Memories made by hand

Last weekend my husband and daughter and I drove down to check out the South Bay.  (Do I sound like a Los Angeleno yet??)  We tried to go to “downtown” Hermosa Beach, but that was a disaster.  We decided to go at the last minute, thus failing to research our trip, only to arrive and find all of the roads around the waterfront and the cool boutique-y area barricaded because of the St. Patrick’s Day parade.  Two words: traffic nightmare.

So we headed one town north to Manhattan Beach.  As I was navigating my way through the hundreds of cars congesting Hermosa Beach, my husband was on his phone, researching (which we should have done before we left home – let that be a lesson for us!) possible alternatives.   He found one article proclaiming Manhattan Beach the “pearl of the L.A. beach towns” with dining fit for foodies and boutique shopping.  So we were on our way north.

{modeling on the Manhattan Beach pier}

Sintra artisanal necklace

Once at Manhattan Beach, we took in the waves from the safety of the pier (and admired the surfers) before meeting up with a friend from business school who lives a block off the main drag.  She suggested getting an ice cream cone from an adorable sweets shop called Manhattan Beach Cremery – yummy!

So, to the jewelry!  Ironically, I wore a necklace that I had bought when I was with my business school friend – while shopping in Sintra, Portugal!  A group of ten or so of us from our business school (outside of Paris) took advantage of a long weekend during our first semester and headed down to Portugal.  While spending most of our time in Lisbon (cool city, great architecture, loved the trams), we took a day trip to the nearby town of Sintra.  The center of the city is a well-preserved 19th century historical treasure, now classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site.  Despite the beauty of the architecture, the main street is mostly crammed with cheap pizza restaurants and souvenir shops full of scarves and tee-shirt emblazoned with “Portugal.”  But as it’s also on a huge hill, the teaming crowd of tourists thins out.  Those willing and able to make it to the top of the hill are fortunate to discover a shop selling  artisanal products.  There were fabric dolls wearing colorful dresses with tiny flowers, soaps and lotions, barrettes, jewelry and cutting boards, among other things.  I immediately went for the jewelry, finding a chain necklace with funky fabric “flowers.”  Although I normally prefer more finished-looking jewelry, this just seemed right for the place I found it. I liked that it looked a bit homemade and had a variety of fabric colors.   I later researched the origin of the tag on the necklace and discovered that the brand, Lùa Chea, is actually a South American brand.  Not the local product that I had hoped it would be.  Despite this fact, the necklace continues to remind me of that trip to Sintra and of my friends who were along for it.

{handmade Lùa Chea necklace from Sintra, Portugal}

Sintra_artisanal necklace

Before setting out on our little road trip that morning, I picked out my necklace first, and then had to choose suitable earrings.  Any basic earring would have done (small silver/gold-tone/pearl), but because the necklace is relatively subdued, I thought I’d do a bit of pattern on my ears, as well.  So I wore some darling vintage clip-ons that I think I bought at a picture framing and vintage jewelry shop (an unusual but fabulous combo) in northern Minnesota.  The shop owner is in the picture framing business but collects and sells vintage jewelry, as well.  But that’s another story.  As you can see from the photo of me modeling my jewelry, the earrings ended up being pretty subtle, after all.

{navy and white speckled vintage clip-on earrings}

American vintage navy and white earrings

With stomachs full of ice cream, we finished our trip to Manhattan Beach well-fed, well-accessorized and in good spirits.   Which was fortunate because we had a rough ride back home, complete with miles of stop-and-go traffic and screaming toddler.  But we’ll keep exploring.

Happy weekend!


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