Friday, November 21, 2014

Top albums of 2014.

Each year around this time I share my favorite albums of the year. 2014 was an interesting year for new music, a lot of bands I like had new releases, but only a few stood out to me.  Below are, in my opinion, the best albums of the year, but I'd love to hear about your favorites too!

1. 'Rented World' by The Menzingers
Standout track: In Remission

2. 'St. Vincent' by St. Vincent
Standout track: Digital Witness

3. 'Get Hurt' by The Gaslight Anthem
Standout track: Selected Poems

4. 'The Voyager' by Jenny Lewis
Standout track: Slippery Slopes

5. 'Are We There' by Sharon Van Etten
Standout track: Afraid of Nothing

Listen to all of the albums here!

Past top albums - 2013, 20122011, 2010, 2009
Past top songs - 20122011, 2010

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Get to know: Sophie Hughes

I am very excited to share this Sophie Hughes Jewelry with you because not only does she have an amazing design sense, but also she is passionate about using recycled metals! I am fond of her use of texture and the way she mixes metals with ease. The pieces have a simple, organic feel but are also very edgy. As much as I love diamonds and gemstones, I am always more drawn to designs that aren't stone heavy.

Sophie realized jewelry was her passion while still in high school after taking her first jewelry class. She was immediately hooked and had already apprenticed for a local jeweler before she graduated. She went on to Massachusetts College of Art & Design to earn a degree in Metalsmithing. Sophie opened her own studio in 2008and launched her line in 2009. She then spent five years creating and selling to amazing jewelry stores like Love Adorned and Roseark before she opened her store, Ore in Boston. Although she's grown her brand, she and her assistants create the jewelry on site the old fashion way - with hammers, anvils and torches!

About her store, Ore, in Boston: "It's wonderful to be able to create and show the jewelry in the same space. The designs and the decor of the shop are all extensions of myself and my personal aesthetic, and both the jewelry and the line have a distinct unpretentious-yet-special feel to them. I find that clients drawn to my work are sophisticated, grounded women. My jewelry is no-nonsense, and authentic, and so is my clientele. You'll find them wearing all neutrals in sophisticated cuts, and black booties, allowing red lipstick or a piece of gold jewelry to be their pop of color."

The process: "When designing, I do sketch first, but really just as a way for me to record an idea. I'm not sure anyone else could understand my sketches, and even for myself I still need to write out a description so I can decipher the drawing later! Designs really come together for me as I am making them. I need to see it in 3-D, and feel it and try it on --which I do often when creating-- to see how the piece works with the body, and to get the proportions and curves right."

The inspiration: "As a designer, I find inspiration in unexpected places all the time (I'm talking every hour, every day - it can be like a constant ticker). I find myself particularly drawn to old utilitarian metal objects, like tools and hardware. I love the texture of rust, the slight irregularity of hand-wrought forms, and the directness of those designs. When I create, I aim always to strike an unexpected balance between this rough aesthetic and a sense of refinement - with a burnished edge, or a gem, or just the naturally rich, brilliant color of yellow gold."

Sophie's favorite art includes Wanye Stokes' simplistic, textured paintings and Heather Mcgrath's eerie photos - both artists are carried at Ore.

Her favorite jewelry designer is Atelier Zobel / Peter Schmid. I am also in love with his designs. As Sophie says,  "Every piece is unique, and each one is so interesting. I could spend hours looking at his work." Yes.
"I've always especially loved making rings. It's the form of jewelry that the wearer sees the most, so it's not only for the enjoyment of others but themselves as well. It's especially intimate in that way.

Since I opened the store I've been fortunate to have many people come to me to design their engagement rings and wedding bands. I'm deeply enjoying being able to focus so much of my attention and time on creating such personal, significant jewelry, and am excited by the challenges of "marrying" each unique set of needs and desires with my aesthetics. This is a relatively new part of my line which I intend to continue to grow. And you'll definitely be seeing more stones throughout my work, even the everyday pieces."


In Sophie's spare time, which she doesn't have much of, she loves to travel. Turkey is her favorite place to visit -
she's been there twice and plans to go back.

Currently playing in her shop? Elvis and all types of Motown! She also enjoys The Walkmen.

See more designs by Sophie here!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Cartier in the 20th Century
Yesterday an exclusive Cartier exhibit opened at the Denver Art Museum. I was there when the museum opened to see the exhibit, and my dear friend Jen took some amazing photos.

Current day Cartier doesn't impress me much, but the vintage pieces are so breathtaking. And as much as their current designs are a bit bland, they are the epitome of luxury. of  It felt surreal experiencing the exhibit. Amazing pieces of jewelry were right in front of me, right behind a thin piece of glass. Not only I am in awe of the designs and craftsmanship, but also the stories. These jewels are a part of history!

The exhibit was beautifully curated by location and year of creation. One of my favorite parts was the 'Egypt' section - gorgeous scarab bracelets in brooches in bright colors.
 There was a large section of men's designs which I found interesting. Ornate, beautiful objects.
And Andy Warhol in his Cartier watch with his little dachshund pup!
The exhibit shared the process as well as the finished pieces. Some of the statement necklaces took 20,000+ hours to create. I found this section so interesting because much of the design and making process is similar to what I witness everyday at my job.
The classic tiger earrings in the background of this image would be on my wishlist if that were even a possibility.

Yes, and this topaz tiara - I would wear it daily.

Much of early Cartier was done in platinum or white metal, I loved when I got to the era of yellow gold. Mixed with turquoise, white diamonds and lapis - stunning, just stunning!
The way Cartier mixed stone colors was revolutionary. Bright purple amethyst with orange topaz on a base of yellow gold? A bold combination that I am so in love with.

The last room of the exhibit had personal collections. Daisy Fellowes amazing 'Tutti Fruiti' necklace stood out to me as a favorite. Again, the stone color combinations are unexpected, but combined flawlessly.

If you are in or around Denver, this is a must see exhibit! And, if you have the funds, you might want to fly out to see it - seriously, jewelry lovers, it's worth the trip.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Recent finds.

I look at a lot of jewelry - because I love jewelry and also because it's part of my job. I've been collecting some recent finds and wanted to share. If you ever discover a rad designer, let me know!

Mercurial NYC:



Blair Lauren Brown: