The Secret’s (Almost) Out

Sometimes it can be so tough to keep a secret! Well, in two days we’ll finally be able to share news we’ve been closely guarding for quite some time. Can’t wait to share details Wednesday morning!

Hint: We caught the attention of a major, innovative, and generally fabulous online retailer!

A Look Back: A Weighty Issue

In almost all necklace designs, the weight of the clasp is significantly lighter than the pendant. The uneven weight distribution (heavy in the front, light in the back) can cause the clasp of the necklace to slip around. The goal of a Balance Bead is to help keep the clasp of a necklace at the back of the neck by more evenly distributing the weight of the total necklace. That's why we call it a necklace counterweight. 

Since the goal is to evenly distribute the weight of the total necklace, the weight of the Balance Bead really matters. If the bead is significantly heavier than your pendant, it will pull back your necklace. If the bead is significantly lighter than your pendant, it won't really help. If you've purchased a set of Balance Beads, you know that a set comes with two beads: a small bead (for very lightweight pendant necklaces) and a large bead (for heavier pendant necklaces). But did you know that we used to make three sizes?

Back in the early days of our product testing, we made three Balance Bead sizes: the two sizes available now and an additional smaller size. That tiny size weighed only 2 ounces. We thought it was needed for extremely delicate necklaces. However, we found that when a Balance Bead is that lightweight, it doesn't help at all. We discovered that the lightest weight that would work is 2.8 ounces. It doesn't seem like much of a difference when you're looking at the numbers but it makes a world of difference when you're actually wearing it. With that knowledge, we said goodbye to the little baby Balance Bead!

Wondering why the finish looks so different on the discontinued baby Balance Bead? I promise to cover that in a future post!

Oops! Martha Plimpton's Clasp is Showing!

Caught a necklace clasp showing on Raising Hope's hysterical Martha Plimpton! Ever watched that show? I think it's so cute and I always come away smiling. Incredible characters. Garret Dillahunt, Cloris Leachman...amazing. And Martha Plimpton, well, I've just loved her since The Goonies!

Also, don't forget to snap a pic with your phone and send it to us if you see a clasp showing on TV or in a magazine. We'll add it to our gallery! 

Everyday Epiphany… Summer Lovin'

Everyone have a good Fourth of July? In my mind, that holiday is the ultimate summer day. It’s a day filled with sunshine, fun, and friends. I’ve always loved summer. As a kid, summer meant camp, sleepovers, and random adventures. As an adult, summer means barbecues, family visits, and (still!) random adventures. But unlike when we were kids, we have our jobs to do. For most of us, work doesn’t just stop as the temperature rises. However, I think it’s important to honor the season and carve out time in the evenings and weekends to celebrate summer. I mean really, why should the kids have all the fun?!

This summer I plan on enjoying a couple of stay-cations in my fabulous city, taking a couple of little excursions to neighboring areas, maybe having a picnic or two in the park next to my house, and of course, making frequent visits to my dogs’ favorite spot: the dog beach! As I put on my Balance Bead this morning, I set my daily intention to enjoy this summer day with the carefree spirit of a child. Perhaps that’ll mean making s’mores in the backyard fire pit! What summery activity can you do tonight?

Everyday Epiphany… Natural Benchmarks

Can you believe we’re already halfway through 2014? I feel like I’m still getting used to writing 2014 instead of 2013! I love natural benchmarks like these, so this morning I took some time to review my goals and consider all the things I thought I’d have done by this point in the year. As it turns out, I’ve actually been able to do quite a bit of what I set out to do. Sure, there are some things on the list that I’d intended to tackle by the end of June that are still sitting there untouched, but overall, I’ve made respectable progress—and that’s something to celebrate. No need to beat myself up over the things I've missed.

As I put on my Balance Bead today, I set my intention: relish in my accomplishments thus far! What are some of your achievements from this part of the year? I’d love to hear about them.

Disclaimer: I have to give credit where credit is due. I had some coaching on task accomplishment and goal achievement. Ever read Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy or Getting Things Done by David Allen? If not, I highly recommend picking them up. Great stuff. (And I promise I don’t get kickbacks for the recommendations!)

A Look Back: Finding Gold

For those of you who've been following Balance Bead since the beginning (thank you!!!), you know that the product has changed a great deal since the first batch. We spend so much time listening, evaluating, adjusting, etc. We thought it might be fun to take a look back at the changes we've made, why we made them, and how we made them. Let's start by taking a look at how we found our "golden" color.

The goal was always to create a Balance Bead that looked like gold but wasn't actually gold. As you can imagine, gold is just too costly a material for our purposes. We started with pure brass. Now here's the bad news about brass: it tarnishes very easily. It starts off looking almost golden and then significantly deepens in color over a relatively short period of time. Take a look at the image on the left. That's the color of brass cast several months ago, and it was never even in contact with skin. The color change is due to oxidation only. 

We searched high and low for a better material. Eventually, we found it: Sunshine Brass. Sunshine Brass is a nickname for a specific combination of bronze and brass. But we didn't stop there. We took our new material and focused on finishing. The more care we took in finishing, the brighter the golden color and resistance to oxidation. Just take a look at the piece on the right and you'll see what I mean. 

Wondering why we never went with gold plating? I promise to cover that in a future post!

Everyday Epiphany… Time to Kick Up the Fitness Goal

With the World Cup going on in Brazil and all the buzz surrounding it, I can’t help but have physical fitness on the brain. I mean, look at those soccer players running endlessly up and down the field! They’re certainly in peak physical condition. Me? Not so much. While I do make an effort to stay in shape, I know there are a few things I can add to my fitness routine to take things up a notch. Right now, it’s not really feasible to add a bunch of fitness classes to my schedule, but I can certainly swing one additional class a week. And I know I can carve out a little extra time each day for a little yoga or mat Pilates in my house. It’s all about finding the motivation, right? Well, those soccer players are definitely helping me find it! This morning, as I put on my Balance Bead, I set the following intention: I will make the time to promote my physical fitness. I may not be able to keep up with those soccer players, but I can be proud of myself for holding plank position for 60 seconds! 

The Pearl Round Table

Remember how I said I didn't know what to expect from yesterday's event? Well, it was more fun than I ever could have imagined! Here's how it went... About a dozen of us sat around a table, drank champagne, and ate fancy snacks. The Pearl Goddess (Betty Sue King) then gave us some basic (fascinating!) information about pearls like the different types, regions, how they get their color, etc.

Then on to the round table process: Pearls got passed to the first person (it could have been a string, a set of two, or a single). That person read the information on the container and then evaluated the pearls inside. If the person was interested in possibly purchasing the lot, she'd put "dibs" on it, then pass the lot on to the next person. Someone else could also put dibs on it but they would have been in second place. If she wasn't interested in them, she'd just pass them along without placing dibs.

I put dibs on three items: a gorgeous pearl shaped like a flower petal, a pair of white "coin" pearls, and a strand of "keshi" pearls.

After all the items had been passed around, we reviewed the items on which we had first dibs. I had first dibs on the flower petal and the keshi strand. I must have been dreaming when I put dibs on the strand. It truly was one of the most gorgeous strands I'd ever seen but it was out of my price range. I sat there for several minutes trying to figure out how I could scrape up the money for it but ultimately had to pass (sigh). Fortunately, the flower petal was within my price range so that one was a keeper! Someone else had first dibs on the pair of coins so I lost out on those. I guess those are the breaks!

Now the pearl I bought is just that, a pearl. It doesn't have any sort of setting. Here's my plan: I'm going to ask jewelry designer Karin Worden to create a setting to turn the pearl into a pendant for a necklace. I envision something that resembles a leaf but I'll leave it up to the designer!

If you ever have the chance to participate in a jewelry round table, I highly recommend it. It's a totally unique experience, and it all feels very posh. But here's my suggestion: be careful when you look at the items that are just outside of your price range. See, the items that are way outside of your price range just make you feel like you're viewing invaluable things at a museum, but the items that are almost within reach will really break your heart when you have to leave them behind. That said, nobody else took home that keshi strand. Perhaps I should start saving my pennies...

An Afternoon with "The Pearl Goddess"

Heading to a "Pearl Round Table" this afternoon at Silver Blue & Gold Gallery! Not entirely sure what the event is all about but I'm confident I'm going to learn a lot (and play with some pretty fancy baubles). The event will be led by Betty Sue King, who is apparently known as The Pearl Goddess. Not a bad nickname, huh? Can't wait!

Everyday Epiphany... New Month, Fresh Start

Remember how you used to feel as a kid at the beginning of a new school year? At the beginning of each month, I always get excited about the prospect of starting fresh. It's a great time to acknowledge what I've accomplished in the past month and set goals for the new one. As I woke up this morning, I thought about the goals I wanted to achieve in June and wrote down the activities I'll need to do in order to support those goals. How quickly that list can grow! I had to remind myself that I don't have to be Wonder Woman. I don't have to attack them all this month. It's important for me to enjoy the process of achieving my goals, and that means setting goals that are reasonable and attainable. After creating my list, I put on my Balance Bead and set my daily intention for balance: enjoy the fresh start of a new month and approach each activity with enthusiasm!

Simplified Style by Dean Street Society

My brilliant friend Hilary Rushford of Dean Street Society created a fabulous new course called Style & Styleability. As an intro to the course, she created a few videos that offer great tips to help us feel confident, beautiful, and effortlessly stylish. I'm loving her "Ribbon & Record" strategy from the first video! Without giving too much away, I'll say that it helps you assess your wardrobe without forcing you to spend a stress-filled weekend tossing clothes into piles. Check out the videos for yourself. I know you're going to love the tips...and Hilary! You can find the videos here: http://deanstreetsociety.com/styleability

Oops! Mircea Monroe's Clasp is Showing!

Caught a necklace clasp showing on Hart of Dixie's gorgeous Mircea Monroe! On a side note, have you ever noticed the jewelry worn by Dr. Hart on the show? I love it. Lots of unique designs and geometric shapes. Check it out next time you catch an episode. 

Also, don't forget to snap a pic with your phone and send it to us if you see a clasp showing on TV or in a magazine. We'll add it to our gallery!

Birthstone or Favorite Stone?

We've been shipping lots of Balance Bead Birthstone sets lately, and it occurred to me that I'm not 100% sure whether our customers are picking their actual birthstones or just their favorite colors. My crystal birthstone color would be pink (October) but I'm really loving a set I shipped out today: silver with dark green crystal (May). Unfortunately, the picture doesn't quite capture the sparkle of the crystal. So pretty! I try not to steal from my own stock but I just may have to make an extra set for myself!