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What Happens in Vegas . . .

. . . is the Las Vegas Jewelry Show!

I just spent the week in Las Vegas, participating in the Couture Jewelry Show. It was my first year debuting in the Design Atelier among other new designers. Every year the jewelry industry has a massive exhibition in Las Vegas, with four different shows spread across the Strip from the Wynn to Mandalay Bay. As I continue to establish my brand in the fine jewelry market, Couture was the only choice for us. I was thrilled and honored to be showing in the company of Couture Las Vegas’s impressive roster of designers and retailers.

We spent long hours on our feet during the day and once that’s done, everyone heads out to meet potential clients and spend time at industry gatherings. It was great being in one place with the majority of the jewelry industry. I made a lot of new relationships with retailers and met a ton of new designers and contacts. I even had a long conversation about business with Stephen Webster which could have been the highlight of the week!  Continue reading

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Be Flexible: It Isn’t Just for Yoga

I have a friend who comes back exhausted from every trip she takes. Not just tired. Sleep-all-day-takes-two-weeks-to-recover exhausted. She’s not a low-energy person, so I couldn’t figure out why travel was so hard on her! Then I found out. Before she travels, she creates an end-to-end schedule of everything she has to do where she’s going. She said that if she never gets back to a place, she wants to have experienced everything she can.

I guess that makes sense. Sort of. But if you think about the fact that most interesting places take a lifetime to explore, it’s a kind of crazy notion. I picture my friend rushing from experience to experience without taking time to actually enjoy each one. It makes me feel bad for her.

It’s not my place to suggest that she travel differently, but I’ll share my philosophy about travel here with you. It’s called be flexible. Continue reading

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First Class Fare Watching

I’m traveling much more again, which makes me very happy. A lot of my travel is for work. But my kids are older now, and it’s easier to travel with them too. So I find myself looking for airline tickets on a regular basis. I remember when I was growing up – and when I started booking a lot of my own travel in my 20s – it was always advisable to book tickets a month in advance to get the best price. Until it wasn’t! In more recent years, a ticket bought one week in advance was rarely any better than a ticket bought two or three weeks in advance. But I’ve noticed that fares are shifting again, and I’ve made a point of learning what works (and what doesn’t) when booking travel now.

I’m suddenly finding a big difference between two week fares and three week fares, so book at least three weeks in advance. Also, book on Sunday. Or Tuesday. But never ever on Friday! If I look for tickets on a Friday they are always higher. Finally, try not to travel on Saturday. Not just because the airports are way too crowded, but because if you stay over a Saturday night your fare will almost always be lower.

First Class Often Best Value

I prefer to fly business or first whenever I can. It just makes an entire trip that much more enjoyable. Not everyone can swing it, but did you know that these days, First Class is a better value than ever? Once you pay for each bag in coach, and pay for a “better” seat, and pay to board with enough time to find a place for your bag (plus whatever hidden fees are tacked on) . . . you might as well buy a First Class fare ticket and get all those things included! If you’re like me, and you try to be as economical and responsible with your business travel as I do, then I hope this tip makes you feel less guilty about buying a First Class ticket! Of course, for pleasure travel, there’s no guilt at all. If I’m going on vacation, the flight is part of the experience, so it’s First Class all the way. First Class isn’t as luxurious as it was 15 years ago, but it’s still way better than coach!

Here’s a Little Help

Next time you’re searching for tickets, try Matrix.  It’s not a new ticket app like Kayak or Hotwire – it’s actually the search engine that powers all those apps. You can’t buy the tickets right on Matrix. But what I do is find the first class fare and itinerary I want, then go directly to the airline website and buy my tickets (make sure you use the fare code you got on Matrix to get the class of service you want!). You could use Matrix to just find the cheapest possible fares. But I personally use it to find the best possible First Class fares. Because if I can travel smart and with a certain degree of luxury, why wouldn’t I?

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Get Your Travel App On

Google Trips Travel AppThere’s nothing I love more (other than my kids and husband) than traveling. Unfortunately, with a business and two young kids, it doesn’t happen as much as it used to. When I do travel, I need to be as super organized and as easy as possible. So my favorite travel app now is Google Trips.

If you have a Gmail account, Google Trips automatically picks up travel details from your email and populates your itineraries. If you have privacy issues, this might not be for you. But if you figure Google already knows everything anyway, then you might be down with letting it scoop up those email confirmations and turn them into a handy trip plan. I definitely went for convenience (or maybe it’s memory) over privacy on this one.

The other thing I like is that Google Trips makes suggestions for you – where to go, what to eat, what’s nearby, what to do. Surprisingly, the suggestions it made for me were spot on. Again, this is a privacy stickler’s nightmare – Google knows so much about what you read and search for and buy that it knows you better than your husband does, and therefore can make recommendations that suit you perfectly. I’ve noticed it points out nearby tea shops for me, which is pretty specific (and appreciated).

So if you’re all in with Google already, definitely check it out.
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A Cure for Jet Lag! Don’t Leave Home Without It.

Doug Griswold Illustration. Person with Jet Lag.
Doug Griswold Illustration. San Jose Mercury News.

When I am planning a trip, the idea of jet lag makes me tired just thinking about it. I am already exhausted every day with very little sleep as it is, so when I go on vacation I want to feel rested and relaxed. Recently, a friend mentioned the Jet Lag Calculator app to me. You enter your starting point, destination, and travel dates. It also asks for your typical bed time and wake-up time. Then, it calculates your personalized plan.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this tool (other than the fact that it’s free, and that it gives you a real plan) is the suggestion that jet lag avoidance begins three days before your trip date. It totally makes sense, but it isn’t something I had given any thought to.

Now I just need to plan a trip.  Any suggestions?
(PS – I recently read a good article on more tips for avoiding jet lag. I thought I’d share it here).
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Don’t Skip Vicenza!

La Risarona Bed and Breakfast in Vicenza, ItalySo many friends are planning summer trips to Italy right now, and most of them are going to Rome, Milan, and Venice. I love all those places, but I always tell my friends that they really should go to Vicenza, which is completely underrated. I think people overlook it because it’s a small city, and lost in Venice’s shadow.

So, why Vicenza? Simple lifestyle, great food, Palladian architecture (Andrea Palladio was from Vicenza), and boutiques. Really good boutiques.

Since it’s not a particularly tourist-y area, the schedules are Mediterranean. If you want to eat lunch, you should do it between noon and 2:00 pm. After 2:00, all the (good) restaurants close until 7:00 pm. The boutiques close for lunch, but they’re open all afternoon.

The laid-back, life-balanced vibe is what I love most about Vicenza. The old-world feeling penetrates everything, from the pace of the day to the late Middle Ages architecture. I love to walk there. Everywhere you go, there are villas and churches and public buildings that are not just historical – they’re still being used. Vicenza’s Medieval town hall was wrapped in a loggia of arches by Andrea Palladio, and to me, it is a perfect example of what makes this city so beautiful. Continue reading

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A Little Art Tourism in Miami

Toba Khedoori painting at the Perez Art MuseumIf you’re planning to be in Miami any time soon, and you feel like doing a little art tourism, there’s a Toba Khedoori exhibition at the Pérez Art Museum you really should see. It’s her first major museum show, and it’s getting great reviews. I love intricate patterns and finely detailed art, and Khedoori is one of my inspirations for how to use negative space as an art element (which is super important in jewelry design). She takes architectural forms, creates patterns, and turns them into almost hypnotic large works. I could sit and stare for hours (if I only had the time!). Continue reading

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Old School (not your usual Travel App!)

Vintage Postcard Back

As much as I love to travel, I hate to be away from my kids. It’s the constant #momstruggle – pursuing my career and art while being the best mom I can be. When I’m gone, I call them before bed. But that just doesn’t feel connected enough. I buy gifts for them, but I can’t always find something meaningful (or I don’t have time!). Of course, I don’t want to bring home just anything. I looked for a helpful travel app, but didn’t see anything new. So I adapted something I use when my daughter is at camp (which doesn’t allow tech).

It’s Not Really a Travel App – Until Now

It’s an App called MyPostcard, and it is so easy. I upload a photo, write a message, and send – right from my phone. Even when I have to run from meeting to meeting, or work in a tradeshow booth for crazy long hours, I always have time to do this. Yes, I know – the postcards usually don’t get home until after I do (though often at least the first one beats me back). But it’s fun for me! I think about my kids throughout the day while I take pictures for them, and before I go to bed I write messages and hit send.

The kids love getting snail mail. Plus, they get the reminder that they are always on my mind, and it helps them better understand where I go and what I do while I’m away from them.