Wearable Treasures!

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What souvenirs do you buy when traveling? T-shirts? A shot glass? Christmas ornaments? In addition to picking up a small piece of local artwork, I almost always come home with a piece of jewelry. It could be a ring with a stone native to the area, a high-end piece that I found for a great price, or a simple beaded bracelet from a local vendor on the beach. In any case, I love having a unique jewelry design that I can wear as a memory from each trip.

I recently came across a line of bracelets that was based on this very premise… Melanie Vandersluis began collecting bracelets from each of her travels. After a 7-week trip to Israel, France & Greece, she came home and decided to turn this passion of hers into a business.  Melanie Audrey, her Montreal-based company, creates beautiful, hand-crafted bracelets using natural stone beads or sturdy paracord designs. Each comes with its own unique story based on the people and places she’s encountered while traveling. Click HERE to read Melanie’s story 🙂

I have to say it took me a while to put my order together because I wanted them all! My first choice, however, was an easy one. Santorini, Greece is currently at the number one spot on my travel bucket list, so the set of Santorini Stacks was a no-brainer! Featuring 4 separate bracelets, each with Picture Jasper stones around the back and then one each of Larvikite, Clear Quartz, Larimar & Lapis Lazuli on front. Each stone has a wonderful meaning and worn all together, they are perfect!

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My general love of travel drew me to the Passport Wanderer. Made with 2 kinds of Jasper beads & Larvikite, these healing stones look great and the story sounded like my own personal fantasy (even though it’s written from a man’s point of view… lol!)

This is a great, neutral starter and would mix nicely with any of the other bracelets in this collection.

 

Screenshot_2016-08-26-09-46-38-1My final pick was the Heart of Gold bracelet… created for the kind of person that everyone should aspire to be. I’ll be keeping this one for myself but I’m sure to be ordering these for some special people in my life! This beautiful bracelet features Rose Quartz, Coral & Picture Jasper.

All of Melanie Audrey’s bracelets can be ordered in a small, medium or large & can easily be shipped to the U.S.  They come packaged in a little burlap bag & each story is included inside. Please note all prices are listed in Canadian dollars, so you’ll have to do a quick currency conversion to get the US price.

I love these bracelets & their stories… Thank you to Instagram for introducing me to Melanie Audrey! Check out her gallery at @bymelanieaudrey & shop right online at www.melanieaudrey.com.

Screenshot_2016-08-26-10-28-13-1Here are a few of my “treasures” from past trips… Starting at the top left I have a Mother of Pearl Ring from Puerto Vallarta, a set of white, yellow & rose gold rings from Bermuda, a Swatch Watch from Curacao, a CZ Necklace from St. Thomas, my “Pura Vida” bracelet from Costa Rica, my diamond Palm Tree Necklace (that took me 2 years to find) from St. Kitts, a rainbow bead bracelet from my most recent trip Punta Cana and a great Turquoise ring in sterling silver from Cancun.  Jewelry is definitely my weakness!!!

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A Little Bling Anyone?

In addition to my love of travel and fine cuisine, I also have a little “thing” for jewelry.  It started long ago, influenced by my maternal grandmother who never left the house without her favorite pieces.  The bulk of my pre-motherhood career years were spent working for a jewelry manufacturer, where I was able to get my fill of silver, gold, diamonds and more… plus travel on a regular basis. Destinations like Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Toronto, Atlanta, Orlando & more were the norm… I even spent a week in Switzerland at the largest jewelry & watch show in the world.  And in all those places?  Amazing food to boot!

So once my son was settled into a full-day school routine, I felt the call to get back into the business.  I needed flexible hours and didn’t have too much time to spare, so I started looking at some direct sales companies.  Quality and customer service were of the utmost importance to me, and certainly Sterling Silver would be a bonus.  My perfect match? Silpada Designs.

Original Silpada Founders, Teresa & Bonnie (center) with their 2 girls, Kelsey & Ryane :)

Original Silpada Founders, Teresa Walsh & Bonnie Kelly (center) with their 2 girls, Kelsey (L) & Ryane (R) 🙂

Started by two moms, who met when their daughters were in the same kindergarten class, this Kansas City based company was the perfect fit.  I’d been to, and hosted a few parties, so I knew how it all worked & was pleased with the company policies and support. Bonnie & Teresa’s 2 daughters (the ones from kindergarten!) have recently taken on the roles of Co-Presidents & introduced a new Fashion Jewelry line, as well as a brand new scarf & bag line, to the original Sterling Silver Collection.

Every July, Silpada holds their National Conference for 4 days in Kansas City (here’s where the travel & food work their way in…).  I can’t say I was ever thrilled with the idea of going to the middle of the United States, in the middle of July, but I’ve found it to be a wonderful city with lots of great restaurants!  I just got back and want to give a shout out to our 2 favorite eateries…

IMG_20150715_192323On our 1st night in town, after a long day of traveling, I couldn’t wait to chill out at the Tannin Wine Bar & Kitchen on Walnut St.  Who doesn’t love being able to order wine by the “taste”…  and have some great food to pair it with!  They have a nice outdoor seating area, but with temps in the 90s on this trip, we opted to sit inside & cool down.  We started with 3 tastes each, of our favorite reds, followed by an array of fresh, flavorful plates.  Everything was amazing & we rolled out completely stuffed & satisfied yet again. 🙂

Our trip to Kansas City wouldn’t be complete with a visit to La Bodega, on Southwest Blvd and our 3rd time here did not disappoint.  We LOVE the atmosphere at this chic little Spanish tapas restaurant and even though we had to eat at the bar (forgot to make a reservation!), the meal was still delightful.  They offer an amazing wine & drink menu to complement a delicious assortment of hot & cold small plates.  We enjoyed several fancy cocktails in addition to mussels with chorizo, grilled shrimp, scallops wrapped in Spanish ham, baked goat cheese & more… total yum!!!

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Sheraton Crown Center Lobby

We stay at the Sheraton Crown Center when in town, with easy access to the Westin & its Crown Center Shops.  The hotel bar offers great service (shout out to Tamara) and its own delicious menu.

This trip is always a great refresher, both on the business and personal level.  I’m excited to share Silpada’s exciting new Fall Collection and offer the business opportunity to anyone who’s ever thought about starting a little something on the side.  Check out my web site, www.mysilpada.com/kristin.matteo for all the info or to order up a little “bling” of your own!

And stay on top of all the latest specials, promotions, sneak peaks and more on my Facebook page: Kristin Matteo’s Silver Scene.  Thanks & have a “Sterling” Day!