Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry, merry!

Sorry for the recent lack of posts - I've been scrambling around getting everything done for the holidays.  Today, all I want to say is this:

Wishing all of you a wonderful year ahead filled with peace, happiness and prosperity.  Great food, tasty cocktails and some fabulous new shoes don't hurt either, right?

For those of you celebrating Christmas - my gosh, Merry Christmas to all!  Travel safe and enjoy your time with family and friends.

Lastly, thanks to all of you for reading my fledgling blog.  I'm so happy to be doing this, and I hope it brings you a little bit of silly joy as well.


Monday, December 13, 2010

I'm Dreaming of A... Big, Fat Blizzard?!

Since my last post, which had me dreaming of even more Karin jewelry that night, many of you now know we got slammed by a fairly big snowstorm in Minnesota.  Currently buried under 17” of the white stuff, I will weirdly admit that I like snow.  Yes sir, I like it.  But maybe not in the form of four foot-high snowpiles everywhere I turn.  Sad to say, but that storm kind of whupped our arses.  The main event was Saturday (and I mean all dang day, Saturday).  Tonight, I can still hear the sad howl of overtaxed snowblowers on their fourth go-round.  Cars are still stranded in a cement-like soup of frozen snow drifts, people are scrambling over these mini-mountains to get to their buses, and in many cases, we’re just walkin’ down the street because the sidewalks never got plowed.  Traffic is a mess, and to top it all off, we started this morning at a lovely -7 degrees Fahrenheit.  Not cold enough fer ya?  Then I’ll add the -20 degree Fahrenheit windchills that accompanied the cold.

Oh yeah, and the Metrodome roof collapsed.

Wish you were here…  no, really!

The crappy weather did not dampen the spirits of the hardy Twin Citians, however.  Nope.  Like those ueber-chirpy Whoville residents, people were out helping people.  Whether it was snowblowing a neighbor’s driveway, helping push someone’s poor car out of a snowdrift, or some other kind gesture, “Snownami/Snowmageddon/Snow-whatevs” brought out a very admirable quality in the people around here.  It also failed to keep a small crew of us from venturing out into the nuttiness for some beer and bowling.  Yes, we walked for nine blocks (the roads were often impassable).  Yes, it was cold (so I looked like that kid from A Christmas Story for realz).  And yes, it was a great night!  At least in our neighborhood, the bars were packed and people were out and about, sometimes on skis and snowshoes.

So.  I like the snow.  I do not like the messy aftermath.  But I do like the attitude of most people up here regarding the inevitable winter weather.  We live in the Upper Midwest.  Snow and subzero temps are an annual rite of winter in these parts.  So we might as well try our best to enjoy it.

For your enjoyment (whether it's because you truly love winter or just love laughing at us Northerners), here are some images from Snowmygosh, as well as some video.  While I was dreaming of bling, I don't have to dream of a white Christmas, because I don't think this stuff is going anywhere until April.

It started out innocently enough...

Keep watching the car next to the sign post...

Braving the snow and cold for beer and bowling...

Yep, there's a bike under all that stuff...

Snowstorm?  What snowstorm?

The morning after.  Aaaand...  car's still there.

Here's what downtown looked like this morning:

And some pics from our local TV station KARE-11...

Yaaay...  running in the blizzard is fuuuuun!

Driving, on the other hand, not so fuuun...

Oh wait, did you ask what it sounds like?

For those of you who haven't seen the broadcast-everywhere footage of the Metrodome roof collapse, our City Pages takes it one step further and delves into the mystery of the blur hauling you-know-what in the upper right-hand corner of the video.  Click on the City Pages image below for the link to the article:

And there you have it.  Snowtastic 2010. 

All images:  my own except for the 4 from KARE-11 and the last image from City Pages
Video:  my own

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sharing the Bling Love

My husband and his friends have a running joke.  Whenever one of them discovers a new band, movie or, I don’t know, iPhone app – they like to say they “invented” it.  I guess by sharing LCD Soundsystem tunes or the Angry Birds app with others, they take some pride in having found it and then passing their new treasure along to others.  I suppose we all do that.  In fact, color me guilty, because one of my favorite hobbies is making mix CDs (and back in the day, yes, mixtapes) and handing them out to whomever wants one.  Sure, it’s a rather narcissistic way of showing off your “style,” but I’d also argue it exposes people to new things they might not have checked out on their own.

While I’m going to stop short of saying I “invented” Karin Jacobson and her amazing jewelry, I definitely think she and her work need to be shown off and shared.  Because I really, really like her stuff.  And, being in the midst of prime holiday shopping, these make for some pretty awesome gifts.

Taking inspiration from science fiction and comic books, among other things, Karin translates these sources into some downright funky-fresh jewelry.  Bright and playful, yet strong and clean, her pieces feel like they’d belong in the 1920’s and the 2020’s.  She works in a variety of materials, from sterling silver to gold to palladium.  Lately, she’s branched out to experiment with plastics and leather; the results are just as fun and fab as her metalwork.

One thing I appreciate about Karin is her use of lab stones.  Synthetically produced, these little “gems” not only keep her prices more affordable than the real thing, they also appeal to those with ethical concerns about their stones.  This is especially true for her gorgeous line of wedding rings, in which she can swap out diamonds for moissanite.  Looks just as blingy, but for a fraction of the cost and more peace of mind.  Even if you’re a hard-core adherent to the real rock, these pieces sure are pretty.  And she’ll work magic with whatever you hand her, including Grandma’s gorgeous engagement ring or an estate find that needs some cleaning and a new home (i.e. setting).

I’m quite the fan, and as you can guess, I’ve been a regular customer in her studio over the years.  My love of her design is shared by the American Jewelry Design Council, which bestowed upon her the prestigious Grand Prize award in 2002 in their New Talent Competition.  No measly accomplishment, kids!

Like a beaming, proud mama, I can’t resist showing you some pictures of my babies, er, jewelry:

Here are some shots from Karin’s website which displays a wider spectrum of her designs:

You know, I’ll be honest here.  Karin’s stuff falls into that category where you’re not so sure you want to show and tell.  Why?  Because I’m totally guilty (again) of that stupid inclination to have one-of-a-kind items.  Just like in those magazines where they’ll show a celebrity look and then smugly note “no longer available” next to the purse or bracelet you’re just dying to buy. 

In fact, I am the lucky owner of a "one-off" Karin original (it's the milky-green stone on my middle finger in the third picture).  One of my dearest friends, Linds, covets it.  Sometimes she tries to distract me with a cocktail in a sly attempt to grab the ring off of my finger.  Other times she's mentioned the potential loss of an appendage (namely, mine) - all in good humor, of course.  (Um, right, Linds?)

But, aw heck.  It’s Christmas time, right?  Love, peace, and being nice – I suppose it also means sharing, huh?  (Note to Linds:  the goodwill does not extend to that ring - sorry, hon!).

OK, I share, I share...  For you fellow Twin Cities dwellers, look no further than the ginormous Northrup-King compound.  Sitting happily in the artsy Nordeast 'hood of Minneapolis, this behemoth is home to tons of art studios, Karin’s included.  Her place is open to the public for events like Art Attack and Art-A-Whirl, and you can also find a nice selection of her jewelry at the Walker Art Center's museum store, as well as smaller boutiques around town.  If you’re not living with us here in the Minnesota tundra, said website above should satisfy your cravings for her sparkly and cool creations.

Karin is a lovely person, too, which makes it that much easier to end up buying multiple pieces from her when I swore I was going to choose just one  ring.  She's a friend, as well as an immensely talented jeweler, whose wares I proudly sport with just about every outfit, from my Tretorn wellies and Citizens jeans, to my shiny, red Nanette Lepore number, to the stupid amount of J. Crew staples that get worn to work.

I'm about done with my Christmas shopping, and if you're anything like me, there's nothing like treating yourself to a little present (or three) for surviving this insane ritual. 

I know where I'll be stopping in.

Monday, December 6, 2010

They'll Even Hold Your Purse For You

Remember when I said my brain likes to turn itself off on random Mondays?  Or more accurately, Sunday nights, which is when I try and write the bulk of my posts.  Well, the old hamster upstairs got tired from running on his little wheel.  So he’s taking a break.  Which means I don’t have anything super-ambitious to say right now.

I do have a culprit to blame for my lack of energy:  I just got back from my annual Christmas shopping trip to Nordstrom.  I love, love, love Nordstrom.  I hate, hate, hate that the only one in the Twin Cities is at the Mall of Insanity, I mean, America.  I could go on about malls, but I'll save those musings for a later post.

All I want to do right now is share with you a very funny picture.  Tonight was a private sale for Nordstrom cardholders, an annual Christmas event that my friend Annie and I have made our own annual tradition of attending.  There’s some nice, live music provided by a nice, live band.  There are also complimentary cocktails and hors d'oeuvres.  And tons of shopping to be had.


Christmas shopping + crazy Nordstrom customers + free booze and snacks + special promotions = Insanity. 

Like I said, Mall of Insanity.  It’s not just a state of mind, sometimes it’s a physical place with endless parking stalls and GPS directions.

Anyway… this is Jeff.  Jeff works in the shoe department at Nordstrom (btw, Nordstrom shoe department + all of the above = Insanity x 3).

My brain/hamster doesn’t want to make the effort to explain anything here.  Just know that the place was a madhouse, and yes, Jeff is holding my purse.  That department store is known for its service, and boy, they did not disappoint, even on a night as nuts as this one.

I’m going to try my best to spike my hamster’s water bottle with some Red Bull or an espresso shot, in hopes of posting something more substantial by Thursday.  In the midst of prime gifting time, I want to share with you an amazing friend who does some beautiful (and very buyable) work.

For now, I need to recover after my pilgrimage to Insanity and back.  And last but not least, a big shout-out to Jeff H. at Nordstrom for more than living up to their reputation for great customer service - and wearing my purse.