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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Local Beauty In Nature

Having dogs gives me plenty of opportunities to walk around the many canyons and trails that abound near where I live. 

Here are a few shots I took the other day of nature doing her wonderful thing. And one of Enzo and Scooby goofing off too.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Meditation: Heart Chakra

This is part of Cocoon's Monday Meditation series.

Image courtesy of
In the last 3 weeks I have participated in 5 art shows. Although it can be grueling (arriving 2 hours before the show to set up your canopy, unpack all the tables, linens, merchandise and displays from your car, setting up, and then reversing the process 6-8 hours later) the one thing I love about these shows is the opportunity it provides to connect with someone who 5 minutes before I never knew existed. 

"Hello, how are you?" just doesn't cut it for me. I like sharing things with people about myself and learning about them. Ninety percent of the time we have something to share that the other can relate to. Some people keep their guard up, but most will relax when they see that I am genuinely interested. Pretty quickly, we can be engaged in a meaningful conversation and can be exposed to learning something new or contemplating something from a different angle. I love that!

To me, it's all about opening yourself up to whatever comes along. There are so many cool people and experiences and stories to share if you just open your eyes, open your ears, and open your heart.

This meditation is just about that. It's from Madonna Gauding's book, The Meditation Bible. Enjoy!
Heart Chakra Meditation
Your heart chakra governs love and compassion, and is considered the center of the human energy system in the Hindu and Buddhist worlds. This chakra, associated with the color green, is one of seven energy centers located along the spine and is found in the middle of your chest. According to the Hindu and Buddhist traditions, your chakras can be blocked through loss, fear, anxiety, sadness, anger or stress. This meditation encourages unconditional love, releases sadness, and opens your heart. 
If you are not familiar with where the seven chakras are located in your body, here is one you may refer to.

1. Sit on a meditation cushion or chair. Sit up tall with your spine straight and your chest open.

2. Bring you palms together and press the knuckles of your thumbs into your sternum. You will find a notch between your left and right rib cage at the level of your heart. Try to feel the beating of your heart and focus on it for a few minutes.

3. Place your right palm in the center of your chest and the left hand on top of the right. Close your eyes and feel the energy there. Feel its warmth. Visualize this energy as an emerald green light. Feel it radiating out from your heart into the rest of your body and back to your heart. Stay with this visualization for as long as you like.

4. Turn your palms outward and away from your body. Visualize the green light from your heart chakra flowing out of your palms and into the universe. Imagine that this light is gathering all the love and compassion in the universe and bringing it back to your heart chakra.

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Collaborative Affair

Combining fused glass by Suzanne Balestri with wire crochet by Miriam Chor Freitas
What happens when two artists collide? Chaos and controversey sometimes, beauty other times, but always a new way to look at their respective art.

A couple of years ago I met a very talented Brazilian artist named Miriam Chor Freitas. She and I both had our jewelry designs at Art 'N Soul in Encinitas and were the featured artists at one of the store's seasonal parties. I had always admired Miriam's beautiful Peruvian stitched, wire crochet jewelry when I saw it at Art 'N Soul, and was excited to meet her and introduce myself. We hit it off and began a friendship.

Peruvian Wire Crochet by Miriam Chor Freitas
Fused Glass Halo by Suzanne Balestri

Just recently Miriam and I decided to create some designs with my fused glass and her wire crochet. The contrast between the smooth glass and the highly textured and intricate wire crochet is a stunning combination. We have just started to make it available for sale at local shows and events (and will soon be adding it to the Cocoon website).

We've had amazing response! And this weekend I will be bringing our beautiful collaborative pieces to the La Jolla Farmer's Market on Sunday from 9am-1pm Come on down and take a look and let me know what you think. 


Monday, May 14, 2012

Meditation Mondays: Mothers and Fathers

This is part of Cocoon's Monday Meditation series.
Courtesy of 
Mother's Day has passed and Father's Day is coming up. These holidays are meant to honor the people who gave us life as well as the parental roles we may play in the lives of others. We all know that the role of parent, whether we are a parent ourselves or the child of one, is many things all at once. It is challenging, rewarding, exasperating, uplifting, heart-wrenching, and ultimately, one of the most important jobs in life. 

This meditation comes from Madonna Gauding's, The Meditation Bible. Here it is. Enjoy.
Mothers and Fathers Meditation 
Whether you have had a wonderful relationship with your parents or you have had a difficult one, this meditation will help you love and appreciate them. Without your parents, you would not have taken form in this life. They brought you into the world, sheltered, fed, and clothed you. 
You may have complaints about their parenting, but you still owe them your heartfelt gratitude for giving you life and the opportunity to grow and develop as a human being. 
Besides Mother's and Father's Day, you may want to try this meditation on your birthday and pull out some photos of your parents and you that are special to you. 
1. Sit on a cushion or chair in your meditation space. Place the photos of your mother and father in front of you. Light a candle and burn incense to help you focus and clear your mind. If it is your birthday, let the candle serve to mark the celebration. 
2. Meditate on your breath while you gaze on any photos you may have chosen. Let your parents and you symbolically inhabit your space in a peaceful and loving way. 
3. Now bring to mind the image of your parents. See them holding you as an infant. Regardless of mistakes they may have made in parenting, remember that they cared for you when you were helpless  and utterly dependent. Generate sincere gratitude for their care and protection. If they fell short of your expectations, see if you can feel compassion for doing what they were capable of doing at the time.  
4. Feel in your heart that your parents did the best job they could in raising you. Visualize letting the parents of your childhood go. See them walking away behind you. Look ahead and see the parents of your adulthood. Visualize getting to know them in a new way now that you are separate and independent. 
5. End your meditation by wishing both your parents and yourself joy and happiness.
I would add (if relative) that you can also use this meditation to nurture the parent that you are or that you hope you will be. Visualize how you would like your children to reflect on how you parented them.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Cinco de Mayo Cocoon Party!

Ok, so I'm not great at planning ahead sometimes...BUT, there are time it works better for everyone that way! Tomorrow (yes, tomorrow... Saturday...Cinco de Mayo) I decided to have an informal Cocoon party so you can check out some our new Infinity Collection, drink a margarita, get some jewelry cleaned, get a gift for a mom, graduate, or teacher...whatever you feel like doing!

Saturday, May 5th
985 Windsor Creek Ct.
Cardiff, CA 92007
(619) 871-6788

 Bring a friend, come alone, or bring Bradley Cooper if you must.
The 15%, 20%, and 25% discounts we offered in our Mother's Day email will also apply at this party. Click here for more details. Ole! 

Sign up here for 20% birthday coupon!
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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

LUNAFEST: Women's Film Festival

I love good causes, especially when they happen locally. And if it's a cause that involves artistic expression, even better!

If you appreciate independent short films as well as connecting with and supporting women, you will be inspired by LUNAFEST happening this Thursday in Encinitas. Hosted by 
Boobs on the Move® (an amazing grassroots endeavor definitely worth checking out) LUNAFEST is described as: 
"A traveling film festival of award-winning short films by, for, and about women. This season’s program of nine selected films are united by a common thread of exceptional storytelling that will compel discussion, make you laugh, tug at your heartstrings, and motivate you to make a difference in your community. Incredibly diverse in style and content, LUNAFEST will inspire and empower you to take action to help prevent and stop breast cancer before it starts!"
Thursday, May 3rd, 5 pm
La Paloma Theatre
471 S. Coast Highway 101
Encinitas, CA 92024
TICKETS: $15 available here or at the door
5pm-6pm- ART STOMP Art Preview, Refreshments, Raffle and Musical Intro by Laura Roppe, author of “Rockin’ the Pink”.
6pm-8pm- LUNAFEST film series.
8pm- Raffle wrap up.
8:30- Live music by "Cool Band Luke" at D Street Bar and Grill! Whooohooo!
I plan on attending to support this great effort and to be inspired by women doing the same. Not only that, but it's a great excuse to round up the girls for a night out. Join me!