Meet the Maker behind Lou Jewels

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I've always been an art kid. For as long as I can remember I've been in an art class of some kind. As a kid, math was kind of my refuge from art class. While I loved art class, it was so subjective, SO opinion based, sometimes that was draining and tiring. Math class was the place where you were right, or wrong, end of story. In my late teens I met a mathematician who told me that there are places you can get to in the mathematical field where that was no longer the case, and my brain just exploded with wonder and curiosity. I've been inspired by math ever since. I love taking a concept or idea, or maybe a theory that fascinates me, and creating a visual representation of that idea. 

Once I've got a concept I like, I sit down at my bench to create it, all the while staying open to other ideas. I will play around with materials. Sometimes things turn out exactly how I imagined them, and sometimes what I end up with is far from where I started, but I love it even more.

 
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1. What did you want to be when you were a child and why?

When  I was little I wanted to be a screen play writer. I loved Home Alone so much, and I wanted to make people feel the way that movie made me feel...all warm and fuzzy. 

2. What is your favorite thing about your workspace?

The thing I love most about my workspace is my jewelers bench. When I decided to really go for it with jewelry, I went out and splurged on a professional bench. Its set up exactly how I want it. Every jeweler I've apprenticed under has their bench set up differently. Now, this is a space that gets to be 100% tailored to me and how I like to work. Hanging up around my workspace I have lots of unique pieces I've gotten from other makers I've met over the years. Its a nice to be reminded I'm a part of a wonderful community of creators.

3. What is a scent that defines your childhood and why?

Hmmm....Well I grew up in NYC, so the smell of the subway makes me think of my childhood. A more pleasant answer is honeysuckle. We used to spend our summers at my grandmother’s house in Mississippi, and my mom would point out the different wildflowers. Honeysuckle was my fave because you could pull out the little blossom and it would taste like honey. I remember thinking that was so cool.  

4. Name a fear or professional challenge that keeps you up at night.

I always feel behind schedule in some way.  I'm in a perpetual state of catching up. Rarely does a day end and I feel like I did enough work for that day. I take it as a feeling that comes with any start up or new business. What I've learned from other more established business owners is that that feeling never really goes away, its more about managing it. My fear is that I will never learn to manage it. That I will always feel stressed and overwhelmed.

5. What is your personal or professional motto?

Be kind! Treat others how you want to be treated, and be respectful of others. You'd be surprised how far that will get you. 

6. What is something you tell yourself to build yourself up when you face criticism?

Whenever I am feeling down, I remind myself- All is well, all will be well. Everything in my life, mistakes included, have lead me to where I am now, pursuing something I truly love. Who am I to decide if something is bad or good? Its all about perspective. Something that seems bad now may turn out to be a major turning point in your favor. 

7. Current fave junk food, restaurant, or treat?

I am currently OBSESSED with frozen bananas covered in dark chocolate. I've been eating one almost everyday for weeks and I am waiting to get sick of them, but that just hasn't happened yet! Fave breakfast cereal is Reeses. I rarely buy it because I usually eat the whole box way too fast. 

Lou Jewels

 info@myloujewels.com

http://www.myloujewels.com/
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Falling for Vintage Fall Fashion

Falling for Vintage Fall Fashion

Each season there are a number of trends that you will begin seeing in every store, some you’ll love and some you’ll loathe. The great thing about fashion trends is that you can choose which to partake in and to what extent you make it your own.

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Turquoise Everything at Orlando Vintage

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I love turquoise. 

They are such beautiful stones.  The Zuni, Navajo, and native peoples who created works of art in Sleeping Beauty blue or Dry Creek green are some of my favorite things to collect.  After going to the Orlando Museum of Art's Seminole Indian culture exhibit I had to pull out all my turquoise to welcome spring and summer. 

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My best friend Kim and I each had turquoise rings from our grandmothers when we were in high school and I think that kicked it off for me.  Each setting different than the last and each piece signed by the craftsperson who made it.  Back when Church Street Station existed my parents bought me a beautiful olive green turquoise ring.  It has since been passed on to family.  My favorite art teacher gave me a turquoise cuff bracelet that's now on a friend's arm in Japan.  I just sent Kim a killer pair of Navajo turquoise earrings, and my own favorite piece is a modern ring by Rockhaus Metals purchased at Gypset.  

I spotted some really unique pieces recently over at Orlando Vintage and had to ask Lisa if I could share them.  I combined my own collection with hers and we shot a few artsy photos.  I'm in LOVE with the colors.  It looks like I'm making a basket of blue! 

If you can't resist turquoise either, head over to Orlando Vintage to hunt for your own authentic treasures. 

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Photos by Nicole Dudenhoefer

Selby Gardens in Sarasota, Florida

I used to live in Sarasota and Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is one of my favorite places to wander.  Named for Marie Selby who lived on the property with her husband, William, for over 50 years.  She loved nature and when she passed in 1971, she left her home and gardens to the community "for the enjoyment of the general public." 

Selby Gardens is the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to epiphytes.  They research, study, display, and conserve these plants that live on other plants.  Like air plants, they don't harm the host plant but rather just hang around as pals.  Some of the best examples are orchids, bromeliads, and gesneriads.  (Say that three times fast!)

It's a place of research and the scientific staff here have discovered more than 2,000 plant species. The collections on property include an herbarium of more than 110,000 dried and pressed specimens and over 30,000 preserved in fluids with some of the rarest dating back to the 1700s. 

If you're in Sarasota, take a couple hours to visit Selby Gardens.  The LIVE video below takes you on a walking tour through this living museum and shows the unique Warhol: Flower in the Factory works all over the property.  The exhibit is open from February to June 30, 2018 and "explores the surprising, and little known, role of nature in Warhol's art and life."

Daytona Beach Turkey Rod Run: Daytona Beach, Florida

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I learned how to drive in a Model A Ford.  Back in 1986, my dad was slowly restoring a Model A and it was a just a chassis and engine.  I sat on a couple of tires to work the clutch and steer. Across the street from my childhood home at 117 Hattaway Drive, was an unused golf-course and orange groves that stretched all the way down to Lake Orienta.  I drove it everyday until I finally could clutch my way up the hill from Hattaway Drive to 436.  It's steep, and if you have a manual car, mastering that hill is key to being a good driver. 

So began my fascination with cars.  I love them, I do.  I've had quite a few different ones already.  I loved my diesel VW Rabbit, my red Acura Integra, and my Pontiac Fiero the best.  Collecting and restoring cars is an expensive hobby, and one well outside my means.  So, I headed off to Daytona to check out the Daytona Beach Spring Turkey Rod Run.  I thought maybe I'd get my fill and then not continue to shop CraigsList for Willys jeeps.   

Lots of cars, lots of collectors.

 

Click on the Townie Tourist video below to watch the show. You won't believe cars we see.👇👇👇

The Daytona Beach Turkey Rod Run is in spring and fall. This year it's November 22-25 at Daytona International Speedway. Click here for ticket and vendor info.

Habitat Galleries in West Palm Beach

Before heading to Morikami a few weeks ago, I stopped in West Palm Beach and came across Habitat Galleries. From quirky multimedia works to elaborate sculptures, this place has some really amazing stuff in a huge variety. The place has been open since 1982 and is super photo-friendly, so feel free to stop in and grab some shots if you're in the area. 

Some of the pieces I really liked were made by Christopher David White, whose mind-blowing work looks like carved wood, but is actually clay!

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Ceramic sculpture artist Park Joonsang had two pieces that played on small children turning the walls of their homes into canvases. He also has a couple vase pieces with some interesting kids serving some serious attitude.

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August Muth's holographic pieces were a nice interactive element that changed based on where you standing. The work on the white background includes a hidden message, if you can find it at the right angle. 

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A bonus stop you could easily make is right across the street where a mural with Prince, David Bowie, Adam "Ad- Rock" Horowitz from the Beastie Boys, Bob Marley and Kurt Cobain is painted on a wall near a vacant lot.

 

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Downtown Orlando on Saturday Night

We recently toured downtown Orlando with Brendan from Bungalower and Lisa from The S*%#$! Beautiful. For those who are unfamiliar, The S*%#$! Beautiful is an Instagram account that offers a view from the loo while exploring the City Beautiful. The account was started after its creator had a collection of drunkenly deemed artsy bathroom photos, with no solid purpose. In an effort to unite those who become an artist under the influence, the project was born. The page is open to content submission and follows the tag #DMWhileYouBM, but please do NOT DM your actual BM.

We toured a variety of locations from new clubs to old dive bars, to try and find something for everyone. And of course, this round-up includes a review of each spot’s restroom.

Mather’s - We had to hate from outside the club because we couldn’t even get in. Mather’s has a dress code and with one member of our group in a T-shirt, hat and sneakers it was a no-go for us. So dress the part if you plan to visit.

Celine - What is now Celine is what use to be Vain, but if it wasn’t for the rooftop lounge I wouldn’t have been able to tell. Neon lights, white couches and hanging greenery, this place has had a solid renovation with a modern feel. Until you get the bathrooms, which looks great all around with lots of mirrors, but is unfinished under the sinks. Celine had the best drinks of the night, served by a super sweet bartender. I ordered a Forget Me Not, which hides the taste of alcohol really well, but somehow is one of their strongest drinks and I could definitely feel it. (On your way in or out be sure not miss the hilarious Buddy Dyer picture they have hanging on the first floor.)  

Shots Bar - This spot opened up a few months ago and is focused on – wait for it – SHOTS. I didn’t actually try anything here, but Brendan opted for a S’mores shot. They actually light the bar on fire. There is probably something new here for everyone. The bathroom was fully finished, nice and clean (which I am super appreciative of), but nothing special with average lighting and decent mirror offerings.

One unique feature of Shots are the wacky hats they have attached to cords and hanging from the walls. With the right group of people and sufficient alcohol I’m sure all hygiene concerns will cease to exist as you take advantage of this for a SnapStory or Boomerang. Then look for Rid lice shampoo at Walgreens or CVS.

Joysticks - As a kid who grew up without video game consoles, I am so surprised at how much I liked this place. Joysticks is basically video game and  science fiction nerds’ dream evening outing with a Star Wars themed lounge, arcade games and a plethora of collectibles for decor. It was a very immersive experience that was consistently themed in every aspect.

The ladies’ room was the best of the night with Ms.Pac-Man themed, super pink glitter sink and the absolute best lighting with ring light mirrors! It had me glowing from every angle. However, as you walk past the men’s room you’ll find a male attendant and a tray of personal care items for them to freshen up. Um…. what’s up with that? Guys I’ve spoken to about this have pretty much told me it’s super unnecessary and they’re kinda weirded about about a dude just standing around in there. Sooo, maybe move this idea over to the ladies’ room instead because I feel like we’d make better use of and appreciate this service.

With all the great things Joysticks has to offer, there is one drawback – worst drink of the night. I tried the Nosferatus, which was recommended after I said I was a fan of whisky, but it tasted medicinal. Jenny tried a non-alcoholic beverage but she wasn’t a fan of the super-sweet offering.

Hanson’s -  Hands down the most chill place we visited all night. Do not, I repeat, do not come here with a wild, loud group of your drunk friends. You'll disturb the ~vibe~. Fun fact, this speakeasy use to be a shoe repair shop and had the first electric sign in Orlando. You can hang at the bar or find a quiet seating area in the corner, but please do not miss out on  the awesome patio they have.

The bathrooms carry on the rest of the spot’s old-timey feel, but with better lighting than I expected. One of the bathrooms (because there’s a few and I believe a secret one? Maybe too many drinks and flights of stairs at this point) has a gold-framed free-standing mirror that oddly hung. If you’re looking for a not-so-basic bathroom selfie, you can contort yourself to try this one.  Would make for a fun S*%#$! Beautiful submission, juuust saying.

Tanqueray - I use to talk past this place four times a week and wonder what it was really like. I should have just kept wondering because the visit crushed everything I dreamed of.  It sounds like a super cool, upscale jazz lounge, but as a member of the generation that supposedly is putting an end to smoking, the fact that this place smells like a straight ashtray was a huge turn-off. I was pretty much out after checking out their bathroom which for some reason reminds me of the kind you’d find in a subway tunnel.

(NOTE: This is where the group splits up and goes separate ways. Jenny, Lisa, Brendan, and Scottie headed to the Hen House on Wall Street and then stopped at The Courtesy. Bathrooms are pictured above in the photo gallery. We had talked earlier about how Jenny felt creeped out being downtown. There are sidewalks full of people in various states of inebriation and she was super uncomfortable. She rarely comes downtown to events after dark for just this reason.)

I met up with other friends and went to Swig , which had a pretty good DJ who did what Saturday night DJs are suppose to do – play hits everyone knows. I didn’t check out the bathroom here, but the bartenders were super friendly and generous with their pours.

As the night was ending we made our way over to Gito’s, but encountered one major interruption that is one of the biggest cons of spending time in our downtown environment.

Walking along and ignoring a guy shouting to get my attention, he decided to grab my arm and forced me to spin around to come face-to-face with him. I’m not sure how he thought that would be effective in getting my number or whatever he was after, but it is not how you shoot your shot in 2k18. Fellas, do better. There is nothing particularly unique about this experience – which is the problem. It happens all the time. Getting physical with women you don’t know is not attractive in any way whatsoever. 

Show some respect with your greeting or introduction and it’ll go a long way. If your approach doesn’t work out, take that respect, apply it to the curve and just move on. There’s a lesson in every loss, and there are plenty of other fish in the sea.

 

 

Audubon Park with DJ Nigel

We're starting a throwback series to the tours we took last year. One of my faves was this one from Audubon Park. Nothing like a warm winter day in Orlando and this Townie Tour really was unique. We started at Stardust Coffee with Brendan and Jessica Frick then headed over to East End Market and hit up Park Avenue CDs and Bluebird Bake Shop with DJ Nigel John. 

Did you know DJ Nigel has a new podcast over on Studio17? If you have ever wondered about his amazing skills check out Black Suede Radio with DJ Nigel John. IMO he's probably the best DJ in Orlando.  

Nigel's advice for becoming a DJ?

"Love music. Listen to music. Play stuff that you think is good."

He's been working on some other things too so be sure to click here and here for his other projects.

Watch the tour and walk through Audubon Park with us. Notice what's changed and what's remained the same. Comment below with where you'd like to see me go in Audubon Park this year. 

3 Locations for Getting Hygge in Orlando

It's not spring yet and the cold weather isn't quite over. Get hygge in front of a city bonfire or make one of your own just out of town.

Hygge: Pronounced hewgah, this Danish concept is all about achieving comfort, coziness, and a warm glow.

The Alfond Inn This Winter Park jewel has posh lawns for strolling. Grab a craft cocktail or creative mocktail at the bar and step out onto the open patio. There are comfy rocking chairs, benches, cusion-filled seats and a concrete fire-pit to warm you during the slightest chill or deep in the middle of a cold snap. The best is the people watching. Don't miss a stroll inside around the gorgeous art-hotel. You'll find extraordinary pieces from the Cornell Fine Arts Museum Collection.

If you're looking for a creative libation, try the MBA: Woodford Reserve bourbon, blackberry, and oranges topped with ginger ale. You know, a fancy bourbon and ginger. It's my all-time favorite drink. Everything For Love sounds warming too with Ron Za capa Aged Rum, chocolate mole bitters, orange bitters, and grapefruit peel. You just have to throw in some of our winter citrus.

The Taproom at Dubsdread Golf Course The only brunch in town that hands-down makes a perfect cathead biscuit with sausage gravy also sports a fire-pit. A chilly night under the stars calls for a warm fire and snacks under twinkling market lights. Just far enough away from the porch to have a private conversation, this fire-pit is one of my favorite places in the cooler months. Deep comfy chairs and just enough table space for drinks and small bites. Servers come right to the fireand you get the same great attention al fresco. My choice off the cocktail menu? The grapefruit and basil martini with fresh basil and Deep Eddy's Grapefruit Vodka.

Volusia County Beaches About 40 minutes from Orlando on the East Coast you can reserve your own bonfire ring on the beach. Only available during non-turtle nesting seasons (November through April), you can build your own pyre by the Atlantic Ocean. Be sure to click on this link for a permit and to reserve your space. They don't provide wood, so bring your own and make sure it's unprocessed.

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Townie Talks: Hellcats, Inc.

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Welcome to episode one of Townie Talks. This podcast will help you get to know the doers, makers and all-around awesome people in Orlando through a rapid-fire session of engaging questions.

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In this first episode, Jenny sits down with Clark Orr and Brittany Reagan of Hellcats Inc.

The husband and wife duo launched their retail company, which,  produces accessories, art prints, decor, patches, pins and other other goodies in dark, but cute styles, in 2016.

From pop culture to personal, listen in to learn more about the creative minds behind a lifestyle brand that's both feminine and masculine, fun and edgy, and tough - with just the right amount of sparkle.

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Jenny asks the couple to describe what they do in three words, the most common adjectives they use to describe themselves, what one book shaped their outlook on life, and much more. 

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To check out Hellcats Inc. click here.

Grandma Party Bazaar 2017

Another Grandma Party Bazaar has come and gone. If you missed it in December then you REALLY missed it. There was the coolest selection of makers and creatives. Brendan and I took a walk around the tents and spoke with a slew of talented people. Take a look here: 

Interested in being a vendor? Follow Grandma Party Bazaar on Facebook which is where they announce when application is open. Of course I have my faves, but I discovered so many new makers and met some really cool people. Word of warning, the drinks at Stardust are deceptively delicious and STRONG as hell. The lemonade was the best ever, from what I remember. 

There are some killer photos of the day by Tipso Photo...Mike Lothrop. You can check them out here. In short, mark your calendars now for mid-December in Orlando. The market scene is HAWT and this one is one you should NEVER miss. Have I yelled at you enough?