Wednesday, October 10, 2012

just. do. it.

after 102" in 3 days :)
When it comes to my work ethic, I have been known to take after my father...get the guy started on a project and you will be very hard-pressed to take him away on vacation. Throughout my life, I have felt few things to be more important than productivity. Just about every night before my head hits the pillow, I ask myself (out loud), "What did I get done today?"

For the winter of 2012, however, my nightly question was, "What did I shred today???"

Needless to say, I did not do a whole lot of "work" this past ski season. Instead, I lived out a recent dream of leaving my career in Boston for four months to focus primarily on snowboarding.

And, I am doing it all over again. Although my winter sabbatical will probably mean a great sacrifice in income for the next year, I've been given the gift of a new perspective on life. You only get ONE. We are all going down some day and I don't want to feel like I didn't empty my bucket; that I didn't give it my all...not only when it comes to earning a living, but also in simple pleasure-seeking. So, if there is something that you've always wanted to do, make it happen. Think about it, plan for it, save for it, arrange it...a trip, a class, an experience, a hobby. Enjoy life. As Richard Pryor once said (as HamBone) "You'd better have yourself some fun and plenty of it. We didn't have any say about when we came into this life and we don't have a say about when we go out".  -val b.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Two days 'till HOCR...thank you, rowing.

I couldn't be more excited to be racing in the Club Single event at the 47th Head of the Charles Regatta . I am healthy, well-rested and happy to see that the weather forecast (albeit a moderate headwind) will be pretty friggin' stellar. To your average spectator, the boats don't seem to move that fast and the athletes tend to reveal little of the pain that they are feeling, but the hard work that goes into this sport is understood by few. Competitive rowers spend countless hours working on technique and pushing themselves to the brink of what well-trained bodies/minds can tolerate, all before most of the population has begun to hit the snooze bar. We are a rare breed and I am ever grateful to have stumbled upon this activity, not only for the invigorating workout, but for the great people that rowing attracts. Good luck to all of my water-bound brethren this weekend; may many a finish line be crossed with empty buckets!

Photo courtesy of

Thursday, September 8, 2011

changing direction.

One of most fun aspects of the creative process is your own personal artistic evolution. I started making jewelry with Native American seed beads at the playful age of nine, then moved on to some fairly gaudy creations involving paper and puzzle pieces in my adolescence. Eventually, I went back to beading and incorporated wire work and knotting.
These days, I am focused on vintage assemblage and re-purposing. It allows me to incorporate all of the skills that I have honed over the years while making one-of-a-kind pieces and giving life to something beautiful, but out-dated and stagnant. And, hey, it doesn't hurt to find a niche in the Green movement either! Whatever the reason, you will now find me running willy-nilly through antiques fairs, flea markets and Salvation Army jewelry sales in search of inspiration. Be sure to hit up my for the latest and vintage greatest.

Monday, October 18, 2010

mint green knotted clover key necklace

I'm not sure exactly why, but autumn in New England always seems to bring out the vintage and antique lover in me. Maybe it's the rich, earthy hues or the fact that it's the time of year that I actually have some time to go antiquing! Here is an example of what I have been working on recently...lots of up-cycled, rustic, vintage items are incorporated into my pieces. This necklace is simple, yet unique, adjustable and composed of quality materials: czech glass beads, silk thread, sterling silver chain/findings and an antique steel cabinet key. It is available on my etsy site, along with lots of other pretties!

Friday, September 10, 2010

These shoes were made for rowing.

Besides dealing with a busy 2010 apartment rental season in Boston, most of my time has been spent gliding over the Charles River in Boston/Cambridge. Thus, I have been neglecting this very blog! Congrats to me...I just bought a new racing shell for myself and and it is finally sinking in that I have my own single! For you laypeeps, that's a 24' long, 10" wide sculling (rowing) boat for one person (me). While the boat itself certainly set me back a few, there was all of these boring gear that I had to buy...cover, cartop rack, rigger bag, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But, I did come across these amazing shoes while shopping in Harvard Square that are perfect for on the dock; they are more stable than flip-flops (you can wear your socks!) and are MUCH more attractive than Crocs! The 'Miller' shoe by Native has me very excited They are waterproof, odor proof, washable, animal product free and come in many colors. Native also makes other styles that resemble Wallabees and Converse Chuck Taylors...I had a hard time deciding which kind to get, not to mention which color. I hope that my fellow rowers ditch those ugly Crocs, stop trying to lift weights in flip-flops and upgrade their boathouse footwear. I can't wait to rock them before my next row!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Facebook Fan Sale this week at my etsy shop!

FACEBOOK FAN SALE! Today through Friday, fans who add valbdesigns as a favorite at will get buy one, get one half off on all earrings and $10 off necklaces. The best gifts are handmade! :) Just place your order as you normally would, message me that you are a fan/heart me and I will refund the appropriate discount.

Become a fan on facebook!

Happy Holiday Shopping!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Order to the Universe.

Have you ever traced back the paths in your life that have lead you to where you live; what you do for work; the friends that surround you; the hobbies you enjoy; the mistakes that you have learned from? I have been doing a lot of this lately. Sometimes I have regrets for not taking action earlier on things or for missed opportunities, but it has been encouraging for me to note that everything happens for a reason...not in the fatalistic sense, but insomuch that we are somewhat drawn to certain experiences when we are truly ready for them. Ultimately, what, at first, may seem to be a huge setback that should never happen to anyone, may be just what you needed.