Sunday, July 27, 2014

Custom Memorial Pendant

I get requests all the time to create custom pieces that hold a great deal of sentiment and meaning to the owner. I feel quite honored to be part of someone's life in this way, knowing that each time they put on that jewelry, they hold their loved one closer to their heart and memory. 

My latest request was for a stamped pendant for a dear friend whose father recently passed away. One of her fondest memories was to be out on the water together on the family sailboat. Naturally, I incorporated a sailboat charm with the others and kept the color neutral so she could wear with anything.  She told me she wanted Miss You Dad on the front with the date of his passing. Then on the back side I stamped a  Bible verse about heaven that she requested. 

Next, came the one for her Mom. Hers had Miss You Honey on the front and a different verse on the back.
Email me at sarah(at) for custom requests. I have made bridal bouquet pendants, memorial pet jewelry, military tags, messages to kids leaving for or graduating from college, fitness quotes, poems and love notes in many languages and almost anything you can think of.

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Oversized Running Shoe

Laying by the pool reading the latest issue of Competitor Magazine, I came across an ad for an interesting shoe worth taking note of. Apparently two guys gave up distinguished careers at shoe manufacturing giants to hole up in the alps and develop their dream running shoe. Oversized with maxium cushioning. It looked a little crazy...until runners started using them. They were less tired with fresher legs after their run. Check out for more info.

Monday, May 12, 2014

No more old school smoothies...

According to Competitor Magazine, adding spinach and kale to smoothies is so last year. Brussel sprouts are the new powerhouse add-in to help ward off inflammation and strengthen muscles. Just be sure you have some other yummies in that blender as well to balance it out!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

New Zealand: South Island Road Trip (part 2)

Christchurch to Queenstown

We left Christchurch and started to head west towards Queenstown, since we had heard it was a happening city with plenty to see and do. On our @ 3.5 hour drive, we came upon the quintessential NZ sight...a farmer moving his flock of sheep to another pasture (paddock as they say). You must realize that the ratio of people to sheep in NZ is 3 million to 60 million. That's a lot of wool out there. Kiwi's are obviously used to seeing sheep everywhere. They didn't pause at all, but worked their cars through the woolen bodies. We, on the other hand, had all the time in the world to watch as they made their way past our rental car (without denting it). It was fun to watch the sheepdogs work to the sound of the farmer's whistle. They knew exactly what to do, much like this video.

On the way, we also stopped at beautiful Lake Tekapo and saw the Church of the Good Shepherd (one of the most photographed churches around).


We stopped in Omarama simply as a halfway point on our way to Queenstown. Not a lot to do except salmon fishing, hot tubs under the stars, gliding capital of the world, and an antiques/novelty store with some set costumes from the old TV series Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules.

Next day on our drive to Queenstown, we came upon the Kawarau bridge and the awesome bungy station there, both for jumpers and observers (us). It was a lot of fun to stay there awhile, even if we were too afraid to dangle upside down over the raging river below.

Queenstown is a busy resort town year round. Great hills make it a skiing destination in winter. Summer brings in people like us to do every imaginable outdoor adventure and extreme sport you can think of. Plus, there are plenty of outdoor restaurants and great shopping. We saw The Hobbit in 3D, since so many scenes from the movie were filmed, not only in new Zealand, but in and around the city. If you are a diehard LOTR fan, you might find this 7min. video interesting about set locations around NZ. We saw much of these beautiful scenery on our trip.

Another fun and unusal thing we did was to ride the gondola up to the mountain top to the Skyline Complex and then rode The Luge for awhile.
You can buy a package for as many rides as you want, on both a basic and advanced course. They were easy to control and it was so much fun.  Check out this video to test drive one yourself...
We thought we would do some hiking as well, but with all the walking we did around town and up and down steep hills, we figured we did at least a couple of "city hikes" (LOL). There is a great shop, DF Souvenirs with affordable NZ souvenirs in the main downtown shopping area. We also planned on riding the famous Shotover Jetboat, but due to bad weather, our ride was cancelled, but we got to do it later on in the trip in another city with family, which was much more fun. I heard from some kiwis that they don't think Queenstown represents the true New Zealand, because it is geared for tourists. But that was fine with us, and we had a lot of fun there.

Next stop...Dunedin (the city I was born and raised in)

Monday, January 27, 2014

New Zealand: South Island Road Trip (Part I)

So this past Christmas, we made the trek back to show my family my native New Zealand. I grew up on the South Island in the quaint city of Dunedin. Just in case you're thinking of heading there, I will share some of the highlights and tips from our trip, which may only apply if traveling from North America.

TIP:   Hawaiian Airlines recently started flying to NZ. Fares are competitive and they are the only airlines still serving free meals. Inflight entertainment was also free and had good variety. If you're a tall traveler, you'll want an exit row / bulkhead or aisle seat: for sure. Seat space can be quite compact.

Price flying from Bellingham airport or Portland airport. We flew from Portland and saved a few hundred dollars per ticket, stayed in an airport hotel with free breakfast and airport shuttle, and was able to park our car there the entire time for $25. Well worth the 2+ hour drive.

TIP: Stick to renting an automatic vehicle. You'll be driving on the left hand side of the road, possible navigating your way through a farmer moving his sheep. Why complicate things?

Travel during the U.S. Winter because it's summer there. Best months in NZ are January/February. We traveled in Mid-late Dec, and it was still fine, but not as warm as I was hoping for.

We flew to Honolulu on the big island of Oahu, and had an overnight layover, which was actually quite fun. It broke up the long flight and we had some beach and shopping time. It felt like a mini Hawaiian vacation. And of course, it was sunny.

Once in the downtown area, rodeo drive style shopping awaits you with all your favorite name brand stores. Look for the walkway with all the surfboards chained to the sides. If it wasn't so colorful, you might miss it. They call it the Surf Locker, and it leads directly to the warm sandy beach of Waikiki! Just down the street and across the road is the International Marketplace, where interesting local vendors peddle their wares and you can try and haggle for a good deal.
The next day we flew to Auckland (north island) then took an interisland flight to Christchurch (south island). We spent time with one of my aunts. She took us to a beautiful botanical gardens, the paua house, Quake City, the cardboard cathedral, and container pop-up mall. It was sad to see the toll on the city from these large quakes, but the people are resourceful, creative in continuing business, and determined to rebuild their beautiful city.


It's quite possible that we gained 5lbs. just by drooling over the goodies at the 2 story Artisan Bakery in nearby Rangiora (a must see). I have not seen anything quite like it or it's flat bathroom sink.

Heading to Queenstown next blog...