Tag Archives: New Years

Pamper Your Inner Self for a New Beginning This Year

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Starting the new year off right begins with taking care of your inner self.

At Heirloom Finds, we believe that wearing beautiful things on the outside can help you feel great inside. But all of the fabulous jewelry in the world can’t bring you contentment and joy if you aren’t taking time to restore your spirit.

Considering the demands our careers and families place on our lives, it’s all too easy for our well-intended New Year’s resolutions to simply evaporate. But what if, instead of shooting for an unrealistic fad diet or unattainable exercise regimen, we kept our goals simple, accessible, and nourishing?

We asked two experts—lifelong yoga instructor Carolina Alvarez and a massage therapist Allison Griffith, L.M.T.—to offer advice on small, meaningful changes to make in our daily lives that will get your year off to a balanced and motivating start.

These gorgeous yoga pose earrings capture a meditative spirit.

Carolina Alvarez began taking after-school yoga classes at age four, when her family lived in Germany. Since then, she’s taught over 10,000 Hatha yoga classes, and she currently teaches classes in Ohio and West Virginia. Here are her suggestions:

The first step toward making yoga a regular practice does not need to be a giant one. “Even if it’s just 20 minutes of quiet time, light a candle, turn off your phone. And just sit. Even if it’s just for one minute. The hardest part is starting.” By allowing that start to be a small commitment that’s easily worked into your routine, you’re setting yourself up for success, because the scope of your own investment is not daunting.

Having a regular yoga practice does not have to mean going to class every day.
The ultimate point of yoga is “to create and enjoy a blissful, relaxed state of well-being,” Alvarez says. And you don’t always have to go to a class to achieve that. If you’ve done yoga in the past, make it easy to start up again. “A lot of people come to me saying, ‘It’s hard for me to get to class,’” says Alvarez. So bring your yoga practice into your own home. “Get a yoga mat, don’t worry about props—simplify. I don’t recommend watching yoga DVDs unless you’ve been to a few classes in person, in order to avoid injuries. But if you have been to classes recently, go ahead and use a DVD. If you can’t do a full hour, do 15 minutes.” For the month of January, Alvarez suggests investigating Yoga International’s 30 for 30 Challenge; by registering, you’ll get a 30-minute yoga class emailed to you for free for 30 days.

Meditation and times dedicated to reflection help us tap into our creative selves.
Theater is Alvarez’ other professional background—she acted and directed in New York City—and as a theater artist, she cites meditative activities as a useful tool to “get rid of mental clutter. You are clearing the slate, the mental static. Reflective time is a tool to become calm and open to new ideas.” That’s beneficial not only from a theater standpoint, but in creating new approaches to run-of-the-mill dilemmas we encounter in our everyday lives.

This stunning charm bracelet beautifully reminds you of the importance of meditation.

Massage therapist Allison Griffith works in Vienna, West Virginia, and her clients include Heirloom Finds’ co-founder Jeanne Peters. She’s been in massage for 13 years.  “I guess it was something I was meant to do,” Griffith says. “I love it. I can’t imagine doing anything else. I like working one-on-one with people.” Here are her tips.

Self-care is vital to personal success.
Because of the intensely physical nature of their work, massage therapists can injure their own bodies if they aren’t aware of their limitations. “It’s really hard for me to do deep massage if I’m not at the top of my game,” Griffith says. Since she can’t be there for her clients if she doesn’t take good care of herself, she knows firsthand that the importance of maintaining her own inner and outer health can’t be underestimated.

Incorporate more healthful foods in your diet.
“I think that the most important thing to get yourself on track is to watch what you eat. When you eat better, you feel better.” Griffith suggests keeping tabs on a list of fruits and vegetables called the Dirty Dozen, which have more residual pesticides than other conventionally grown produce. “At least buy those organic if you can’t buy everything organic. Incorporate some organic foods. Just start small. You’ll notice a difference in the flavor of things when you buy organic and cook for yourself.”

Pay attention to your breathing.
We breathe every moment, not just in yoga class or during deep meditation. “I remind my clients to be aware of their breath in everyday situations,” Griffith says. “People are generally shallow breathers. It’s an easy way meditate. You can do it anywhere, for a short period of time. Even while waiting at the checkout at the grocery store.”

This beaded Om symbol stretch bracelet makes a beautifully meditative token for yourself.

Often, when our do-do lists run away from us, the first things we compromise on are activities that we can dismiss as indulgent or luxurious—a massage, a quiet walk alone on a clear day, or even just sitting still and doing nothing for a few moments. But the ripples of these small things extend beyond the actual times they occur, moving forward to put a positive spin on our interactions with everyone around us. As Alvarez put it, “You’re worth it. You’re worth finding your peaceful center and taking time for yourself.”

by Sara Bir

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Ring in the New Year with Fizzy St-Germain Gelées

Gelees side view

This New Year’s Eve, try a fabulous alternative to the traditional Champagne toast.

Many of us welcome the new year with a Champagne toast, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. If you’d like your New Year’s Eve to get even bubblier, why not serve some gelées (that’s fancy for gelatin) made with sparkling wine? It’s a Jell-O shot gone upscale, yes, and it’s nifty to see how the fizzy sparkling wine lends a frozen-in-time effervescence to the gelatin.

These are far less boozy than the average gelatin shot, but if you prefer drinks on the sweeter side, you may be better off using Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider instead of the sparkling wine. Unlike the run-of-the-mill Jell-O shot, these don’t contain as much gelatin, so you’re best off serving them directly from small dessert glasses or Champagne flutes.

Gelees close up I

These delectable treats deliciously capture the effervescence of sparkling wine.

Fizzy St-Germain Gelées

Serves 6-8
Feel free to use the liqueur of your choice. Crème de Cassis or Chambord work well.

½ cup St-Germain (elderflower liqueur)
2 envelopes (2 tablespoons) unflavored gelatin
3-1/2 cups decent sparkling wine, divided
½ to 1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup pomegranate seeds or other fresh fruit for garnish, optional

Gelees overhead

Fresh fruit garnishes give these delectable gelées festive flair.

Freeze six to eight wine glasses or Champagne flutes for 15 minutes (this will help the gelées retain their bubbles).

Meanwhile, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/2 cup St-Germain and set aside to let the gelatin granules swell.

Heat 1 cup of the sparkling wine in a medium saucepan over medium heat; do not allow to boil. Add the sugar and stir gently until all of the sugar is dissolved (use the full cup sugar for less boozy-tasting gelées). Add the softened gelatin mixture and stir until the gelatin is dissolved.

Gelees close up II

Refrigerate, serve and enjoy. Cheers!

This next step works best in a 2-quart Pyrex measuring cup or large pitcher, because the sparkling wine will fizz up, and you don’t want it to spill over. Pour the warm gelatin into the pitcher and slowly add the remaining 2-1/2 cups of sparkling wine. Divide the mixture between the chilled glasses. Refrigerate the glasses for about half an hour, and then drop fresh fruit, if using, onto the surface of the gelées (some fruit will float; some will sink a bit). Refrigerate the gelées until completely set, about five hours. Gelées can be made up to two days in advance.

by Sara Bir

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Happy New Year

Happy New Year, My Dears!

What a year we have had here at Heirloom Finds!  We traveled all over the U.S and beyond in search of the best and brightest items the fashion jewelry world had to offer.  We did a complete overhaul of our Heirloom Finds brand and website, and created a new sister site for our beads and charms, cleverly titled Heirloom Charms.  We launched our vintage collections of both charms and fashion jewelry.  We hired FIVE additional staff members, bringing our close-knit company to a grand total of 10!  Our warehouse, that we thought we would never fill when we moved in, is now busting at the seams, and we could not be more pleased to have that problem!  And we have you, our loyal shoppers, to thank for our amazing success in 2013.

Like many of you, we have compiled our list of resolutions for the New Year.  One of our many goals is to communicate to our loyal shoppers more candidly and frequently.   There is no better place or way to start then by answering some of your frequently asked questions.

You asked, we answered!

Q:  Where are you located?  Are you in China?

A: We are an all-American company, located in Vienna, West Virginia.  Yes, you heard that right, West Virginia.  Let’s Go, Mountaineers!

Q: Why in the world are you in West Virginia?

A: First and foremost, our families are here.  Sure, we could have nested in LA or New York, but we are e-retailers.  We can be anywhere.   So why not be close to the ones you love?! The lower cost of living is pretty nice, too.

Q: What does someone from West Virginia know about fashion?

A: Although we (backwoods folks) are not a fan of shoes, we West Virginians love to accessorize!  Just kidding.  But really, we have a highly educated, and diverse staff here at Heirloom Finds.  We have traveled the world, lived all over the United States, and in the end decided that ‘home’ was in the beautiful Appalachian foothills of West Virginia.  Trust us, if there is one thing we KNOW, it is fashion and jewelry.

Q: I saw the same item at elsewhere, but it was three times the price!  Why are your prices so much lower?

A:  Well, because we believe in charging what the items are worth.  No more and no less.  We blame it on our small town friendliness.

Alright, that is it for now.  If you have more questions for us, we would be happy to answer. Just put them in the comment section below.  We hope you have an amazing 2014.  We look forward to seeing more of you!

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