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Upcycling Ocean Plastics

 The beaches on our island are often littered with plastics. We feel obligated and inspired to do something about it - even if it is something small, which for us has become regular outings to the beach for cleanups. Sometimes they are short, other times long and daunting, but now each time we go to the beach - even if just for some fun & sun - we come out with plastics.

 

We also like to collect “mermaid treasure" - bits of sea glass, coral, shells, small rocks polished and weathered by the waves. Sometimes on our cleanups, we come across a fragment of ocean plastic that has a strange and similar beauty (ironically). We separate these treasures - and later sort them at our studio by size, shape, likeness, and color. Inspired by the raw beauty and texture of each unique ocean fragment, we ponder the distance each has travelled and the time it took for the natural elements to mold them. We carefully wash each piece by hand with soap and an old brush, finally laying them out to dry in the sun.

 


 
 Our jewelry is then made by hand in our home studio, combining ocean fragments with 18k gold vermeil and recycled sterling silver (supplied by an ethical metalsmith in Rajasthan). We create with love and hope that our jewelry will become a token for those who wear it - a reminder to mind our impact, to treasure our planet.   
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Targeting Zero

Targeting Zero

Targeting a zero footprint is not easy and we are still learning how to improve our sustainability. We use only natural materials, upcycling & recycling whenever possible. The 925 sterling silver that we use in our jewelry comes from recycled sterling silver. Our cotton jewelry pouches and the soft ribbon for our medallions are made from upcycled clothing at our local cooperative. All of our books, even our paper hang tags, business cards, and bookmarks are made out of upcycled cotton from discarded t-shirt cuttings from the fashion industry.

 

1 0 0 %   G O O D   V I B ES

Our packaging is minimal & plastic-free. Our mailers are made from 100% recycled post-consumer waste paperboard, and printed with eco-friendly vegetable/water based inks so they can be 100% recycled; better yet, these mailers can be reused, so give them a second life! 100% biodegradable, 100% sustainable, 100% recyclable, 100% good vibes! 

 

 

K E E P I N G   I T   L O C A L

 It's awesome to have a positive impact on your community, which is why we choose to work with local artisans when possible. Rather than order packaging or trims through wholesale suppliers, we upcycle vintage t-shirts and make it all here on our island of Santa Maria in the Azores.

We are committed to fair, safe and healthy working conditions and let the artisans dictate prices based on what they deem is fair. Working this way forces us to think outside-the-box and helps to minimize our environmental impact. Plus, being able to walk from your home studio to the local artisan cooperative is beyond good vibes!     

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Looking Back Halfway Through 40

Looking Back Halfway Through 40

A year ago we were unpacking a half container from our previous life in Canada and settling into our new home here in the Azores. We were laying out the design for our first book, selecting paper qualities and working on print timelines. We were developing concepts for our first jewelry collection and tinkering anxiously with instagram as a medium to connect with the outside world from out here in the middle of nowhere. 

We adopted a wild island kitten (Jiji), spent many days at the beach, in our garden, and hiking the island. We planted (and failed) and tried planting again (successfully) our first trees, flower bushes, palms and fruit/vegetable garden.

We weathered our first winter storms, walked our dogs dreamlike through the Calheta fog and witnessed numerous moon and sunrises - embracing the natural rhythm & seasonal cycle of our island. 

We began learning, practicing, & stumbling through Portuguese (our daughter Etienne became fluent). We launched Neon Joyride, published our first book, and wrote a few more. We all began learning to surf. We hosted our first visitors, and were able to share our new world with our family and a few close friends. We said goodbye to a family member and our dog Whiskey walked through the Lion's Gate. We all made some new friends. 

Tomer & I turned 40. My mother said it right- our 40s are when we come into our super powers. We still have our youth, our health, some wisdom, & enough life experience & energy to make things happen - to live the life we choose, to follow our true paths.

In the last year, we have all become more aware of our choices - and of how to live more consciously, more sustainably. It's a process that takes time & intention. We chose to live slower, lighter & with less. And it feels better than ever! I have learned that even slowing down takes time - even on a small island in the middle of nowhere...it's taken 2 years to settle into our new rhythm here in the Azores. 

Still learning to let go & to go with the flow. It sounds easier than it is, but it's been so good...learning to just breathe again and listen to the universe, to let it guide you. So much of this year has been redefining what feels good, individually and for us as a family.

The journey continues and we all grow. Moving both onwards and backwards in a loop-d-loop fashion, turning our previous life and selves inside-out, focusing inward, growing outward.

Through all of the change, this past year has been spent together, with each other and our children...I am so grateful for that -Knowing that we have filled our time here with meaningful moments. We continue to seek, to grow, to create, to connect on deeper levels with each other and ourselves. Gardens blooming inside & out. It's not all sunshine and rainbows, but we have been blessed to get a lot of both!

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Why the Cactus?

Why the Cactus?

Many people ask us why we chose the cactus as our logo- If you know us, you know we are sun lovers- and cacti need a lot of sun, like us! This is what drew us to the cactus at first-

As we began to think of how slow a cactus grows, it seemed even more appropriate- the cactus symbol seemed to reflect us as a family as we were looking to embrace a slower lifestyle.

Also a cactus doesn’t need much- just plenty of sol and a bit of water. we too were looking to live a simpler life -full of love and soul. We were also looking to live with less...less stuff, less waste, less work, less consumption, less impact, less noise.

Cacti also thrive in rugged natural landscapes and we were in transition to the beautiful raw island of Santa Maria in the Azores archipelago- which just so happens to have many types of cacti!

Another fun fact- my husband and I met each other in Austin, Texas- so a cactus is also something that reminds us a little of our southwest roots- which brings us full circle. 

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Natural Connection

Natural Connection

Nature is always humbling -reminding us we are a part of something so much greater than ourselves.

Here in Santa Maria, divers often share their experience of swimming with giant manta rays or whale sharks and the feeling of being small in the presence of beings so much greater, more powerful, and infinitely more graceful than ourselves. This respectful connection with nature is so important! Without connection we risk losing understanding and our desire to protect.

Today’s inspiration is to get outside! To experience and share the beauty of our natural world for ourselves, our children, our future...

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What we're reading now...

What we're reading now...

Tomer and I like to read and occasionally we’ll come across a book that neither of us has read and we both are inspired to read, so we share it-- reading it together but at our own pace.... 

This time it’s Kerouac’s Dharma Bums. Fun stream of consciousness adventures of everyday poet-Buddha’s, hitchhiking, prose, and meditation in pristine wilderness or creekside near a highway....the search for Truth in life, ourselves, our universe...

and a reminder (in Kerouac’s words) that we are utterly free

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Island Magic

Island Magic

Island living is magic...everything about it. Being so near the water, smelling the humidity in the air and watching the mist rise in the morning... along the coast the fog and mist meet with the salty spray of the seas- 

This picture is from a morning exploring São Pedro on the Western side of our island. Early morning and in the evenings clouds hug Pico Alto, our tallest mountain.

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Plastic Toys

Plastic Toys

On our family beach cleanups, we often find plastic toys or parts like this toy soldier. It inspires us -and our children- to think twice before buying cheap toys made of plastic -especially those we take to the beach!


The best beach play (other than swimming or surfing in the waves) is that which challenges the imagination- we collect driftwood, shells, and other mermaid treasures or rocks and use them to build sand castles, forts or our daughter’s favorite: make-believe ice cream stands! 


We are inspired too to see how much our kids enjoy cleaning up the beach a bit! It’s like a scavenger hunt for them- and they feel empowered to know they are making a difference, and the best part is that we are all doing it together...

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Must Have Been...

Must Have Been...

It’s a Tuesday evening here on the island of Santa Maria in the Azores. “It Must Have Been Love” plays on our vintage marantz stereo receiver and outside there is a saturated double rainbow over the ocean we can see from inside the house...there’s magic in the air.

It’s 6pm, the time of day when the local Radio Clube Asas station plays dreamy 80s hits, the time when we usually all come inside to wind down from the outdoors- and we slow down.

The mood has us thinking of the days when this music played regularly on the radio- days pre-internet. There was such a magic to that time- Life was so different. How do we bring that back?

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Wild Dolphins

Wild Dolphins

Not sure how many people have seen dolphins -Not at a waterpark, not on a tour or at some tourist feeding spot or swimming attraction -but out of nowhere, when out at sea and in the wild. There are so many photos of them and movies, and yes even statues and snow globes, and on and on. But to see them in real life, up close and personal, swimming and playing beside you, diving in and out of the water in arches, racing, diving beneath our inflatable boat and popping up again is something that's so special it's difficult to even describe, except for to yell through a huge smile when describing it to someone - WE SAW DOLPHINS!!!

Mammals, dolphins are actually small whales. They are truly a magical creature. Their energy is contagious and being with them brings out your inner child, time stands still and you feel like the luckiest kid in the world. 

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