Friday, February 15, 2019

FMM - Medal Hanger Hanging Man Man I Love Fiesta

So much randomness today...but first, I wanted to show some close up shots of my medal hangers as I've had a couple people interested in them lately:
My original hanger - it's by Allied Medal Hangers, and I love it so much.  It was given to me by Allied over 8 years ago and I've added a second hanging bar below it because my medal collection has grown quite a bit.
This was how it looked in the early days...
Then I ordered this one about a year and a half ago because my original hanger was getting really crowded, and I wanted my half marathon medals to stand out.  Both of my medal hangers were custom made, as is the medal hanger I bought for Jeff when he started running, but they also have a lot of ready-made hangers that are super cute.  I highly recommend them.

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Oh, no big deal - I just walked outside to see a man dangling from a rope in my neighbor's tree:
A tree-trimmer was making his way around our cul-de-sac, offering up his services and several of our neighbors took him up on this.  It was interesting to watch but one neighbor had a huge tree cut down and the sound of that chainsaw going for hours drove both Paco and I a little crazy.

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Karen brought me this Fiestaware vase as a thank you for having her spent the night before we drove to San Antonio last week.  Totally not necessary but OMG I love it so much:
My first Fiestaware vase!  

I mentioned that the color must be lemongrass, but she said it was chartreuse; the color was printed on the box (she'd carried the vase with the flowers upright in the box on her drive here).  I had looked at the box but wondered how I missed seeing the color printed on it.  Took a second look later on and then I understood:
CHART.  REUSE.  Yes, that is what I saw.  To be fair, I also read those I ❤️ NY shirts as I heart New York, not I love New York, so I'm a bit on the literal side of things...

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I'm playing around with my Fiestaware canister arrangement and as they are scattered all over the kitchen, I took pictures of them so I could look online to see if another color might make a good addition.  This shot cracked me up - see all the medicine bottles?  All for the dog:
Also, the canister behind the pill bottles holds his pill pockets.  Yep...dog city over here.

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We have a normal weekend up ahead - just our regular Saturday run with the Renegades, breakfast at Blue Baker, and then?  Nothing, and it sounds pretty nice!  Maybe I'll get to watch some more of my Avenger movies - I need to catch up on everything before the new movie comes out in April.  More Thor...nothing wrong with that, right?

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

2019 Missions 10,000 Race Recap

Shirts for all distances except the half marathon were soft cotton instead of technical this year - I didn't mind, as it's a nice design.  However we'd selected our sizes based on previous years, so what most of us got was the wrong size.  Luckily there were plenty remaining to make an exchange after the race.

On Saturday, the Renegades finally got to run the Missions Heritage Half/10,000/5K race in San Antonio.  The backstory on this race is that it had originally been scheduled for last October but got moved due to a race permit issue with the city...and possibly interference from Rock n Roll race officials, I don't really know but that was the word in their email when the Missions race date was changed.  This happened less than three weeks out, but we were able to cancel our hotel reservations and put it on the calendar for 2019.  Because we were all kind of tapped out after Houston just a few weeks prior, we decided to not do our usual two-day weekend in San Antonio; instead we'd drive in that morning (a three hour drive) for the race, breakfast afterward, and then drive back home.  Yes it would be a long day but hey - the race has always been fun, so it was worth making that kind of effort.  This race is a fundraiser for the restoration of the four missions in San Antonio.

Packet pickup was the day before the race in San Antonio and Cary's mom very kindly volunteered to make the hour drive in to get everything for all of us so we wouldn't have to worry about doing race-day packet pickup.  On Saturday morning at 3:30 am, Jeff, Karen, Diane, and I drove together toward San Antonio.  Cary and her crew had driven to her mom's house the evening before so they'd have an easier time in the morning.

Well, best laid plans and all that...we had just hit the outskirts of Austin when Cary called me.  Before she said anything I could hear Logan screaming, just screaming, in the background.  You guys, this kid is not a crier.  This was BAD.  Cary said he'd been doing this all night and they were going to take him to the ER as they couldn't figure out what was wrong or get him soothed.  With all of that going on, she was still concerned about us getting our race bibs, and sent us the location of where they were headed, so we went there and waited for them to arrive.  Honestly at that point it didn't matter to me if we made it to the race on time - we all were worried about Logan.  They pulled in next to us and he was still crying, poor little guy!

We got our packets and drove toward San Antonio.  We still would make the race, but the weather was giving us pause.  A cold front blew in on Thursday morning - Diane and I ran at 5:45 am when the temperature was 72 degrees and about an hour later it was 38 with a huge wind chill.  There was some rain on Thursday, and some sleet and snow flakes, but it was supposed to be less cold by Saturday.  Not so...we were checking the radar because there was rain/sleet approaching San Antonio and in fact we could see flakes in the headlights as we drove, but it was supposed to stop by 8:00 am, and the race didn't start until 7:45, so we thought it would be OK.  That said, we all agreed that if we got there and it was that cold plus raining, we'd bail on the race (funny thing, when we met up with Julia that morning she said she had the same plan).  Diane, Karen, and I were set to run the 10K, while just Jeff and Julia would be running the half marathon since obviously Cary and Brian were busy with Logan.  Cary's mom was going to do the 5K with Logan in the stroller; no go on that.

We got there and it was just lightly misting, so we soldiered on, getting our winter running gear on, bibs pinned, and we went in search of a restroom.  That did not go well - the first one we found only had two stalls and there had to be 30 people in line...and the race was going to start in about 20 minutes.  We were told there was a bigger restroom in the visitor's center so we set out looking for that, but never found it.  We did get in line at another one but again, too long of a wait so we decided to start the race and look for one along the route - there had to be porta-potties, right?

Side note:  during our bathroom search, Cary texted that Logan had an ear infection and the pressure popped while they were at the ER and a bunch of gunk ran out of his ear.  I cannot imagine that kind of pain as an adult; no wonder he was screaming.  But at least we knew he was OK and on his way to feeling better, which was a relief.

Back to the race.  We lined up in the corral, listened to a few words from Fr. David, sung the National Anthem, and were off - believe me, we were ready to be running because it felt like 28 degrees with a lovely north wind, brrr!  Now here's my bad - I hadn't paid a lot of attention to the route because I've run this 10K twice, but apparently they changed it.  We started at a different mission than in prior years; we were at Mission San Jose, which is where we ran to and got the rose petal shower in the previous races.  We were running with the crowd, and I kept expecting to make the turn toward the river, where we'd run for a few miles before coming back to the mission.  But then we saw runners coming toward us, which was different.  We saw Karen so we figured we were doing some sort of out-and-back, but beyond that we had no idea where we were going.

All this time, we still had to go to the restroom.  I didn't even drink very much on the drive in, but it had been hours since we were awake and the misery was real.  We came across one restroom with a long line of runners at it, so we decided to keep going.  We never saw any porta-potties along our route.  We ran and just when I was wondering what the heck was up with my dead legs, Diane took out a GU, saying her legs were dead and she needed some energy.  At least it was the same for both of us, and it could have been because of the early morning, the long drive, the cold...but we talked and realized that our workouts at BCS Fitness on Thursday afternoon were pretty leg intense.  I didn't think about it at the time - I had jumped rope for the first time in at least five years and was pretty proud of myself because I did about 150 jumps, plus we had all kinds of squats and stuff, but yeah, that was a lot on the old legs.  So that was probably why we weren't moving very well.

We saw Mission Concepcion ahead and realized that was where the runners were turning around.  We ran in and decided to stop for a few pictures, and you know what?  That's when the race got fun.  Goofing around with Diane, taking a moment to look at the mission - why not?
Mission Concepcion behind us.
A miniature bronze sculpture of the mission, with runners in background making the turn around.

Diane wanted to see if the restrooms were open there, and boy howdy were we happy to find that yes, they were:
Our personal version of an oasis in a desert!  Plus it was heated!
Yes we took a selfie at the restroom door.  You have no idea how badly we needed this!
Diane joked that there was a Shelley handle and a Diane handle, so of course that had to be documented...

When we left the restroom, there was no one left on the course except for the police officer who was directing traffic.  We didn't spend that much time goofing off, but there wasn't a lot of people running this race and when you're slow, well, that happens.  We saw a few people ahead of us, but there weren't any route markers or volunteers out directing, so we followed them until we passed them, and then we hoped we'd see where to go next.  The race is not in a great neighborhood and it was a little scary to be there by ourselves; while we've run in that area in the past, normally we pretty quickly make the turn toward the river so we get some distance from that neighborhood.  This year we spent more than four miles on it going out and back.

We were not entirely paying attention to our intervals, just running when we felt like it and walking when we felt like it, when Diane said that her hamstring was starting to hurt.  Ack - I know that pain all too well, so we eased up and ran really slow - no need to aggravate it.  We discussed cutting the race short and just crossing the finish line when we got back to Mission San Jose, and were pretty much on board with that when we made it back inside (it's a huge square courtyard).  But...we had no idea where to go - I mean, we could see the finish line but how did we even approach it?  We ended up going around the inside perimeter and at one point two runners who were behind us called out asking which way to go - we had no idea.  There were no markers, no volunteers guiding anyone, and lots of exits.  It was ridiculous and had we actually been trying to run the full race, I would have been really mad.  You could see people coming and going from a lot of different directions - we were not the only ones who were confused.  We finally saw that you had to loop around the finish line to cross it, so we did that, got our medals, and stopped our Garmins with 4.75 miles done for the day.

We had decided that if we cut the race short, we'd run our own 10K at home to "earn" the medal, and later on we discovered we made the right decision, as Karen (who was with a pack of runners so she had a better idea where to go) said the last bit was a steep hill that you had to run up and down, and then turn around and run back up and down it.  That would have killed Diane's hamstring - totally not worth it.  Speaking of Karen, she placed third in her age group!  She never stopped for the restroom and was pretty miserable until after the race was over so I bet that helped her to run extra fast.
Mission San Jose - exterior.
Mission San Jose - interior.
The stairs looked like they were made of concrete from a distance, but they are actually weathered wood.  The doorway was short - just a little over 6 feet tall - I used Diane for measurement.
See?  She's an accurate yardstick.

It was starting to rain lightly so we headed to the car to get our dry clothing - we were beyond ready to get warm at that point.  The organizers had the parish hall open for the post-race food, thankfully - I can't imagine staying outside any longer than we already had to.  Once we were changed and had some fruit and yummy Mexican cookies, we checked the race results.  Diane placed second in her age group so she went to the timers to have her result removed - she didn't want to deprive someone from an award who actually went the entire distance.  I was 14th in my age group so even when I cheat I still can't win, LOL.

I was tracking Jeff and Julia and we had a while to wait for them to finish.  Meanwhile it started sleeting.  This really was miserable weather to be outside in.  They finished and Jeff said at one point the sleet was hitting the side of his face and making it so cold that he felt like he had an ice cream headache.  Even with the bad conditions, he was pleased with how he felt while running, so it's all good.

We ended up going to Mi Tierra for breakfast because there was no way we were going to do the 90 minute wait at the Guenther House, home of the delicious biscuits - not in that weather, no thank you.  We had chips and salsa and queso and coffee - well, Jeff, Jimmy, and I had coffee and yes it was a little weird to drink hot coffee while eating chips and salsa but it warmed us up!  We got our food and about two minutes later I looked over to see this:
Yep, he was just a little hungry after running a half marathon in frigid conditions!

Our only group shot - inside, because (have I mentioned this yet?) it was too cold to stand around outside, even for a minute:
Wearing layers upon layers - I looked like the Michelin Man and didn't care one bit.

Medals:
Mine.  I was disappointed that it wasn't wood like they've done in previous years.  The wood medals were beautiful, unique, and in my favorite group of medals.  You will also note that the medals says 2018 on it - I figured that might happen because when they cancelled the race so close to the original date, they had to have the medals on hand already, and as this is a fundraiser, it didn't make sense to redo them.  Still, I wish they had gone with the wood.
My medal hanger...sigh.
Jeff's medal - again with the 2018 ribbon.  People were complaining about this on the race's Facebook page and the organizers said that was a mix up and they will be mailing out ribbons with the correct year, but I kinda doubt that will happen.
Our medals next to their missions on my shirt.

In the days after the race, I've seen several people upset with the lack of guidance on the race course.  Some ended up running farther because they didn't know where to turn, and while it was terrible weather for volunteers to be standing outside in, the route could have had arrows, at least, to show the turns.  This has been such a sweet race in the previous years; I'm not sure what happened.  For something that has been so well-managed over the past several years, it is strange just how badly it fell apart this year.  I'm not sure this race is worth the effort to do again next year.

Monday, February 11, 2019

FULL HOUSE Renovation Before and After - My Office

It's the last reveal post - finally!  Hey, I finished before we hit a year from when the renovation began, so that's good, right?  I kinda blew it with taking before pictures, mainly because I didn't think we'd be doing much to change how my office looked, and also because we got scheduled for the renovation start so quickly that in one day just about every piece of furniture and most of the packed boxes were crammed into my office for storage:
Sealed up to prevent most of the construction dust from permeating everything - felt a bit like a "cooking" scene from Breaking Bad was happening over here.

Mostly the plans for my office were to remove the French doors and fill in the areas where the hinges were, paint it the same color as the rest of the house, and get new tile flooring in there so the entire area would look more cohesive.  And that's pretty much what we did, although I did have the sconces on either side of the windows switched out - I went from soft uplighting that did not help one bit for old blindy here to see when it was dark, to really cool downlights with daylight LED bulbs and holy moly, I'm not as blind as I thought I was!  I don't know why it never occurred to me to make that change, oh I don't know...10 years ago?  Instead I tried all kinds of desk lamps and never got it quite right.  Sometimes the solution is right there, but you just don't see it - because it was too dark, HAHA.

Onto the pictures - hopefully I've covered everything in the captions, but if you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Here's a before circa 2010, another before circa 2011, and the after, circa now:
While I loved the bright lime green walls, I equally love the gray - and it makes for a nice background for all of the colorful items in my office.  Also, please note the roller shade in this picture - this is what I recently had installed and it's made all the difference in being able to stand being in my office during the harsh winter months - the sun coming in was so bright that it was impossible to sit at my desk without shading my eyes.
Because the tile makes for an echo-y room, I needed an area rug and of course I went for something colorful.  I tried out a brand - Ruggable - that intrigued me because you can wash this in your standard washing machine...and for someone who bought the rug knowing it was a sure bet that both Paco and Henry would barf on it at some point, I liked that concept.  
It has a velcro-like pad that the rug adheres to, and when you want to wash it, you remove it from the pad and throw it in the washer.  I'm glad I tried this out in my office first, as I was thinking about getting one for our family room as well; however there's really no cushion at all to the pad and there's not much of a difference, comfort-wise, in walking on this vs walking on tile.  Also, vacuuming it with my Dyson is a challenge; even on the lightest suction, it wants to shift around.  Still, I do like it for this area.   
New sconce - I got the pair from Amazon but they aren't available at the moment.  It is the Possini Euro Capetown brushed nickel 8" sconce if you want to search for it.
I really love these sconces!

Another view - before and after:
Funny thing - I liked the tree painting on the green wall, and I like it on the gray wall as well.  I moved some things around and yes, there's a hole where another painting/picture can go...when I come across the perfect, meaningful piece, I'll fill that spot.  

In the meantime I'm willing to wait; everything on my walls has either come from someone I know (the tree was painted for me as a gift by an artist I was friends with back in my Arts Council days, and the car was commissioned by Jeff for my birthday, painted by a former coworker who is also an artist), or is from something important (the mermaid with the 11 is a mile marker from a half marathon I ran - the organization sold the mile markers after the race to raise money for charity).  Also the quilt on the chair used to be hanging behind my desk; my friend Debby made it for me and I love it no matter where it is (but now I can use it when I'm sitting here and my legs get cold).
Changed things up - it's a little less busy behind the desk now.
I moved the wrought iron baker's rack that was in this spot back into the kitchen, and bought this white bookcase with doors at Ikea.  I like the doors because it keeps most of the dust off of my treasures, but the wood frame around the glass hides what is on the center of each shelf, so I had to arrange things toward each side to accommodate that space issue.
Back when I was sorting and repacking stuff for the renovation, I came across too many things in tubs that I missed, so I decided to display them when we finished.  I love seeing my Panasonic Toot-a-Loop radio next to my old 45 record storage box, with Quick Curl Skipper rounding out the scene.  Vintage Francie and Malibu Barbie next to modern-day Barbie on a bike and See's Candies Barbie on the top shelf make me want to stop and play with everyone.  Still sad that I don't have my Barbie Airplane anymore...
This picture would have you believe everything is gray and white, but not so; I just included it so you can see how the doorway was cased out (a new term for me) when the French doors were removed.  I thought the spots where the hinges were would simply be filled in with wood putty and painted, but they were too big, so new, thin pieces of wood were attached on all sides and then painted.  I wanted the doors removed so I would have more wall space outside of the office for hanging art, and I do.  But now I need bigger art to balance the huge piece just outside the office.  And so we wait...

And with this post, I happily conclude our house renovation reveals.  It's amazing to me to see how much our house has changed in less than a year; we still love everything and are so, so pleased with how fresh and new it looks.  As more time goes by, I'm beginning to be willing to think about redoing our master bathroom - at some point I'll be able to handle the dust and chaos again, right?

Friday, February 8, 2019

FMM - Renegade Toddlers!

I have some fun Renegade toddler pictures for you today!  After our run on Saturday, Mason and Logan were so cute playing while we cooled off on the driveway.  I wanted to get a picture of the two of them together, but trying to get two toddlers to be still and be in the same general vicinity is like herding cats...not gonna happen.  Mason loves to run down the sidewalk and I daresay he's going to be racing soon as he is fast!  Jimmymeow corralled him at one point so I got this picture:
He's still a little wary of the strange lady with the camera; can't say that I blame him!

Meanwhile Logan is all about the camera since I've basically been in his face since he was born, taking pictures, so he is definitely used to this:
HEY LADY I SEE YOU!

Shenanigans at Blue Baker:
I call this one Mom Reflexes - Mason was juuuust about to toss his toy on the floor when both mom hands went up for the block!
Hey man!  Long time no see.
 
Story time was super fun - they both loved listening to Cary read to them.
Then they took over - it's awesome to see how much both boys love books!

One of the bakers treated us with some cookie dough, which was really nice:
This was snickerdoodle dough.  Some in our group loved it, but it was just OK for me - chocolate chip cookie dough is still my all-time favorite.

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We have a long day ahead of us tomorrow - we're running the Missions Heritage race in San Antonio.  This was originally going to happen in October but the organizers had to change the date, so with it coming so soon after Houston, no one was really interested in staying in San Antonio for the weekend like we've done previously.  With the race starting at 7:45 am, we will be on the road for the 3 hour drive very early...but it will be a fun adventure for the Renegades!  Stay tuned for a race report next week.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

WWU - What is Happening Here?

Running update:  I don't know why, but Saturday's long run with Diane was by far the best one I've had in years.  Yes, years.  And I didn't realize how much I needed that good run until I got it.

The weather could have made the run go either way - it was 57 degrees with 100% humidity, but there was a breeze and we were wearing just a short-sleeved shirt and capris, so we while were chilly for nearly the entire first mile - our thin Texas blood is showing - we warmed up without overheating.

We ran a route that I haven't run in a long time - we headed down the old new road, doing one of the jig jags (but not the other one because Diane was worried we'd encounter wild hogs even though I told her she didn't have to outrun them, she just had to outrun me, LOL), and then we ran the outer perimeter of the fancy neighborhood, which again, I haven't done in forever because it feels like you're always going slightly uphill and you know how I hate running uphill.  But this time, it felt good.  I never got tired and never wanted to take an extra walk outside of our intervals.  We needed to tack on a little extra mileage to hit an even 5 miles, so we ran another jigjag through a little neighborhood close to the clubhouse, and then we were finished. 

We started on our cool-down walk back to the clubhouse when out of nowhere Diane said "let's sprint to that light pole" so we took off running.  That was hard, but we walked a little bit more and then did another sprint and that one was awesome - I was lifting my knees high as I ran and felt really powerful.  We walked a bit more and then did one last sprint, which again, was fantastic.  What was happening?  This was so good!  I was a good runner.  I haven't been a good runner in years.  But on Saturday, something magical happened and I ran like Runner Shelley circa 2010.

Five miles, and it wasn't a struggle.  Five miles, and I liked running.  Five miles, and I felt good about the run.  Five miles, and everything changed.   This run will stay with me forever.

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BCS Fitness update:  I've started doing some light jumping and hopping - after tearing my calf muscle doing mountain climbers, you can imagine my trepidation about doing any kind of explosive movement, but I'm testing the waters, very carefully, and so far it's been good.  I'm not going all out; last week we had either a three-minute burpee test OR three minutes of doing thrusters - I chose thrusters because I'm so slow with burpees that I knew I'd get more out of the thrusters.  I had my hands on a bench in an angled push up form, and would pop my feet back and then pop them up toward the bench.  Anyway, I was doing a POP, pause, POP, pause and it got less scary with each POP.  My bench neighbor was doing a POP, POP, POP, POP - and I admired that, but I'm still in the cautious stage.  It's all good.
I finished boxing that bag and still had about 90 seconds left so Jared told me to do a bridge hold.  Honestly this was the easiest part of the entire 30 minute workout!

Oh, I hit the Perfect 10 attendance club again - actually I think I worked out 13 times in January, so I'm pretty pleased with that.  Showing up, doing the workouts and being willing to push myself are all things that are helping to make me fitter and stronger.  And maybe, all of this is contributing to better running?  That was my plan...could it possibly be working??

Monday, February 4, 2019

Holly Yashi Jewelry Studio Tour

When Jeff and I were planning our trip to Arcata, California for the Marching Lumberjack band reunion last fall, I did a quick online search to see what was new in the area, and I was surprised to see that the Holly Yashi jewelry studio was in Arcata.  I was familiar with the jewelry because my BFF Barbara has worn their earrings for years and I've been with her as she's shopped for them, but I had no idea that they were made in Arcata!  When I saw that the studio was within walking distance of our hotel, that sealed the deal - we'd have to go check it out.

Holly Yashi was founded in 1981 by Holly Hosterman and Paul "Yashi" Lubitz, both Humboldt State University graduates.  What began in their garage has evolved into a successful business of jewelry as art, as Holly likes to say, and I now own several wearable pieces of art as a result of my visit to their studio.
We arrived at the store, and it was pretty much my dream to walk inside and be one with the jewelry.  The sales staff were all super friendly, offering us coffee or water, and giving us space to walk around and drool over everything.  Look toward the back of this shot - that is the manufacturing area - and yes, everything is made right there.  Our saleswoman said a tour was starting in about 30 minutes, so we decided to hang around for that.
The waiting area for the tour.  As it turned out, there was just Jeff and I and one other woman, so we got to see everything up close without having to jockey for position.  Our guide ended up being our saleswoman, and she was a hoot.  

Holly Yashi jewelry is known for its unique look - it's made of niobium metal that is dipped into a bath of electrically charged water that creates a permanent color on it.  We got to see how that happens on the tour, as well as many other ways that their designs are made.  It was fascinating to see how the jewelry comes together, beginning with Holly's sketched designs and ending with beautiful pieces of jewelry.
This is their custom-made water jet machine - it does the precise cuts of the metal that begins the jewelry process.  We saw thin sheets of metal with the designs cut, and a worker was popping each piece out, one by one.
Polishing the edges.
This is a master board, which shows each current piece and in what order everything goes - especially important for the bracelets and necklaces that have a lot of parts.
It gets pretty complicated!
She was setting stones, which created the part in the next picture.
Every part of every piece is done by hand.  I had no idea...I honestly thought this was fully automated.  Nope.  If you are wearing a Holly Yashi necklace, bracelet, or pair of earrings, it was created by the people you see in these pictures.
 
 
Making Pansy Post earrings - it was so cool to see the pieces come together and then see the same earrings for sale in the showroom.
There is a die for each jewelry design to use in the press.  They were hanging from a bicycle chain system which made it easy to spin and choose the specific die needed at any given moment.
Everyone who worked there was so gracious and took the time to show us how they worked their magic with whatever they happened to be making.

Here's the process of coloring the niobium metal via the electrical water bath:
This sheet tells her how high to turn the dial on the electric dealie (yes that's the technical term I'm sure) to get the desired color.  It was fascinating to watch happen and quite mesmerizing.
Shipping department.  If you purchase anything from their website, now you know where your package started out.
Holly wasn't there that day but Paul (Yashi) was, so we got to have a little chat with him - he's very energetic and enthusiastic about their jewelry-making process, as you might imagine.
Our tour guide - she and Jeff riffed back and forth and by the end of the tour had formed quite the bond.
Me with my little bag of goodies in front of the showroom and manufacturing studio.
Why yes, I had to wear one pair of earrings right away!

The tour was really interesting and I learned a lot - I have a new appreciation for how much craftsmanship goes into each piece of Holly Yashi jewelry now.  And while you know I was going to buy something or three, they did give a discount at the end of the tour, so I had even more fun shopping - plus I got a few Christmas gifts as well.
I chose pieces that I saw being made on our tour (or similar pieces).  I've worn them all quite a bit in the three months since our tour - some days it's hard to decide which pair to wear!

I found a short (about 4 minute) video on the Holly Yashi website that gives you a virtual tour and explains in a little more detail how their process works - click here if you would like to watch it.  And hey - if you ever find yourself in Arcata, be sure to stop by and take a tour in person!