Sunday, December 16, 2012

This Shouldn't Have Happened

But it did. And we now have an obligation - to challenge the current thinking in this country, that aids and abets these shootings to occur.

And we also have a duty to keep our calm faces on.  Personally, I want to cry and scream and rage.  I have cried, but other than that, I need to remember that this tragedy isn't about me.  It's about those children and the women who died trying to protect them.  It's about community and this amazing country and the children and people who make it good.  So, I am going to channel my anger and sadness into whatever good I can.  Because that is the right way to remember and honor those who lives were taken.

Jason DeCrow/AP Photo

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

From the Vault...

Recently, as part of my push to build my Etsy site and following, I've decided to decorate my shop with some items from "the vault." Over the years of collecting and playing with pretty stones and beads and silver, I've created a big box of one-of-a-kind pieces that I am now selling on my Etsy site! I love these items and I am sure they will love finding a new home with you! How are you doing with your holiday shopping? Stop by my shop to take a look at these very personal and unique items!

Monday, December 10, 2012

My Own Portlandia...

I've never watched the show Portlandia, but I did get to experience my own wonderful version of this fabulous city.  Hubby needed just a few more miles to maintain some version of "status" with United for 2013 so we found so great flight and hotel rates for this past weekend and jetted off last Thursday and returned last night.  It was an epic, good time!

After getting in late Thursday night, we headed over to the Teardrop Cocktail Lounge for a couple of fantastic and delish cocktails over a shared charcuterie plate and a split veggie wrap.

On Friday morning, we proceeded to break-fast at Mother's.  DO go there.  DO get their french-press coffee (featuring Stumptown, which sadly, we did not go visit..).  DO get their biscuits and sausage gravy.  If you like that sort of savory, heavenly, delectable, buttery goodness.

After a random stop and credit charge at The Fossil Cartel, we got out of dodge and drove out to the Willamette Valley for some wine tasting.  At the recommendation of a friend's husband, our first stop was The Carlton Winemaker's Studio where we got to experience some top-notch Oregon pinot noir as this brilliant collective of brilliant winemakers.  Right next door, we checked out Cana's Feast where they poured some equally fabulous non-pinot wines.  Wes at Cana's Feast gave us to amazing recommendations - Seven of Hearts for more amazing pinot noir and Recipe for a top-ten (and that's a big deal) memorably delicious dinner.  And here's a tip from wine tasting that day from me: Honest Chocolates run by the talented chocolatier wife of the man behind Seven of Hearts.  The amount of talent here is absurd.

So after an epic day of wine-tasting, we drove back to the city and met a friend for some drinks at Kask back in downtown Portland.  Then it was bedtime.  Saturday morning, repeat: brekkie at Mother's (we couldn't help it - the place is SO, SO good and in walking distance).  Then randomly - Nordstrom to get me a warm, puffy coat.  After I was warm we proceeded to Boedecker Cellars to get toasty.  Then we moved onto a cool neighborhood across the river from downtown Portland to meet the man who introduced us to good places (which begat other good places) that we visited.

Bruce owns Vino Buys in Portland.  He does tastings at the store every Friday and Saturday and his great, little shop is filled with amazing wine finds.  He knows his stuff from around the world, so if you want a little respite from all that amazing Oregon pinot, he'll steer you in the right direction.

While driving around the neighborhood, we just happened, so luckily and fortuitously, to see a sign for a Trixie Whitley performance at the Doug Fir Lounge.  Seriously???  We wanted to see her solo show in San Francisco, but sadly it had conflicted with another music performance we'd already bought tickets for.  Hubby whipped out his phone, bought us two tickets online and we were set!  Holy cow - this trip just gets better and better!

We went to Tabla Bistro - amazing, amazing, amazing!  Moved our car after dinner near the show venue and then walked over to the Rum Club for a couple of more amazing drinks.  Got back to the Doug Fir at 10pm for Trixie Whitley.  Had a spiritual-music experience.  Drove back to downtown and finished the night with a burger and barrel-aged negroni at Clyde Common.

Sunday morning, sadly, was the final day of our whirlwind Portland trip.  We drove back out the the Burnside neighborhood area and waited for nearly TWO hours to get brunch at Screen Door.  We never do that.  On principle, we never do that.  However, I have to admit - it was kind of worth it.  Amazing biscuits and gravy and even more amazing fried chicken and waffles.  GIANT portions (we had enough chicken leftover for dinner-for-two back in SF that night).

Food, drinks, drinks, food, shopping, drinks, food, drinks.  Portland has it all!

The end.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday's Meow-Mix: After the Rain...

...all it makes me want to do is to take a nap!

But I'm super grateful for this little reprieve from the rain.  Time to get busy!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Rain, Rain and More Rain..

photo by Carlos Avila Gonzales

The San Francisco bay area has been getting a good dose of rain this past week.  It's both a good and a bad thing.  For starters, people in the bay are are not very good drivers.  And in poor weather, it sure does get crazy out there.  Shall I just say that there is never a reasonable reason to go barreling down a residential street that's slick with rain and oil under conditions including poor visibility and high wind?  Duh!

The good thing about the rain is that the state could always use the water.  So...  we're getting our reservoirs topped off a bit.  And that's good for plants and maybe even the little birds in the air that want to quench their thirst.

Either way, my head is in a cloud of SEO's and Etsy and keywords and social media, etc., etc.  Does anyone else find this all kind of hard and super tedious?  All I want to do is play with some fire and metal in the studio.  But since I want to be grown-up and make my business go somewhere, I need to get serious with all this stuff.  But have the time I'm just wondering if I'm doing things the right way, making the right calls, using the right words, at the right time, in the right place...  Ugh.

Ok.  That's all the whining I will do (for now).  If I can manage to pass a year of organic chemistry, I can figure this stuff out!


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Here's a Shout-Out...

I got listed on ABI's (Arts Business Institute's) 2nd Annual Great Handmade Holiday Gift Guide - $100 and Up!  It's rather a first for me - where I sent an "application" for something and got in.  Not that they made it hard to do.  But it was pretty sweet to have emailed a photo of something I made to an organization with people I do not know at all and have them like it enough to post it on their list!  Yay.

Here's the piece in the spotlight: The Big Bang Pendant

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Studio Time... happening despite a multitude of distractions!  Had a killer work-out with my trainer this morning, laundry (starting to sound like G-T-L and I DID get a tan last week...) and setting up some stuff for little trick-or-treaters tonight.  I don't know why, but I love Halloween.  I think I just like seeing the little kiddies dressed up and so cute and happy before they crash and burn from their sugar-highs.  Annoying, it's been rainy out today.  I hope it holds off until tomorrow.  I haven't dressed up since I was around 10 years old.  But I am wearing cat ears today.  All day.  While I'm working in my studio.  Weird?  Yes.  But that's OK.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Back From Paradise...

... and not exactly loving it.

The hubby and I had a wonderful, warm, sunny and relaxing week in Maui.  This was our "last" trip of the year.  We plan on staying close to the ground.

During the trip to Maui (my first time) - I had several moments of island frenzy.  A part of me wanted to pick up everything and move there.  Maybe I could round up a few friends that I actually really, really like and convince them to go in on buying a parcel of land.  We would build our own separate living spaces, have a community garden and some goats and bees and I will open a little shop somewhere on the island and sell my jewelry.....

Okay.  That's quite a day-dream I've got there.  Perhaps I won't move to the islands - there is a risk of island fever there...  But I am sure ready to plan another trip back there.  Even the coffee read it in our future:

We stayed in a small town called Haiku that was a few miles up the mountain from another small town called Paia.  Paia was a great place for shopping and there is a fabulous little jewelry store/studio called Studio 22K.  Beautiful work and space.  Definitely worth checking out.  I also really loved the laid-back vibe there.  And, some of you may be surprised at this - but the food there was SO FRIGGIN' GOOD.  The handful of restaurants there (we only ate at three of them) all used locally sourced produce, meat and dairy products.  There was a great grocery store that was akin to the infamous Rainbow Grocery in SF and of course, more great, little shops.  I'm gushing about it because I really had a lovely time and am ready to move there return for a visit soon!

Now, it's back to work on the mainland!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Monday's Meow-Mix

Happy Monday (evening)!  I loved today's weather.  It's a beautiful, fall day in San Francisco.  The air is crispy and so is the ground when your feet crunch over fallen leaves.  New England may of course, scoff at California's version of fall colors, but it's still lovely here.

Had a lovely weekend and have been eager to get started on making pretty, new things this week.  11 more days left before hubby and I take off for a long-anticipated week in Maui!  So, I am bent on getting lots of stuff into my stores before we leave.

And, that's it for now!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

An Apple a Day....

We've all heard the old adage of an apple a day.  And that's all good and stuff.  But creating something everyday, is so much better!  I have set the soft goal of creating one new thing, everyday.  It could be a pair of super-simple earrings, or something with those beautiful carved jade pendants that I got in China.  The goal is to keep the creative juices flowing AND create some discipline - in the funnest way I know how.  I've been uploading photos onto my Hsu-Lee Designs Facebook page onto an album titled one-a-day.  I may do just one batch a week on this blog.  Let's see how this evolves, shall we?



Monday, October 1, 2012

Monday's Meow-Mix

I still have a bad case of cat-envy.  I envy people who own cats.  I hate my allergies because they prevent me from having a cat.  If it was just sniffles, I can live with that.  But my cat allergies extend to breaking out in hives and asthma attacks...  So if it seems strange to you readers that I constantly post pictures of other-peoples-cats, it's because this is the closest to cat-dom I can get...

In any case - here is the first Monday's Meow-Mix in a long while!  Now, if I had this cat, I would end up not having any jewelry that I can make at my bench to post pictures of...  But, how absurdly cute is this?

via Digger and Cathy on Ganoksin's Bench Gallery

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

CJS = 13lbs Added to My Carry-on Suitcase...

Several weeks ago, I happened to stumble across an email, to a link, to a blog, that talked about this warehouse in NYC.  A very special warehouse - that contained several thousand square feet, piled high with boxes upon boxes of jewelry findings.  Needless to say, my heart started racing and my palms became slick with sweat as my immediate thought was "must-go-now-before-everything-is-gone."

Luckily, hubby and I had been planning at trip to NYC (me tagging along on his business trip there).  So, within two-weeks of this online discovery, I was on a plane to NYC.  We flew in on a Friday and first thing Monday, I made my way to this wonderful place.

Located around Korea-town, on a street lined with endless, non-descript buildings, you just don't know what to expect of this place.  Taking an elevator to the second floor, the door opens and you're deposited into a pirate's cave.  I was given a brief, but helpful tour around the place, given a cardboard box and then set loose.

In my comfy t-shirt, black yoga pants and sturdy tennis shoes, I dug in.  There was a brief pause in the beginning, when in the metals room, I found myself overcome with a fit of OCD, trying to "organize" the chaos around me.  This place isn't meant to be a sterile, organized, fit-within-the-lines type of place. CJS is a warehouse where you need to work for your inspiration, a playground where you can let your imagination run wild with the possibilities.  You find what you find and you create from what you get.  I sweated, I bled, I moved boxes and boxes and I was in the happiest place on earth.

One view of the "metals" room.  Boxes were stacked waist high.  There were so many amazing findings to choose from. 
The "chain" room.  More chains than you can think of what to do with! 

The "natural substances" room.  Bone, shell, wood, minerals, etc.

CJS kindly provided super sturdy plastic bags for you to use.  They were a lifesaver when I was trying to pack all this stuff in my suitcase! 
Awesome little brass tear-drops. 
Tiny brass tubes!

Great for texturing or stamping.

For a secret mission in the works...

Pressed glass beads...  Love the vintage look and feel of it!

Gorgeous, vintage milk-glass beads.

Slippery snake chain.

To be used in another secret mission...

Loved this doo-dads.  Some of them will make lovely and special earrings!

Pics to come of what became of the loot!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Um, Hi There.

Photo: Patrick Laberge

It's been too long.  Do I sound like I am repeating myself every few weeks, months, YEARS?  Perhaps.  I took a long hiatus from blogging.  It's fun, sort of.  But it's stressful and a LOT of work.  I admire those people out there who are able to produce something interesting & good as frequently as they do.

Have there been a lot of changes?  Do I have a millions reasons as to why I am so NOT good at keeping up with this blog-thing?  No, not really.  And then, yes.  There's always something, or a lot of things.  Nothing which though I think is interesting enough to publish online.


One BIG change for me (and hubby).  Which is exercising.  Last November (2011), I started working with a personal trainer at my gym.  One hour, once a week.  There have been a good handful or two of weeks in which I did NOT do my training, but it was usually because I was out of town or feeling pretty ill.

When I look at myself in the mirror, I don't feel like I see much of a difference.  But if I am honest, I can feel it.  I am much stronger.  Faster.  Better balance.  Better moods.  More stamina.  Of course the training is supplemented with going to the gym on my own - doing cardio stuff, usually.  Definitely more walks, movement and activity.  It feels like a slog, most of the time.  Trying to get my "steps" in for the day.  Not allowing myself to sit for so long that I go into metabolic shutdown.  Eating more healthily.  Come to think of it; it's really been a bunch of little changes that are bringing about big RESULTS.

That's a positive note to end this entry on.

I'll be back!  Sooner than later!