Archive for December, 2012


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I cannot believe it is almost 2013! A new year is a just cause for a celebration…it is a time of fond remembrances and new beginnings. 2012 was a good year for me. In addition to avoiding the Mayan apocalypse, I made some new friends & reconnected with some old ones, had a successful year as an artisan, visited three new cities (Savannah, Atlanta & Key West), and experienced some great shows – Roger Waters, Pearl Jam (both home & on the road), Foo Fighters, Eddie Vedder, and, ending my year, G Love & Special Sauce.

Quite often, G Love plays a show at the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City on 12/30. It is a sort of homecoming for him, since his roots are in both Philadelphia (born & raised as Garret Dutton) and Avalon, NJ (spending summers at the shore.)

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G Love’s music style is both eclectic and unique. If I had to describe it in a word it would be GROOVE. He fuses blues with old school hip hop, and still manages to keep it all very mellow, evident with his many collaborations with Jack Johnson. He maintains an indie following, and is known for his stage shows. He is backed by Special Sauce: Jeffrey “Houseman” Clemens on drums and Timo Shanko on bass. I have seen him several times, and this recent show was one of his best. He seemed to play fewer songs, but jammed out more. He also had a great mix of old and new tunes.

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Long time fans of G Love will be stoked to hear that he played the two perennial favorites from his self-titled first offering released in 1994: Baby’s Got Sauce and Cold Beverages. He jammed out both songs and the entire audience was on their feet grooving with him.

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His set list included several tunes from my favorite disc, Lemonade Hot Cookin’, Rainbow and Can’t Go Back to Jersey. He also played Peace, Love and Happiness from Superhero Brother and a fun acoustic version of Booty Call from The Hustle.

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G Love also played some songs from his latest offering, Fixin’ to Die. This album has a much more bluesy feel to it and I absolutely love it! Highlights from last night’s show include an acoustic Milk and Sugar and an awesome cover of Paul Simon’s 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.

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The show ended, as it always does in our area, with I-76, from his 1997 release Yeah, It’s That Easy. He was joined on lead vocal by Katman, who originally collaborated with G Love on the tune. While I-76 is one of my least favorite roads, it is one of my favorite G Love songs.

All in all, a great way to end the year. Since I had a late night last night, I decided to make this evening a mellow event with family. I look forward to all of the wonderful new experiences 2013 is sure to bring!

I wish everyone a safe and exuberant evening and a New Year filled with peace, love and joy!

Shanti,
~Erin

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snow betties

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How do beach bums stay fashionable during the cold, blustery winter? I live in my Uggs and comfy sweaters, but I always feel the need to accessorize with some fun boho pieces. When I am wearing short sleeves, I like to layer 2-3 bracelets, but when I am wearing sweaters and thermals, I like to adorn my wrist with one bold piece. My Limited Winter Edition Betty Bracelets, with their cool colors and chunky beads fit the bill perfectly. The accent toggles are amazing artisan pewter pieces crafted in rustic Vermont. These Bettys are only available in limited quantities for a short time…

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This frosty blue beauty is Sola Beach. The bracelet is named for a popular surf spot in Norway – just imagine riding the waves so close to the Arctic Circle! The recycled glass beads are a gorgeous rich shade of blue. They are woven into deep brown distressed leather and accented with a lovely snowflake toggle. Complete details are available here:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/113943648/sola-beach-limited-winter-edition-blue

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Ollie’s Point is a delightful bauble for chilly days! It is named after an epic surf break on beautiful and breathtaking Iceland. Wintry aqua blue (think glacier!) recycled glass beads and rich brown distressed leather combine with a whimsical snowman toggle. Check out the full listing here:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/114609831/ollies-point-limited-edition-frosty-aqua

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White Point, a major surfing beach in Nova Scotia, is the final bracelet in this Winter Wonderland collection! The recycled glass beads are an icy green – so pale they are seem like translucent icicles! They are surrounded by rich brown distressed leather and completed with a beautiful snowflake toggle. Hurry with this Betty – there is only 1 left! You can purchase it here:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/113944252/white-point-limited-winter-edition-icy

Each of these polar beauties is hand crafted by me and retails for only $26! Shipping is also free for all U.S. and Canadian orders! Don’t wait on these perfect winter accents – they may be gone before you know it!

Thanks for stopping by!

Shanti,
~Erin

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I can’t believe it is already Christmas Eve! My shopping is done, presents are wrapped, and now it is time for the festivities! While most of my posts are about my jewelry line, this time of year, I find myself sharing recipes. To me, cooking is a way of loving. How many of us have wonderful memories at the family dinner table, whether for a holiday celebration or a weeknight meal. And giving homemade baked goods as gifts is truly a labor of love. In that spirit, I am sharing a few more of my favorite holiday recipes.

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These little gems are another one of my Pinterest success stories! They are tiny pecan pies made with phyllo shells…super easy and super yummy! The prep time is about 10 minutes and the bake time is about the same. I used the recipe from Athens website and they came out great! The only change I made was substituting packed brown sugar for the white sugar. The full recipe is available here:

http://www.athensfoods.com/recipes/recipeconsumer.aspx?recipe_id=1384

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Christmas Eve for me is a wonderful time of celebration and gathering. My family is of Italian descent, so our menu is based on seafood in honor of the Italian Christmas Eve tradition of the Feast of the Seven Fishes. I decided to try a new recipe to bring with me this year. These crab rangoons are baked (not fried) in phyllo shells (I am really becoming a fan of these!). This great recipe is from the Big Red Kitchen:

http://www.bigredkitchen.com/2010/12/advent-day-19-crab-rangoon/

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What is Christmas without a little holiday spirit? This vivid red cocktail, the Poinsettia, is made with cranberry juice and champagne. I plan on using cranberry-raspberry juice and garnishing with fresh lime slices.

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My Christmas is not complete without watching A Christmas Story in its entirety. It was a funny little tradition I had with my Dad before he passed away, which I continue to keep alive in his memory. Sentimental reasons aside, I triple dog dare you to find a more awesome holiday movie!

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One of my favorite holiday music collections is This Warm December on Brushfire Records. It is a great mellow assortment featuring artists such as Jack Johnson and G. Love.

Thanks for indulging in my little collection of holiday traditions. This is a wonderful time to share…so I would love to hear about any of your holiday festivities. Please feel free to leave a comment.

I hope for everyone’s holiday wishes to come true during this magical time of year!

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Peace, Love & Joy to You & Yours,
~Erin

mystic maidens

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I would like to introduce everyone to three very magical ladies! As with all of my Betty Bracelets, they are crafted from Indonesian recycled glass beads, which have a soft quality reminiscent of sea glass.

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This is Mermaid Beach. She is named after an actual surfing beach on the Goldcoast of Queensland, Australia. She is created from deep distressed brown leather and rich Pacific blue recycled glass beads. She is accented with a stunning artisan mermaid button (note how she is brushing her long hair!). The full listing can be viewed here:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/118695407/mermaid-beach-blue-recycled-glass-woven

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This is Llangennith. She is named after one of the most consistent surf breaks in the mystical, craggy land of Wales. Soft, misty lavender recycled glass beads are woven with deep brown distressed leather and finished with a fanciful fairy artisan button. The complete listing is available here:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/118695607/llangennith-lavender-recycled-glass?ref=v1_other_1

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This last lovely lady is Cloudbreak. She is named for a famed surf spot on the magical & breathtakingly beautiful island of Fiji. She is crafted from deep brown distressed leather and gorgeous aqua blue (think tropical lagoon!) recycled glass beads. A seductive artisan mermaid clasp is a perfect accent to the stunning beads. The entire listing can be seen here:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/113947039/cloudbreak-aqua-blue-recycled-glass

Each bracelet retails for $29.00 and ships for FREE in the U.S. and Canada. Thanks for stopping by!

Shanti,
~Erin

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It just does not feel like Christmas without the scent of baked goods in the air. I truly enjoy baking, and I often give handmade treats as gifts. I have a few recipes that I have made consistently through the years, but I am also always on the lookout for something new and fun.

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I have been making my Caramel Crunch Mix for almost fifteen years! It is one of my most highly requested (and fortunately easy) recipes!

9 cups Crispix Cereal
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup (I always use Karo)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup dry roasted and salted almonds

1. Place cereal in large microwave safe bowl.

2. Place brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup in 2 cup glass measuring cup. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, stirring after each minute, until melted and smooth. Stir in baking soda until dissolved. Pour caramel over cereal and stir until evenly coated.

3. Microwave uncovered on high for 5-6 minutes, stirring and scraping bowl every minute, just until cereal begins to brown. Stir in almonds. Pour onto wax-paper lined cookie sheet to cool. Once cool, break apart and store in airtight container.

Adapted from Caramel Crispy Chex Mix Recipe

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I am proud to say that I have actually made a recipe that I pinned on Pinterest! These Chubby Hubby Truffles are as full of chocolate, peanut butter, and pretzel deliciousness as their Ben & Jerry’s ice cream namesake. I found this particular recipe from Brown Eyed Baker to be simple, as well as yummy:

http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2011/11/30/peanut-butter-pretzel-truffles/

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Didn’t I also mention sugar plums in the beginning of this post? A nice complement to these decadent treats is a sweet fruit wine. I love this NJ Sugar Plum Wine from Heritage Vineyards. They are located in Southern New Jersey, in Gloucester County, near Mullica Hill. If you are unable to visit their winery, you can also pick up a bottle at your local Canal’s Liquor Mart.

Eat, drink, and be merry this holiday season!

Shanti,
~Erin

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Crunch time…only 9 shopping days left! Should I order online…only to have expensive expedited shipping charges eat away at my great sale prices? I think a better idea would be to shop locally. This post features some beautiful recycled items from my fellow South Jersey Etsians:

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This amazing frame is made with recycled floorboards and chicken wire. Add some photos attached with vintage clothes pins for an extra special gift! It is available from three1seven at this listing:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/112223194/recycled-floorboard-frame-chicken-wire?ref=af_you_favitem

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These fantastic coasters are made from fallen tree limbs. They are sliced, decorated, and finished for a beautiful rustic finish. They make a wonderful holiday gift accompanied by a bottle of wine from a local vineyard. They are available from Roof Top Creations at this listing:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/100844623/his-and-hers-wood-coasters-from-tree

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This gorgeous tote is made from a recycled coffee sack! It is completely lined inside with a fun chili pepper fabric. It makes a memorable gift when filled with handmade baked goods and, of course, some fair-trade coffee. It is available from Back Alley Chic at this listing:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/109460959/coffee-sack-tote-with-hot-pepper-lining

I often give gift cards, which I like to accompany with a small handmade gift. A piece of jewelry crafted with with recycled components fits the bill perfectly!

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These fabulous earrings are made with tagua nut beads and recycled sterling silver. Very fashionable and very green! They are available from Twice Creations at the following listing:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/113674549/aqua-turquoisetagua-earrings-eco?ref=af_you_favitem

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And, of course, I love to gift my own Betty Bracelets. Bonzai Pipeline, as with all of my Betty’s, is created with recycled glass beads and is available here:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/107830779/bonzai-pipeline-aqua-blue-recycled-glass

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When wrapping gifts, I often prefer bags to paper. I also look for bags that can be reused, like these great shopping totes from Whole Foods Market. They are small enough for most gifts and are only $.79!

Please remember, please support your local independent crafters when shopping for one-of-a-kind gifts!

Shanti,
~Erin

time is running out…

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Time is running out to purchase my Limited Edition Betty Bracelets! They make great holidays gifts for any beach bum on your shopping list. As with all of my Betty Bracelets, they are woven leather accented with recycled glass beads…very green! This collection is then completed with winter themed artisan pewter buttons made right in Vermont! A truly special handmade gift!

Each bracelet retails for $26.00. (Check out my Nerd Wallet Indie Coupon for a great deal! Click on the link in my sidebar.) That price includes packaging with a holiday themed box and first class mail with tracking. I also offer a priority mail upgrade, available on my website. All of the Limited Edition Betty Bracelets can be viewed here:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/serendipityblu?section_id=12481046

Thanks for stopping by!

Shanti,
Erin

grassroots holiday bazaar

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I joined four of my fellow Etsians today for our home-grown craft show. We each set up a table of our wares, served some munchies & wine, and welcomed our guests for a relaxing afternoon of shopping & socializing.

Our hostess was Jaime, and she makes beautiful jewelry:

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Jaime is very skilled in wire work. I just love her earring designs!

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You can visit Jaime’s Etsy shop, Jewelry by Jaime at the following link:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/JewelrybyJaime

Monique creates gorgeous home & garden accents. Her display featured beautiful wooden signs, stunning garden balls, and sweet holiday ornaments.

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You can visit Monique’s Etsy shop, Du Till and Daughters at the following link:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/DuTillandDaughters

Linda makes really fun resin jewelry. Her designs are vibrant & youthful!

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You can visit Linda’s Etsy shop, Pink Milkshake Kiss at the following link:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/PinkMilkshakeKiss

Lisa loves to recycle & upcycle. Her display featured coasters made from both wood slices and ceramic tiles (which were emblazoned with images from old books!)

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Lisa also makes clocks and bowls from old records. She only uses scratched vinyl that can no longer be played.

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Lisa sells her wood coasters on her Etsy shop, Roof Top Creations. You can visit her here:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/RoofTopCreations

I had my display of Betty Bracelets and Seaglass Pendants. This was my very first craft show outing, and I appreciated the opportunity to work out any little snags. I will have to get some small spotlights (borrowed from Jaime for the day) to really make the colors of the glass pop. I also need to leave some Betty’s loose on the table so potential customers can easily try them on. I think I would like them to appear to be just strewn about with the loose seashells.

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All in all, it was a great outing. We had a nice showing, we each made a few sales, and we had a lot of fun bartering at the end. I walked away with some amazing one-of-kind gifts (garden ball for my mom, crystal earrings for my sister, Bruce Springsteen clock for my boss) and a great experience!

Thanks to Jaime for opening up her home to all of us!

Shanti,
Erin

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Most of my truly great ideas usually begin with Pearl Jam. To say that I am a PJ fan would be a bit of an understatement – I am actually more of a PJ freak. I have been loving their music, seeing their shows, and following them around since Ten was released in 1991. So when Eddie Vedder’s solo tour was postponed from the spring, I decided to ditch the cold NJ weather, and head south to Ft Lauderdale to see rescheduled 11/30 show. I also decided to use the rest of my vacation days to rent a car and drive down to Key West to chill after the concert.

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I arrived in Ft Lauderdale on Friday morning to balmy & breezy weather. I took a lovely walk along the beach to relax before heading to Eddie’s show. The above photo shows an amazing fish sculpture on Las Olas Blvd & the beach, made completely of plastic water bottles!

I wanted to grab a bite before the show. Since it was a Friday evening, most places were packed. With my tummy rumbling, I stumbled upon Squiggy’s NY Style Pizza . It is a run down hole in the wall kinda place right in the middle of the downtown area. Anyone who was born & raised in NJ is very discriminating about pizza, and Squiggy’s did not disappoint. The slices were huge, the crust was thin & crispy, and there was just the right amount of cheese. My friend & I managed to snag the only table in the place (most people either stand & eat at the counter or order to go); open pizza boxes were used as tablecloths! Squiggy’s also serves beer ($3 domestic & $4 import bottles), so we just stayed there talking to the owner & enjoying the colorful cast of characters strolling in for a slice until it was time for the show. Squiggy’s is located at 207 Southwest 2nd Street, near all of the bars. It is also walking distance to the night’s destination, Broward Center for Performing Arts.

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This is the third time I have seen Eddie’s solo show. He plays small venues for a more intimate experience (this particular theater seats about 2,800). It is also a very casual affair – there is no backing band – just Eddie with his acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin, or ukulele. This show was 2 hours & 20 minutes of sheer awesomeness! He played several tunes from his Ukulele Songs CD, including Tonight You Belong to Me – a sweet duet with special guest Chan Marshall. He also jammed on several songs with Glen Hansard – my favorite was Society from his Into the Wild CD. He played just about every other song from that amazing soundtrack, including his finale of Hard Sun. The set list also included Better Days (from Eat, Pray, Love), the Beatles’ You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away (from I Am Sam), and Neil Young’s Rockin’ in the Free World. the night would not be complete without any PJ tunes. Eddie played acoustic versions of Just Breathe & Unthought Known from Backspacer, I am Mine, and the already raw Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town. While I am hard pressed to pick my favorite moment of this incredible show, I have declared it a tie between a hauntingly beautiful version of Betterman performed on his mandolin, and an acoustic version of Porch from Ten. The energy of both the crowd and Eddie was just as intense during this stripped down version as it is during a PJ arena show. All in all, a completely amazing experience, and a perfect way to begin a vacation!

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Hit the road early the next morning, taking Route 1 South from Ft Lauderdale all the way to Mile Marker 0. Once you hit the Keys, Route 1 becomes the Overseas Highway, and the ride turns very scenic: classic Florida kitsch and the expanse of beautiful blue waters. Stopped off at Bob’s Bunz (Mile Marker 81 on Isla Morada) for breakfast. The portions were generous, the prices were reasonable, and the onsite bakery was scrumptious!

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The Douglas House was so welcoming with its friendly staff and comfortable appointments that I immediately melted into both the adirondack chair on the front porch and that famous Key West vibe. I highly recommend this guesthouse. The location is great – it is right off of Duval Street, but it is closer to Southernmost Point than Mallory Square – making it quiet for sleeping and easily accessible for attractions. The price is also very reasonable. Check out their website if you are planning to stay in Key West:

http://douglashouse.com/

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Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square is a must do! Experience the lively performers – jugglers, flame throwers, street musicians, etc – and shop the local vendors for one of a kind souvenirs. And, of course, stick around for the famous Key West sunset! After, dine on fresh seafood and wash it all down with a cool beer. Since this is Key West, there are many, many choices.

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My favorite meal in Key West was at Blue Heaven (729 Thomas Street in Bahama Village). The place truly lives up to the hype. I opted to go for lunch during the week to avoid the long lines.

Other places I recommend to eat include: Six-Toed Cat (823 Whitehead Street – near Hemingway House) for a hearty breakfast or lunch and Old Town Mexican Cafe (609 Duval Street) for its shrimp & crab burrito and $12 domestic beer buckets.

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If you are in Key West, you must go to Smokin’ Tuna Saloon (4 Charles Street – just off Duval) and see Rusty Lemmons. The crowd at the Tuna is more mellow than the typical Duval scene and the music mix ranges more towards blues, southern rock, classic rock, and alternative country than pop. I had the pleasure of getting acquainted with Rusty while I was in Key West, and not only is he an outstanding performer and talented musician/singer/songwriter, but he is also a warm, friendly, genuine person. He brings such soul to his set, whether he is playing If I Had a Boat by Lyle Lovett, Up On Cripple Creek by The Band, or one of his original songs.

These two bars Are notable for their great happy hour specials. The Lazy Gecko (203 Duval Street) has BOGO from 5-8 (5-Midnight on Sunday & Monday). Two Friends Bar (512 Front Street) has half price appetizers (try the conch fritters) and the best slogan on the island: “No greater love than the enduring, tender love…of one drunken friend for another.”

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Since my blog is primarily about jewelry, I decided to round out my little travelogue with some of the treasure I brought back from Key West:

The bright turquoise flower ring at the top of the photo is made from leather and only cost $5 at Toko Indo (513 Duval Street.) This is a great little boutique with fun finds from my favorite place on the planet, Bali.

The sterling silver & blue opal crab pendant is from Local Color (425 Green Street.) The selection of sterling jewelry here is vast, the prices are fair, and the service is friendly without being pushy.

The luminous teal fused glass pendant is a one of a kind find from a vendor at Mallory Square.

The last pendant, a beautiful pink and yellow mandala, was purchased from my favorite boutique in Key West, Wanderlust (310 Petronia Street.) All jewelry is locally made, and all clothing and other fashion accessories are from up & coming indie designers. Definitely check it out next time you are in Key West.

Always remember, when traveling, leave only footprints and take only memories (& a really great piece of locally crafted jewelry!)

Peace, Love & Pearl Jam!
~Erin

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