July 15, 2016

New move, New Studio

light filled loft work studio in toronto

My last event was at the end of March and after barely recovering from that show, I had to pack all of my life’s belongings.

Yes, cue the excitement here! With only 3 days to go, I packed all of my possessions from my downtown apartment, as well as my work studio at the WhiteHouse in Kensington Market (lovely creative and friendly bunch of people here) to the east side.

Welcome to Studio 501.  This is where the magic happens!

March 2, 2016

Wanderlust: Hawaii Holiday

sunset beach on honolulu hawaii

 Hawaii was magical and unforgettable.

The beautiful landscape, the inviting beaches, the towering palm trees and the smell of the salt ocean air draws you into another world - this is truly paradise. Hawaii is a place to experience with all the senses and it's is so picturesque that it's hard to take a bad photo.

There was only one week to fit all of our excursions in and the island is quite large, so make do with the time that you have. Here are my top 5 places that I’ve enjoyed and I hope you will find helpful too:

surfer going out to catch waves in hawaii

blue waters of hanuma bay
 1. Snorkel at Hanuama Bay – This was a local’s recommendation and I highly suggest you make this one of your top spots. Make sure you get here early because the crowds swarm in at 9am and scare away the fishes. Go further out and you might see a turtle. We bought an underwater camera with film (they still make these things!), but I recommend renting a go-pro for better quality photos and video.

sushi bento box at doraku

2. Sushi - Eat sushi to your heart's content. I had sushi almost every day but I'm a fanatic. I recommend Suntory for traditional Japanese meals (it reminded me of the meals I would have in Japan) but I also enjoyed Doraku Sushi and Island Vintage Coffee for their Ahi Poke Bowl. The Poke bowl is made up of raw fish, seasonings,  and rice and feature the freshest fish in Hawaii. I have cravings for them ever since I've been back.

pink umbrellas on waikiki beach
taro bread at chief's luau

hula dancers at chief's luau hawaii

3.  Luau – I really enjoyed myself at a Luau. We went to the Chief's Luau and it's full of narrative, jokes, fire throwers and Hula dancers set against a beautiful backdrop. We had a feast of pit roasted pig, purple taro bread and local Hawaiian cuisine.

panoramic views of diamond head

4. Diamond Head Crater - We got up early in the morning to hike all the way up the crater. Once the sun is overhead, it makes it harder to climb to the top and the trail gets overcrowded with people. The hike is worth it once you reach the top, and the reward is the spectacular views of the island.

stunning views of pali lookout point

5. Pali Lookout – We took a day excursion around Honolulu and we stopped at Pali lookout. This is such a beautiful lookout point, with panoramic views of O’ahu. This is quite breathtaking and the photos do not capture the natural beauty. Also, ladies, you’ll need to hold onto your skirts as it's extremely windy here.

waikiki beach photoshoot
sunsets and palm trees in hawaii

February 25, 2016

Back to School

A few months ago, I decided to go back to school to learn some new skills. I signed myself up to Gem Setting Class to further develop my jewellery line. I’m someone who needs to be hands on with learning. Reading a textbook and having demonstrations are helpful, but the real test is when you apply those skills. I find myself being too quick with the processes and trying to get things done quickly, but the real art of gem setting (and metalsmithing), seems to be in taking your time; slow and with patient intention. In this case, it's not the bunny that wins the race, it's the slow moving turtle.

It’s almost counter intuitive for me to be doing things with such patience, but it’s such a welcoming way to work. Turning off my hyper brain to tell myself to slow down. Filing and sanding down sterling silver to smooth the edges with repetitious motion is pretty time consuming, but also meditative and hypnotizing.

On the third class, as we were making gypsy settings, (which are gems that are set flush inside the metal), I realize you need to be quite strong to move and push even micro millimeters of metal to firmly hold the gems. At the end of class, my right arm was pretty sore and it felt like I had been doing one-arm push-ups all day.

Embarking on a new path or learning something new is always a bit nerve racking. Will I do it right? Will I fail? Sometimes just taking that step in expanding yourself is just what you need.

raw gemstones

rainbow colored amethyst scepters

via pinterest

February 10, 2016

Reflections and Insights from 2015

So 2015 just flew by.  It was a year full of saying Yes!, traveling to Crafts shows large and small and learning some big lessons along the way. I didn't accomplish all of the things I wanted, but here is what I took away from the past year:

vancouver convention center earth hanging

1. I challenged myself.  It was our biggest year yet, and I signed up to 2 big Crafts at the end of the year.  Holiday season is nuts, and I thought I was prepared but I wasn't ready for the response. We ran out of inventory in our Vancouver show and I had to build up stock in 2 weeks for our next show. A big feat since all of our products are handmade here in Toronto.  A lot of late nights and lattes in November were had. It was exhausting but exhilarating and I'm definitely my happiest when I can tell my story and see the pieces come to life on my customers. (Thank you dearly for continuing to support me!).

customer with leather feather necklace from Loveatfirstblush

2. Learned how to Build a Booth.  Dreaming up the perfect booth design for months and finally executing it paints a different story. Working under a budget and time constraints to construct a beautiful storefront for just a few days, then having to take it down, is sooo much easier said than done. Try setting up in 6 hours at 4 in the morning! A lot of lessons to be learned here but we managed to win Honorable Mention for Best Booth Design at the One of a Kind Show 2015.

oneofakind show booth display loveatfirstblush
3. Pivoting. My biggest lesson in 2015 is learning that the 'tried and tested' may not work the next year. Everything changes quickly, different platforms to social media, you name it, you have to  constantly adapt every year. Each year presents different challenges and you can't rest on what's worked in the past. It's about experimenting with the new and testing what may or may not work well for your brand. It's been a bit sad to see Canadian fashion brands go out of business in recent years, and perhaps they are not nimble enough to adapt to what is clearly a shifting market.  

honolulu hawaii beach sabrina chin
4. Be Present. Living in a big city, especially one like Toronto, and having a business that runs online, it's hard to unplug and relax. It was nice to escape to Hawaii in July for some down time. The beautiful beaches, and gorgeous sunsets are amazing visuals and reminders to just be present in the moment.

misty vancouver harbourfront with seaplane landing

5. Vision. I had a big to-do list in 2015 and not everything was completed. As a busy entrepreneur there are so many tasks to complete that it can be quite overwhelming. It's hard to take time out to plan for the bigger picture but it's also important to grow and evolve. This year I'm allowing myself to map out my path and to not feel guilty about taking time out. As I come into my 6th year of business, (it's been 5 years since I quit my day job!) I've set some new goals and taken a new direction of where this brand will go. I'll be going back to school this semester and I hopefully will be sharing more of what I'll be learning here.




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