sweet & spark

A colorful summer afternoon! #pasorobles #winetime


November 15, 2013

Overwhelming

Equivalent to, overpowering. Beyond grasp. Beyond control. And when extreme, can make you feel numb. Do you know what I’m talking about? It’s why I haven’t blogged in a long, long time.

One true feeling that can either be joyous or stressful, but never equally both at the same time. But, you get to choose. And that’s when momentum shows up and either takes it to the highest of highs or the lowest of lows.

So, as we head into year #2, the only way I know how to survive is to continue to enjoy the ride and…

Listen to intuition.

Simplify ideas.

Hold on tight.

Believe. In humanity. In the universe.

Smile.

Ask for help.

Love deeply.

Respect each others differences.

Pay it forward.

Say thank you.

Celebrate.

Repeat.

And remember, we’re all in this together.

Happy 1st Birthday, Sweet & Spark. Whatever happens, I will always love you and the amazing gift you’ve given.


August 20, 2013

The Best Part

Is the people.

The satisfaction of sharing the details of the day to day journey with my dad. That even with an overloaded schedule, my mom manages to fit in hours of jewelry cleaning. That my (baby) sister pushes me past my limits by calling my bluff, “lizard brain”, just when I need it most.

You know that old saying, “Make new friends but, keep the old?” It’s true, you can do both. I’ve experienced it. I’ve met more new friends in the past 6 months than in the last 6 years and I already love them just as much. Many that I know will be in it with me for the long haul.

If anything is for certain, it’s that I’m not going back to corporate America. It creates boundaries and endorses mediocrity. We get “so busy” that we lose our macro view of life and make excuses for not keeping in touch with those we love most. We spend so much time being our censored selves that we close ourselves off to the magic that diversity can bring into our perspectives.

Tonight we celebrated a turning point in S&S history with team bowling at the hip, Mission Bowling Club. I could not be filled with more love for the diverse group of sweet and sparky individuals that believe with me. From dedicated interns, to connected bloggers and creative photographers, they have laid the groundwork and set the bar higher than I ever could alone.

It was a serendipitous way to close a milestone of a summer. As a child of divorced parents, I logged many quality hours “with dad” in our local bowling alley. It was never even a dream that today could have happened.

I have so much gratitude that I don’t even know how to begin to express. I don’t believe in luck. I believe in karma. If you keep an open heart, always give people the benefit of the doubt and believe that good people attract good people it somehow, always works out.


August 8, 2013

Table Talk

It came up tonight, why are we as Americans, always so ahead yet, always so behind at the same time? Why do we give a fuck about everything?

We want to be “friends” with everyone we’ve ever met yet, have never felt so distant to those we “love”. We spend more time behind a screen logging hours, begging to be “liked”, than building quality relationships with those that inspire, love & believe in us. With those that make us vulnerable and ask the hard questions- the when & the whys.

When the world feels overwhelming, who makes you feel whole? Yea those, make them the priority. Everyone else can take a back seat- they have so many emails to get through they won’t even notice anyway.

Facebook is practically dead. That tweet can wait. There will always be something new to instagram. People will always be making excessive noise trying to be noticed. Don’t acknowledge it. Choosing not to respond doesn’t make you a bitch. It gives you the freedom and time to actually do something to make the world miss you when you’re gone.


July 21, 2013

Consume. Connect. Create.

I fear turning into exactly what I’m building a brand to fight, mass consumption.

Against will, my quest for balance won and I finally turned off all notifications on my phone and bought an alarm clock. Before bed, I’m powering down my cell so that I no longer resort to checking the time in the middle of the night and lose precious sleep over meaningless notifications. Rest assured, they’ll still be there in the morning. Ever heard of a little thing called delayed gratification?

In order to foster and generate creativity, we need to give ourselves space. Creativity can come at any second, but we will not know what second that will be. We need to balance our busy lives with consuming, sharing and creating information. Without fully focusing a little on all three (and multitasking doesn’t count), we cannot experience the full rewards of serendipity.

While it’s impossible to always balance equally, a good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow. So this week, start by being conscious of where you’re spending your time and where you’d like to be spending more. Exploring an idea that rattles your soul? Or with people you love? Or is it in the midst of the hard work along the journey, because ultimately that is the reward…


July 2, 2013

Celebrate: How Far We’ve Come

Not how far we have to go. Today I’m heading to Tahoe to put the finishing touches on an epic year and ring in a new.

Celebrating the survival of a year with zero stability, fueled by gut instinct, belief and passion. I’m filled with so much love.

To the rocks in my life, you are my all. Without you I would be scared.
To new friends & customers, you are incredible fans. Thank you for believing with me.
To old friends, thank you for proving that what you give, you will always get back.
To the sun and the moon, thank you for letting me feel both the force of momentum and surrender. Without one you cannot have the other.

For as much as I fear birthdays, I continue to be surprised by the new beauty in each year. This will be my first birthday without any expectations for the upcoming year but, surrounded by so many amazing people in my life I’m ready as I’ll ever be. So 28, bring it on…


June 19, 2013

The Ride

Is equally balanced with the highest of highs and lowest of lows but, why is it so hard for us to enjoy the highs?

As my good girlfriend & fellow entrepreneur, Nichole, puts it,

“When living in a world full of possibilities, we never know when the next high will happen. So we find ourselves hustling, when we should be celebrating.”

Hustling is a fancy word for worrying. Worry that we’re not spending our time in the right places. So we rush and multi-task, pushing all joy aside. In order to experience joy, we must allow ourselves the chance.

Ahh, life’s ultimate challenge. To focus and engage with the world in each moment.

So here’s a good little reminder for us all, The Myth of Tomorrow.


June 14, 2013

Happy Father’s Day to The Man Behind The Spark!

Never in a million years did I think my dad would one day be my head buyer. It hasn’t exactly been a picture perfect ride but we’ve made it this far. So long as I don’t catch him trying any jewelry on, we’ll continue to get along just fine. He’s proving to have quite the eye.

He’s where I get my spark. Having watched him ride the ups and downs as a lifetime entrepreneur, he’s yet to give up on a dream of chasing antiques full-time. Marry that with some corporate buying experience and an unsettling desire to prove that you can achieve anything your heart can conceive, and you have given me a very meaningful challenge.

Regardless of our coastal differences, we’ve spent more time together this past year dreaming than ever before. Its brought back a lifetime of memories and reinforced this path. In honor of Father’s Day, here’s how he’s shared his spark with me over the past year.

1. Don’t over consume. There’s no reason to spend more than $2 on a new shirt when there are nice second hand finds everywhere.

2. Be first. Hop a fence at a community yard sale if there’s a guard not willing to open the gates until precisely 9 am.

3. Get up early. It will be your only chance at scoring vintage Coach legacy bags and Chanel earrings for under $5.

4. Avoid being over connected. Use a cell phone from the early 2000’s and continue to resist an upgrade.

5. Never judge. The quality of a yard sale or flea market isn’t dictated by the size of a newspaper ad or sign.

6. There’s enough spark to go around. Walk away from a pile of jewelry if an old lady at a church sale is trying to hog and push you out of the way.

7. Work really hard. If there are 16 thrift shops within a 60 mile radius, stop at every. single. one.

8. Do what you want to do when you wanna do it. Life is too short not to eat ice cream and donuts, everyday.

What has your dad taught you this past year?


June 7, 2013

Doing Work You Love: Coming Full Circle


I continue to be fascinated by the universe. You know those small “signs” that sometimes you think are just silly? Or how about the big disappointments that you just shrug off and say “it must be meant to be”?

If you actually listen to these signs, I bet you’ll find yourself veering paths. And once you commit, then those signs continue to amplify, delivering reassurance at all the right times.

I speak from experience; five years ago I moved across the country for a dream job that left me questioning corporate America. Between life on the road and long hours at the office, I spent weekends scouring the internet and exploring non-fiction business books. I came across Scott Dinsmore, the mastermind behind Live Your Legend, and started religiously reading his email blasts.

Fast forward two years and with a change in corporate strategy, I was given a choice to take on an ever more bureaucratic role or move along with a severance package. Thanks to Scott and many others, armed with a new perspective on life and business, I chose the latter.

With nothing but belief and gut instinct I had an opportunity to move back to San Francisco and sublet from friend which was ironically on my old street (a sign?). As I settled back in and the holidays rolled around, I found myself staring at a Christmas card on my fridge from Scott and his wife, Chelsea. Long story short, my new roommate is close personal friends with both of them and was able to make an introduction.

Over coffee with Scott this week, this entrepreneurial journey came full circle for me and I’m inspired to start documenting the ride. I’ve been hesitant, because what if I fail? But now that’s out on the table, so I’m able to move forward.

With the launch of a live style feed (coming out next week), I’ve decided to use this blog platform as an outlet to share the ride. My hope is to give you the tools, resources and support to find your path because as I always say, “You only live one time. One single time.”


May 7, 2013

Mother’s Day: Vintage Jewelry Gift Guide

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We’ve got perfect pairs for every lady! She makes your world special every day. Why don’t you make her Mother’s Day extra special this year by giving her some spark! We’ll write a handwritten note from you, just leave it in the comments section of your order. Order by end of day, May 9th for guaranteed shipping in time for Mother’s Day on the 12th. Shop now!


May 5, 2013

Shop Vintage Jewelry: Add Edge Collection

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photo credit, Ashley Batz

A few of my favorite snaps from our add edge collection. Perfect back to summer neons and bold stripes, this street wear inspired collection calls on all the casual cool gals out there! Don’t hesitate, if you ever want to see a piece styled on, shoot us an email at jillian@sweetandspark.com and we’ll share the spark.

Lots more mini collections to come for our edgy girl throughout the summer! Make sure you’ve signed up for our email list because they’re the first to hear about new arrivals.


May 1, 2013

Wear: Statement Tassel Necklace

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sweet & spark necklace, Karen Walker sunnies, Current Elliott jeans, Club Monaco top

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photo credit, Ashley Batz

Officially for sale! I can finally share the full outfit pictures featuring one of my most favorite necklaces. Each piece on the site must pass through my filter and if I don’t absolutely love, it gets tossed straight into the “outbox”. People always ask if I keep anything for myself and most find it hard to believe that, aside from a pair of vintage Chanel earrings I stumbled upon a few sparkhuntin’ trips back, I don’t let myself get attached to anything. If I did, there would be no spark to share with all of you lovelies.


April 25, 2013

Recap: Carmel by the Sea

Technically, these last two posts should be swapped because the Spark Party happened after Aly’s visit (my bf from college) but hey at this point, whatever, late is late. This is a pure reflection of entrepreneurial life, constant chaos. I read this poem recently that I often find myself referencing called, What Makes A Genius, with the point being we are all geniuses if we never stop ourselves from thinking. Amiss the busy work, I’m constantly trying to pull myself out of the weeds and think about things on a more macro level so that I’m focusing my energy into the things that really matter. Give it a try, you’ll be fascinated at what your brain can master up.

Back to the fun stuff, when Aly came to visit a few weekends back we took the few hour trip from San Fran down to the official name, Carmel by the Sea. Taking recommendations from friends, we decided to take the inland route, 101, down until we hit the 17 mile drive on coastal US 1 from Monterrey, through Pebble Beach. We stopped at pretty much every scenic point to snap pics & ended with a lovely lunch outside at Basil, in the quaint beach town of Carmel. The perfect opportunity to practice up my rusty photog skills.

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We both agreed that it was by far the most beautiful coastal drive we’d ever been on so far in our lives. It was anther one of those frequent days where I kept asking anyone that would listen, “Is this real life? Why doesn’t everyone live in California?”


April 10, 2013

Recap: Vintage Jewelry Party!

Sunday’s Spark Party was a hit! I couldn’t be more grateful for the turnout and wonderful hosts. My dear friend, Eryn, hosted at her quintessential San Francisco apartment (party in the front, business in the back).

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The party started at 11am but before getting into that, let’s start with the prep work. The weekend prior, my college bestie was in town visiting and she helped finalize props for the jewelry displays. Poor girl got dragged around the city on endless errands and into Ikea for 2 hours on her birthday….sorry, Aly! After spending our days & nights out and about, we spent late evenings DIY-ing polka dot ceramic trays, building another pegboard (remember this one from the photo shoot?) and covering oversized foam boards with felt. Thank god for her dotting preciseness, the trays were a hit!

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I literally swapped Aly at the airport for my mom, who flew in on Thursday, last minute from Buffalo, to help tag our full collection of vintage jewels! Combined, we logged more than 24 hours on the task. No doubt about it, moms are the best at helping organize & getting shit done.

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Ok, now that you know about all the hard work, let’s talk about the fun! The signature drink of the day was a St. Germain cocktail with sparkling wine, club soda & lemon. A special thanks to Camille, the lovely lady behind Planning Pretty, who surprised us with champagne cupcakes! Other bloggers in attendance included Nichole & Kate, from our Spr/Sum look book shoot, & new friends Lauren, Emily, Ana & Erin.

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Amongst the fresh flowers, food, displays & giant geranimo balloons, we featured our full collection (over 700 pieces) of vintage costume jewelry!

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The flow of friends was steady and I was happy for the opportunity to mingle with everyone. I loved watching what everyone gravitated towards and hearing how they envisioned styling their favorite pieces.

The un-candid feedback was just in time because, this week I’m off on a 10-day, East Coast buying trip with my dad covering Florida to New York! I’ll be staying away from buying more clip-on earrings and instead, stock up on statement brooches & continue to snag every tassel I run into. Any special requests to add to the shopping list?

Be sure to follow along the #sparkhuntin’ journey on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook.


April 2, 2013

Support: Female Entrepreneurship

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Remember my awesome friend, Nichole, I’ve now mentioned a few times? Not only is she the photog behind my outfit posts and the woman behind the blog Vanilla Extract, but also, her and her boyfriend have their own branding agency, named Blinc. We were introduced to each other through friends and instantly hit it off over bottomless mimosas.

Since then, Nichole and I have been diligent about getting together every week to discuss projects and brainstorm new ideas together. It’s always re-freshing to step away from the details and just let the brain go. I miss being surrounded by people to bounce ideas off of, it doesn’t get easier to put yourself on the line everyday but, I suppose that’s all part of the thrill.

Everyone needs a girlfriend like Nichole to cheer you on and push you forward. She’s not only a fledging entrepreneur at heart, but also passionate about building a community where other female entrepreneurs can collaborate and support each other. This I’ve witnessed all first hand, I’m already collaborating with Olivia, from Mane Message, all thanks to this project.

Her kickstarter campaign is only the beginning; a dream to create a coffee table book featuring 25 women and 25 tasty cocktails. Please consider helping to inspire women all over the world to reach their highest potential, by donating what you can to her kickstarter campaign. There are only 2 days left before it closes and no donation is ever too little. The project will only become a reality if the fundraising goal is met. Click here for details.

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