.(Hourglass Lily Strapless Dress, value $50)
    This is what they sent to me.
    First up, these very light weight denim shorts I LOVE! Isn't Willow the sweetest? :)
    This dress. Very boho. Very fun. Great back detail. I already wore it yesterday. It might be the perfect summer into fall item!
    And this blouse. Normally not a color I would choose?and even more "girly" then my typical wear. But I really like it. I wore it last night with my favorite white denim jeans it was perfect for "date night"!
    Then there was this one little?what were they thinking item. It was a floral blouse - I can't even show you. I didn't just dislike it. I hated it! 
    Here's the catch with Golden Tote. It's an all or nothing deal. Keep the whole box or send the whole box back. I figured for the cost of the box and how many great items I received I was keeping the box. AND there is a trading group on Facebook?so I am trying to find something else.
    Either way. I definitely recommend Golden Tote. And I excitedly will check back in a few days when August's box is released!
    There is another clothing subscription out there that I have NOT been impressed with. I haven't tried it myself but I don't like their clothing options at all. I thought Golden Tote had very stylish items. Designs for many sizes and shapes. I gave them my measurements and everything fit perfectly - that never happens!
    So if you are looking for some fun new items for fall?click here?and get in on the TOTE! Sorry guys?this one isn't for you :)

    Happy shopping!

  • How you doin? Today's ask Lisa.
    How you doin? said in my best Joey Tribbiani.

    Oh you nice, kind people. Checking in on lil-ole-me after "that" ordeal of a week. month. months.

    I'm ok. I'm tired. I'm mentally exhausted. And actually I'm feeling a bit burned out. Maybe I should coin the phrase "burnt" to coincide with the stupid teenage "turnt" which in all reality?do you really want to talk about being drunk or high? And to you this is socially acceptable? Vulgar. Stupid phrase.

    Now burnt.  Could mean too much time in the sun. Could mean, "oops, I left the bread in the oven too long". Or, "I played with fire crackers and now I'm?". my case. I need a studio production break. I'm burnt.

    Tuesday I actually moved my computer and ALL my paperwork to the back porch so it didn't feel like I was doing desk work. Fresh ice tea. Beautiful view. Shoot, I didn't even care that it was 90 degrees outside. There was a breeze!

    My mind is spinning with creative juices. While my husband was gone I stripped and painted two pieces of furniture on our back porch. Loved it. 
    gross garden thing - to outdoor beverage/snack station
    I went pottery painting with my smallest person and the man child. So much fun. 
    I painted chalk board walls in my daughters rooms. Awesome. 

    Creativity. Outside of gold smithing. 
    Shoot I even weeded and trimmed all our bushes - are you getting the desperate "I need to be out of the studio" vibe?

    Not exactly sure what it is. May be the expeditiously light speed pace I run at has finally caught up with me. Husband in the hospital. Screeeeeching halt.

    So I'm pondering. Thinking. Processing.

    I want my life to make an impact. I want what I do to be a reflection of who I am, on the inside. I want you to know what makes me tick. My faith. Who I belong to. Does that even make sense? Or did I lose you there?

    I also want to make fish tacos and chicken salad with goat cheese. But that's just me. Did I mention my affinity for all things in the kitchen?

    See? My mind is mush!

    I'm not quitting. Don't get that silly idea in your head. This is what I do. It's just not who I am. And I think?maybe a little?those lines got blurry. So, I working on making them more defined. Not accountant straight. Just visible. Separate. Different. Capisce?

    Now?about those tacos?.


  • Blueberries and a muffin. My favorite thing.
    Blueberry season. Oh how I love these little round-pop-them-in-your-mouth fruity pieces of joy. I put them in EVERYthing! And this is their season. Their time to shine. Basically their time to be so cheap you can buy a boatload!
    There has to be a perfect muffin?right? And honestly? I'm good in the kitchen. I love to cook and bake and experiment and play. But there are two things I struggle with. Pie crust. Not even going there. And my desire to make a muffin as beautiful as you can buy in a bakery. Muffin envy. They NEVER look like that. And the texture is never the same. And I get frustrated. And then I probably get a bit testy. Ok, back to the blueberry.
    I had a plethora. I put my big girl panties on, searched out the "perfect" recipe. And, by golly, I found it. No really. This.Is.The.One. The muffin texture was amazing. They popped up - ok, not like a bakery?but there was definite popping. They were flavorful. And they disappeared quickly. That means my kiddos liked them too. I really don't think I ate them all myself. Wait? Did I? Couldn't be.
    The recipe? Not mine. I scoured which is my go to. Not for the best recipes right off the bat - you have to read the reviews. That's the key. A recipe with good reviews beyond, "I liked them." is worth it's weight in gold. I always read peoples tips and tricks and this was no exception.

    So go. Get yourself a basket, bushel, pint, quart?WHATEVER of blueberries while they are still in abundance and come home and bake these. Stat.
    They are called To Die For Blueberry Muffins - not sure I would die. But I might sacrifice something. Maybe a 4th cup of coffee. What? Don't look at me like that. I LIKE my coffee!

    Here is the recipe. Click here for a printable version.
    Now go. Bake. And tell me about your new favorite muffin! Because these are my favorite thing. Today. Right now. This morning.


  • distressed denim. boyfriend jeans. converse. fashion i can't live without.
    My whole blog post just disappeared. Gone. Another reason to hate blogger? Or just par for the course in my life?

    So here it is. Last week was one of my more stressful weeks ever. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook or read my newsletter?you will know why.

    Instead of re-hashing all of it - let me just tell you about two wardrobe items that got me through when I couldn't even set my mind to thinking about being fashionable. Easy go-to?just reach in the closet and get dressed items.

    Destructed white boyfriend jeans from Ann Taylor loft. I have loved Ann Taylor and the Loft for a very long time. Well made items, nice fit, and they seem to be created for a tall girl. A little pricey, but they DO have the best sales.

    I purchased a size 8 but returned them for a 6. I forgot that Ann Taylor runs a bit larger?I'm not sure if that is to make us feel better (it works) or they are just "generous". I like my boyfriend jeans baggy, but I also like them to stay on my hips!!
    Now that I directed you to these fab jeans, they are pretty much unavailable right now, however?they do have them in a buttercream color?me likey. AND...I would definitely snag a pair of regular denim boyfriends during their sale 40% off since fall IS coming.

    Like these:

    Or these (side bar: I would NEVER wear heels with boyfriend jeans. Just me. But I do not like)
    And my Converse slip on's. I have a daughter that is madly in love with Converse so I have naturally avoided them - I'm just not that cool. But she told me to snag these one day browsing at DSW and I'm so glad I did. 
    Perfect with the boyfriend jeans OR shorts OR any jeans OR cute little dresses if you are a teenager or Taylor Swift?not going there.

    Also found them at Amazon, here's the link for my 10 cents if you buy them this way.

    Needless to say the hospital saw both of these more than once last week, but who's counting? And I figured white was kinda hospital like, right?

    So what are your go-to fashionable items? What's your favs? Share with the rest of us! K?

    And?thank you to all of you who reached out last week with messages and prayers and thoughts of love. We are so very grateful. He's not out of the woods yet?but I'm so glad he is home?where he belongs!
    and yes?I am wearing the jeans?just so you know I really wasn't kidding!