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Where to Eat, Shop, and Play for Balloon Fiesta

Where to Eat, Shop, and Play for Balloon Fiesta

I woke up at 4:15 this morning to get ready for work, and I realized most people are already on their way to the Balloon Fiesta grounds in Albuquerque to see the "Mass Ascension."  Some may argue that witnessing the flight of hundreds of hot air balloons of all shapes and sizes is some sort of spiritual experience.  It is certainly a must-see!  

This is my 4th year at the Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Festival - Balloon Fiesta Show held at the Sandia Resort and Casino, and my 6th time to Albuquerque this year.  I thought I would share my favorite things to do in Albuquerque for the time you are not on the Balloon Fiesta grounds:

EAT: 

  • Albuquerque is becoming known for being a foodie town.  Since I am a traveling artist, I appreciate good food and good service at a decent price.  My favorite restaurant is Flying Star, where one can find a variety of eats, with vegetarian and gluten free options, and where breakfast is served all day.  Be sure to save room for dessert; their pies are to die for! (My favorite is the Key Lime pie).  Locations in the North Valley and Northeast Heights (Nob Hill location is currently closed for renovation).
  • If you want big portions and good Mexican Food, go to Sadie's on 4th St. In true New Mexican Fashion the green chile sauce is legit and they serve potatoes instead of rice as a side.  You can order margaritas by the carafe for everyone to enjoy.  
  • If you find yourself in Old Town and are looking for a more upscale ambiance, High Noon won't disappoint.  Housed in one of Old Town's original buildings dating back to 1785, dining there is certainly a unique experience!
  • If you want to splurge and have a 5 star dining experience, dine at El Campo on the Los Poblanos Inn and Lavender Farm.  While I have not personally eaten there, I have heard nothing but amazing things from friends and family. More about Los Poblanos in the next section.

SHOP:

  • Whether you want to get a special souvenir or get a head start on your holiday shopping, you can find unique gifts in Albuquerque. During Balloon Fiesta (weekends only), the 31st Annual Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Show is being held under the big white tent at the Sandia Resort and Casino.  Over 150 artists from across the country are selling their handcrafted art.  You can find jewelry (insert shameless plug: I am booth C-28), photography, Balloon Fiesta-themed crafts, and even killer wood cutting boards.  There is live music and great food trucks too!  
  • If you are in Old Town, there are plenty of galleries and gift shops, but if you want to shop a beautifully curated collection of New Mexico-themed  products (and food - they sell the best salsa!) a must is the Albuquerque Museum Store.  They have everything, and I love their book selection (and did I mention the salsa?). Note: the store and museum is closed on Mondays.
  • If you aren't going to eat at El Campo, at the very minimum visit the Los Poblanos Farm Shop, where you can get all things lavender that was harvested just outside of the shop.  Grab a coffee or tea at the Farm Shop cafe and sit outside and enjoy the serene view of the lavender fields and Sandia Mountains.  

PLAY:

  • My favorite thing to do is hike.  For a lung-busting workout you can hike the La Luz Trail on the western side of the Sandias or head to the less crowded eastern side for a number of hikes outside of Cedarcrest.
  • Tram:  if you aren't going to hike to the top of the Sandias, take the Tram to the top and enjoy amazing views.  The restaurant is now open so you can enjoy a beverage or lunch at over 10,000 feet!  
  • Museums:  My favorite is the Albuquerque Museum in Old Town, but there is also the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and specialty museums such as the Turquoise Museum.  There are too many amazing museums to list here; but you can research the top 10 Museums by Trip Advisor.  

I hope you have an amazing time in Albuquerque!  If you took any of my recommendations, I want to hear how your experience was, please contact me!  

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Fall Fashion Jewelry Trends and How to Wear Them Everyday

Fall Fashion Jewelry Trends and How to Wear Them Everyday

You don't have to be avant-garde to enjoy this season's fashion trends. Here are practical ways you can apply my 3 favorite jewelry fashion trends into your everyday life.

1.  Neo-parisian.  Pearls are back!  Layer your mother's or grandmother's pearls with a modern pearl pendant such as this Fused Birthstone Freshwater Pearl Necklace: 

Tahitian pearl and 18K gold necklace

2.  Punk.  Along with choker necklaces, stacked piercings are HOT! My Stud earrings come in all sizes and can be worn together or mismatched for an asymmetrical look:   

Silver and Gold Triangle Stud Earrings

3.  Color.  In contrast to the punk trend of metal, over-sized chains, and stacked piercings, colorful jewelry is trending.  If you mostly wear grays, black, and earth tones, this fall is the time to play with a pop of color via jewelry.  Gemstone jewelry is colorful and often sparks a conversation,  such as this rare gaspeite and sterling silver cuff bracelet:  

Gaspeite Silver cuff Bracelet

What are you favorite ways to wear your jewelry?  I want to know!  Contact me with a pic and a little bit about how you love to wear jewelry (i.e. solo/minimalist or layered/stacked) and you may be featured on my Instagram and Facebook stories!  

 

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Art Shows Do's and Dont's: An Etiquette Guide for All

Art Shows Do's and Dont's: An Etiquette Guide for All

Art shows across the country enable artists to earn a living selling their art, and for patrons, to buy art that may not be readily available online or through retail stores and galleries.  After doing over 300 juried art shows the past 10 years, I thought it was time to provide a simple etiquette guide for attendees and artists to make art shows enjoyable for all!

Attendees: 

  • DO ask about the artist's story and process.  We all have a unique story, process, and inspiration behind our art.
  • DO ask if its ok to touch art and/or take pictures.  Many artists do not allow photography of art.
  • DO follow your favorite artists on social media (if you engage with social media).  It is a great way to keep track of what we are up to on a daily basis!
  • DON'T let your children touch art.  This can increase risk of damage and/or breakage of art and displays, which you may be held liable.
  • DON'T bring your dogs to an art show if the weather is above 80 degrees and the location is on concrete and/or sidewalks.  Dog's paws can burn and its very upsetting to witness this, and painful for your furry friend!
  • DON'T bargain our prices.  Art shows is a way many artists earn a full-time living.  Please honor the artists' pricing, as I believe many of us are offering our best price.  That said, some artists will do a quantity or a set discount, so if you are buying multiple pieces, it doesn't hurt to politely ask.

Artists:

  • DO smile and greet every person that comes into your booth.  You don't have to do a hard sell,  just let them know you are there to be of assistance.
  • DO have a sign up sheet so your fans can provide their email so you can let them know where you will be next, and any future promotions you may be offering (i.e. free shipping for holiday).
  • DO get to know your customer.  If you have a patron who is interested in a piece of art, ask them questions. In general, most people love friendly conversation. I can't tell you how many times people have bought from me over another artist because I was friendly and helpful.
  • DON'T have your head buried in your cell phone to the point where you aren't aware who is in your booth.  That gives the message you are disinterested and disconnected from the show. 
  • DON'T complain when you are in your booth; even if a show is slow, you never know who may be listening.  Negative talk spreads like a cancer, best not to engage.
  • DON'T have flimsy weights for your tent.  Cinder blocks, 1-gallon water jugs, and similar items are not only unprofessional, but pose a hazard to patrons and surrounding artists should inclement weather occur.  Standard is 40 pounds per leg, some art shows require minimum 50 pounds per leg, and a few require 100 pounds per leg. 

What is your favorite art show to attend or participate in?  Be sure to follow them on social media and thank the show director, staff, and volunteers!  Its unusual and fun (and sometimes really hard) way to make a living but I wouldn't have it any other way!  I hope to see you at one of my future events!  

 

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How To Layer Necklaces

How To Layer Necklaces

Now that summer is in full swing it is time to quit layering our clothes and start to layer our necklaces!  While layering necklaces is on trend this season, it can be intimidating to get a great look.  Here are some easy, no-fuss tips on how to layer your favorite necklaces:

Consider neckline of shirt and style.  The length of the necklaces should compliment, not compete with your neckline.  Also, is your shirt a solid color or a print?  A solid color can lend to a statement pendant necklace as the focal point, while dainty necklaces compliment a pattern:

Birthstone Neckalces Layered Jen Lesea Designs

Consider number of necklaces.  While many agree an odd number (rule of 3) is best for layering, I have seen 2 necklaces in 14 and 16 inches or 16 and 18 inches work, as long they are are a similar metal color and style:

Bar necklaces Jen Lesea Designs

Consider necklace length.  Its best to layer necklaces that are at least 2 inches apart, especially if they have a pendant.  Popular combinations are:

16 & 18 inches
16, 18, 20 inches
14 (choker) & 18 inches
16, 18, & 30 inches 
If your necklaces aren't an ideal length, you can add a chain extender to get your desired look.  
Necklace Lengths on neck
Break the rules. Mix and match chain types (box chain with snake chain), metal types (rose gold with yellow gold), and styles (chain only with a chunky pendant necklaces).  Have fun and wear your new layered look with confidence!  
Do you have a favorite layered look? Post on Instagram or Facebook and tag me @jenleseadesigns so I can see the perfect combination for you!  

 

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2019 Father's Day Gift Guide

2019 Father's Day Gift Guide

Its June, the sun is shining, and its time to start thinking about Father's Day!  Below are my suggested one-of-a-kind gifts for all the dads in your life!  Click on the images to be directed to the collection.  Questions or want a custom piece made?  Contact me today and I am happy to help you with your gifting needs!

Mountain money clip, mountain tie tack, mountain cufflinks

So he can keep the mountains close no matter where he is!  Our best-selling mountain collection is a go-to for gift giving, and was featured in Ultra Running Magazine's Holiday Gift Guide!  Prices start at $35.

Silver and gold money clips, cufflinks, tie bar for Fathers Day gifts

For the dad who loves original luxe goods, our 18K gold and oxidized sterling silver accessories will become a favorite for years to come. Prices start at $150.

Copper and sterling silver gifts for dad money clips, cufflings, tie bars

For the dad who prefers t-shirts and jeans on the weekend, our copper and sterling silver accessories are winners!  They can be worn at the office as well as at the local brewery.  Prices starts at $125.

Sterling silver cufflinks, money clips, tie bars. Unique gifts for Father's Day

For the dad who likes to express his individuality, our sterling silver accessories spark conversation in or out of the office. Prices start at $100.

The above is just a sampling that I have for men, I invite you to look at my men's rings and full men's collection.  Again, please contact me if you have any questions or want to consider something custom for the special dad in your life!  

 

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Boulder County Mother's Day Gift Guide

Boulder County Mother's Day Gift Guide

I partnered with several Front Range woman-owned small business to help you expand your ideas for gift giving this Mother's Day for all the special moms in your life!  Support these hard-working entrepreneurs; many items can be shipped!  

Boulder Colorado Mothers Day Gift Ideas

Boulder Colorado Mothers Day Gift Guide

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2019 Mother's Day Gift Guide

2019 Mother's Day Gift Guide

Most of us are recovering from filing our taxes, and I can't think of a better time to release my Mother's Day Gift Guide, which at the end, has my FREE gift bundle! My intention is to make shopping for Mother's Day easy and stress-free!  

I am also offering a new free service called "Drop a Hint."  Ladies, all you need to do is message me your significant other's name and phone number as well as the item(s) you want and I will send a text as a "hint" with links to your items.  Hopefully you'll be pleasantly surprised on May 12!  

Mothers Day Gift Guide

Mothers Day Gift Guide

 

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Living Coral: The Color of 2019 and What You Need to Know

Living Coral:  The Color of 2019 and What You Need to Know

Spring has sprung and I feel like we are finally thawing out from winter!  With warmer temps on the horizon, this is the perfect time to dive into the color for 2019: Pantone's Living Coral 16-1546.  Every year, the color experts at Pantone's Color Institute searches for color influences across the globe in fashion, entertainment, art, and technology to determine the winner for the upcoming year.  Living coral was selected for its uplifting and energizing tone, which also has a softer side than a true orange or red.  

While you won't see me starting to create jewelry from coral due to my ethical and environmental values on conservation, I am here to let you know there are options in other stones and that would compliment your coral clothes and accessories!  Below are my top 3 stones (and a bonus):

1.  Turquoise.  When I first saw the 2019 Color of the Year, I just wanted to add a pop of deep blue; which is the perfect contrast.  A turquoise statement ring or a silver and turquoise pendant will do the trick.

2.  Amethyst.  Similar to turquoise, the deep hue of purple can add a punch; but  it shouldn't be overdone.  A simple amethyst charm pendant or earrings with an amethyst accent stone would be a perfect accent. 

3.  Pearls.  Whether the pearls are cream or gray, the soft luster of a pearl pendant or earrings are a beautiful understated addition to your coral outfit.  

BONUS:  Silver.  Ok, silver is not a stone, but it makes the cut as the preferred metal to compliment Living Coral.  While the warm tones of gold and copper would likely get lost, the cool tone of silver is the perfect final touch for your 2019 Color of the Year outfit.  Go for statement silver earrings, 5-7 silver stacking rings, or a statement cuff bracelet.

How fun was that?  I am now inspired to dig out my (ethically-sourced) Tahitian pearls and turquoise stones and make some new pieces for summer!  Want something made specifically for you?  Email me and I am happy to set up a complimentary 20-minute phone consultation.  

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Stones of Love: Gemstones and Minerals That Have the Healing Energy of Love

Stones of Love:  Gemstones and Minerals That Have the Healing Energy of Love

Valentine's Day is right around the corner and I see this is a perfect opportunity to talk about my favorite subject:  STONES!!!  Stones and minerals have been known to have certain healing energies*, and are often associated with a particular chakra.  In this blog post, I am going to summarize the gemstones and minerals that are associated with the heart charka, thus helping to attract love in all its forms (not just romantic love) and to heal matters of the heart.  

Here are the major stones of love:

  • Garnet, the birthstone for January, has been known to attract love and abundance.  Fun fact: in ancient times, garnets were exchanged as gifts between friends to demonstrate their affection for each other and to ensure that they meet again.
  • Emerald, the birthstone for May, has been one of the most desired precious gemstones in history. A stone of calm and rejuvenation, it is also a stone associated with the heart chakra, helping clear any matters of the heart.  
  • Ruby, the birthstone for July, is regarded as one of the main stones of love, attracting love in all its forms.  A symbol of passion, ruby makes an ideal romantic gift.
  • Peridot, the birthstone for August, is a stone of love and healing.  Associated with the heart chakra, it helps heal old emotional wounds.
  • Rose Quartz stimulates love and opens the heart chakra, bringing peace, happiness, faithfulness, and good relations. It promotes forgiveness, love and friendship, and is a symbol of gentle love and beauty.
  • Rhodochrosite, the Colorado State Mineral, is a strong love healing stone, which helps heal old emotional wounds and helps to facilitate self-love.  
  • Jade, a stone of good fortune, is also a stone of love.  Specifically, its message is "love and accept yourself."
  • Chrysoprase  is believed to help heal a broken heart and alleviate emotional pain.  It can also help bring new opportunities for new love.  

I am there are other stones of love that are not mentioned above, but these are the ones that come to mind. Happy Heart Chakra Month!!  

(*Disclaimer:  Crystal healing and other types of energy work are not to be considered as a substitute for traditional medical treatment.  If either you, or someone you know, has a serious health issue, you or they should consult their own doctor and/or other appropriate professional medical practitioner.  Just because a crystal or stone is alleged to have one or more healing properties, either physical, mental, emotional or spiritual, it does not mean that you, personally, will definitely experience, or benefit from, any such properties.)

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Case Study: Custom Order: Found Objects Pendant

Case Study: Custom Order: Found Objects Pendant

I am always up for a challenge, and I have gained the reputation of taking on the near-impossible when it comes to custom orders.  When a client proposes a design idea, I happily say, "No problem!  I can have it done in a week!" This is followed by me working like a crazy woman in my studio stressing, sometimes crying, and always consulting my metal-smith friends.  What I realized is that my perfectionist, over-achieving self creates this stress-ball environment.  My latest big custom order, however, I learned to allow myself the time and space to enjoy the process, and I found myself in the zone and everything worked seamlessly...

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