Month: December 2012

Interview with Maria-Lucia of LadyCrow23 Jewelry Designs! (Cool indie brand alert!)

Hey lovelies! Today I have an interview for you with Maria-Lucia of LadyCrow23 Jewelry Designs! So let’s not dither around, let’s get right into the interview and I’ll let Maria-Lucia introduce herself and tell you about her neat line of handmade jewelry!

Be sure to visit her website ( and visit her on Facebook ( as well!

Tell us a little about yourself and your company!

My name is Maria Lucia Raffinatore and I am Italo-Canadian. I came to Canada in 1998 with my husband, who is Canadian and hails from Hamilton, ON. I started making jewelry when I was in my teens, but then life took me somewhere else, and I didn’t start making jewelry again until 2004.

I am married, I am a cat lover, and I also write for an Italian spiritual newspaper called, covering Canada and Aboriginal issues. As a day job (or I should say night job) I clean offices with my husband for a building maintenance company.

Turquoise earrings, $19.95

What inspired you to start your company? 

Since I was a kid I always liked rocks and stones…when I was a kid I used to go back home with my coat pockets full of stones, LOL, countless times I had to sew back the bottoms of my pockets because they would open up under the stones’ weight! For now it is a passion and a hobby, and my dream is to make a living with my jewelry.

Clear quartz and red coral bracelet, $7.95

How do you find inspiration for your designs?

What inspires me is the stones. I am a rock, fossils and stones collector, and one day, admiring a funny shaped piece of Malachite, I thought, “Hey, this would look great as a pendant!” Hence, I started buying beads, pendants and loose gemstone beads. And now I am making jewelry. :)

I am always looking for new patterns to learn. My inspiration comes from two distinct sources. One is the stones themselves; I just take a stone in my hand, look at it, and I see a vision of the piece of jewelry I will make. The other source is my southern Italian heritage and civilization. I like to make jewelry with a Mediterranean flare and sometimes I get inspired by forgotten civilizations’ amazing jewelry pieces, with the difference that I use only glass, gemstones and seed beads for my creations.

Honey Jade earrings,  $7.99

What’s your favorite part of designing?

My favorite part is when I see what I want to make in my mind, and try and try until I get exactly what came in my mind.

What sets you apart from other designers?

First is the fact that I try to bring beautiful pieces to the public at affordable prices. Second, the fact that I do this more for passion and compassion toward animal causes than money! And third, the unusual pairing of gemstones, all real, to more modest material like seed beads and wooden beads.

Large seed beads, turquoise magnesite and raw carnelian chunks, $29.99

What causes do you support through your work?

Through my work I try to support causes like Wild Heart Ranch (they are wild life rehabbers in Oklahoma) and Parodi’s Cats (cat refuge in Italy). I also try to make donations to several other causes like the Oops-A-Dazy animal rescue in Alberta.

Any parting words for our readers?

I would ask your readers to help me support these causes by purchasing my jewelry, and also to please spread the love, and try to support animal and human causes, trying to do a good deed a week…all that is needed is love and goodwill!

Now head on over to her website (link here) to browse around! And be sure to check out the causes LadyCrow23 Jewelry Designs supports! Wild Heart Ranch (website here), Parodi’s Cats (website here), and Oops-A-Dazy animal rescue (website here). Thanks so much Maria-Lucia for the interview!

Peony jasper earrings, $7.99

My Julep New Year’s Mystery Box!

My New Year’s Mystery Box from Julep arrived, and I could not be more pleased! Take a peek at all the awesome stuff I got!

I decided to treat myself to this box since it was only $19.99 (for, mind you, at least $100 worth of goodies) and I was skipping my January box anyway (didn’t care for the color selections). The shipping slip said it definitely would not arrive in time for Christmas, but–SQUEE!–mine showed up on December 24th! Major Christmas present for moi!

So naturally when I opened it I was majorly psyched, and I was not let down by the contents. For starters, that big lovely jar is the Julep Sicilian Orange Foot Soak ($26/10 oz.), a sea salt foot soak that is 100% natural and vegan. I also got a few more packets of the polish remover wipes, which I have yet to try from my November Maven box, and a couple of sample packets of hand cream, along with a nail file. Nice little sample additions.

I also got a tube of Boho Glam Lengthening Mascara ($24) in Espresso Brown. I’ve heard very mixed things about this mascara and at that price I certainly wouldn’t have picked it up myself, so I was very excited to see it in my box.

Ah, but you’re really waiting for a close-up of those five lovely nail colors, aren’t you?

The bubblegum pink is Lauren, and I’m in love. This is that perfect almost-neon strawberry pink that I’ve been looking for in beauty shops for months, so I was thrilled to see her. This color almost reminds me of a pink highlighter pen. Next up is Georgia, a shimmery peach orange that I wouldn’t have bought for myself, but which looks interesting nonetheless.

Cindy was the real wild card of the bunch. I would normally not buy a shimmery kelly green for myself, but this is one color that sort of grew on me after I painted my tootsies. It’s certainly pretty for nail art, if nothing else.

The last two colors are flat-out awesome. Sienna is a metallic that’s neither gold nor silver–it’s perfectly balanced in the middle. And the promised “mystery glitter” is a full-coverage glitter with a black and champagne base flecked with multicolored reds and blues.

Altogether, I’m pleased not only with the contents of my box but the value: about $120 not counting the samples. Not bad, Julep!

Did any of you pretties splurge on a New Year’s Mystery Box? If so, what did you get? I’d love to see your posts and pictures, so leave me your links in the comments section below!

A look at the Zoya Lovely spring 2013 collection

Fellow nail polish junkies of the world, I do not normally get excited about pastel polish. But I just might possibly make an exception for Zoya’s upcoming spring 2013 collection. Take a closer look:

And here’s possibly my favorite of all the new colors: Neely, a gorgeous minty green. As I said already, I’m not usually a fan of pastels, but this year I’d really love to find a minty green for my fingers, and this looks perfect. And because I know you want to see the rest of the colors in detail (you do, don’t you?), they are also Pinned down below. You’re welcome.

Source: via Martha on Pinterest

From the sneak previews, Zoya and Butter London are both releasing similar pastel collections for spring. However, I kind of prefer Zoya, since they’re a) cheaper and b) I like the formula a little better. What do you think, lovelies? Any must-haves from the new collection?

[CLOSED] Merry and Bright blog hop giveaway!

Merry Christmas to all of my lovely readers! Okay, I’m a couple of days early, but I can’t wait any longer. :) I’m finally feeling the Christmas spirit!

And with that in mind, I’m joining the Merry and Bright Christmas blog hop/giveaway! What is it, you say? Basically, it’s a way for bloggers to have fun with a mass interconnected giveaway while also finding new blogs and gaining new readers!

Here’s how it works: from December 15th through January 4th, each of the bloggers involved will offer a giveaway worth at least $20 on their blog. Each blogger has control over their own giveaway, but all of the giveaways will be linked by a linky widget and by the hashtag #MerryAndBright on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram!

Okay, so now down to the prize: I decided to give away a package of some of the winter essentials I’m loving right now to keep me warm and comfy in this cold, dry weather.

  • A super-cute knit kitty hat (how adorable are those ears and little ribbon bows?!), worth $10
  • A tube of Bath and Body Works True Blue Spa Shea Cashmere hand cream, worth $6
  • A tube of minty Hurraw! lip balm, which is organic, vegan, and Leaping Bunny-certified, worth $4

All you need to do to enter is use the Rafflecopter form below! A winner will be drawn on January 5th. This giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY, so pass the word on using the hashtag #MerryAndBright and encourage your friends to enter, too! And be sure to check out the other bloggers in the linky and enter their giveaways, too!

Happy holidays to everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

P.S. Want to hook up with this giveaway? Check out the post that started it all over on Ashley Brooke’s blog; there you’ll find the sign up form, linky and button HTML, and everything else you need to join in on the fun!

Accessory Friday: jeweled collar necklace

How luxe is this collar necklace? It’s made of fabric, embellished with beading and embroidery, and tied in the back with a satin ribbon. It reminds me of some of the luxurious costume jewelry pieces rolled out by shops like Banana Republic to celebrate the release of the new Anna Karenina film–but at a much more reasonable price point.

Jeweled collar necklace, $14.95, H&M stores

Random Thursdays: All Things Christmas


(This is going to be a pretty short post, because I’ve got a ton to do today!)

Well, Christmas is less than a week away. That’s a good thing, because I’m getting itchy fingers and can’t wait to open my presents!

I have so much to do today, it’s a little overwhelming. For starters, I need to do all of my baking. I want to get a box of cookies in the mail as a last-minute gift for my grandma, who is 85 and has been ill all autumn; I know she won’t be baking for herself, so I think an assorted box of treats would be a nice surprise for her! Thank goodness for USPS Flat Rate boxes–those suckers ship fast!

I also have some last-minute cards and packages to put in the mail. Not gonna lie–as thrilled as I am that it finally snowed here, I’m not looking forward to going out in this weather to hit the post office!

I somehow actually lucked into a three-day weekend for Christmas this year, so I will probably be sitting around the house in my yoga pants, noshing and relaxing with a stack of magazines. We don’t do the whole family get-together thing; our relatives are too far away and we’re usually too busy to travel. So I’m really looking forward to a peaceful weekend with the hubbby! Maybe we can even get out and enjoy the snow!

Christmas really is my favorite holiday (I have a whole growing Pinterest board dedicated to it:, and even though I didn’t do a lot of decorating this year, I’m having fun pinning ideas for future holidays:

Source: via Martha on Pinterest


I’m also cranking up the Trans-Siberian Orchestra on the stereo!

Tell me, what are you doing this year for Christmas? I’d love to hear about it!

Me Myself and I link party #6: December 2012

Once again, I forgot to actually post the MMI link party on Tuesday. (!!) I’m getting way too busy these days!

1. What was your favorite gift given to you as a child? I remember getting lots of LEGOs, which I loved, along with baking supplies and an origami kit. Anything creative really piqued my interest!

2. Christmas is almost here, what is one Christmas song you could listen to on repeat? I could actually listen to the entire Enya Christmas album And Winter Came, but I love this song in particular:

I also really love the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and listen to their Christmas Eve and Other Stories album nonstop through the month of December! Here is one of my favorite songs from that album.

3. What are a few of the items on your Christmas list this year? I had a hard time making a list–I don’t really need anything? I asked for a plant, an electric blanket, and dark chocolate, all of which I already received! Beyond that, I would love another kitty–but the husband already said no to that one!

4. Do you and your family have any special holiday traditions? Not really. Now that I’m married, though, my husband and I have our own tradition: each year we go out shopping together for two new ornaments for the tree, one for him and one for me. We write the year on each ornament and then each December when we unpack the Christmas boxes we can look back at our ornaments and reminisce about what was going on in each year. It’s a ton of fun and much better than buying random ornaments that might not have any particular meaning behind them!

5. Which do you prefer, wrapping paper or gift bags? Why? I prefer wrapping paper with ribbons and bows, but I’m a terrible and rather lazy wrapper, so I usually resort to gift bags!

Cute Shoe Monday: cap-toe pumps

Are these shoes not amazing?! Target is actually carrying these in several different colors, including red, blue, green, and this shocking fuchsia. The red and fuchsia heels have gold-tone metal cap toes, while the blue and green have silver-tone cap toes.

I want to add these to my closet ASAP, but we’re in the middle of some of the wettest, nastiest weather we’ve had all month, so my feet are firmly planted in boots! I might have to snap them up anyway and tuck them aside for the spring months–cute shoes at Target rarely stay on the shelf for very long!

Viveca Blingy Heel, $32.99, Target