She’s Not Your Average Professor

10 May

This Sweet Bling customer is a chic, smart Mama — and she surfs.

We’re actually not sure what your average professor is. We just know that Dr. Paula Peter is by no means average. She is a Sweet Bling customer who is an inspiration for women trying to walk that tight rope of family, career and self.  With Mother’s Day coming up, we thought this was the perfect time to celebrate an inspirational mother.

Peter with her son, Noah.

I’ve known Peter for ten years, through mutual friends. But until I interviewed her, I didn’t know how she came to be a Professor of Marketing. I wanted to know how she balances her career and family, and I wanted to know more about where she got her sense of style. So I went to interview Peter at her office at San Diego State University.

Peter oozes a cool European vibe – which isn’t surprising, because she is from Lugano, Switzerland. She has a beautiful accent which sounds a bit Italian since Lugano is on the border of Switzerland and Italy. Paula is married to Alessio, who she met her last year of high school (he is five years her senior). He is an ICU nurse and together they are raising two beautiful children, Noah and Alice (pronounced A-LEE-CHAY) in San Diego. Peter is the person women look at and say, “how does she do it?” She has a fun and satisfying career, a lovely family and an effortless sense of style.


Top left: Peter with her husband, Alessio. Top right: Peter coming in from surfing. Bottom: Alice, Alessio, Noah and Peter.

I ask Peter where she got her sense of style. She credits her mom, Leena, who was a model (no surprise here!) before she married Peter’s dad. She describes the carefree lifestyle her mom lived, going from city to city in Europe for modeling work. Her mom was originally from Finland.

Peter tells me of fond memories of dressing up with friends in her mother’s beautiful gowns. She also mentions that her grandfather on her mother’s side was a dressmaker.


Photos of Peter’s mom, Leena. Top left: in Amsterdam, bottom right in Lake Como.

When I was a kid and I was maybe 12 or so, I would play Runway at home with my friends and we would all wear my mom’s dresses. They were huge and puffy, but very pretty. My mom would wear these when she was in her 20s in Milan because she was completely out there in terms of her style.

I ask Peter if she thinks her style has changed since she moved to Southern California.

I don’t think so. It’s funny because I don’t get influenced very much. For example, I don’t follow fashion so much, but there are a couple (of designers) I follow. I follow Chanel and I followed Karl Lagerfeld. I also follow Alexander McQueen.

And about that balance in life. I tell Paula, that I’ve seen pictures of her surfing. She told me she decided to take it up after taking her seven-year-old son to a summer surf camp last year. It is something she enjoys doing for herself.

I love it because it’s you and the water. If I want to go in the water and just hang there I can do that — and enjoy the ocean and everything. So I truly love it. I’m not good at it but I’m not giving up.

We start talking about Peter’s 4 year-old daughter and how she likes jewelry, which leads into Peter’s  taste in jewelry. She is what I would describe as a jewelry minimalist. However, for her  21st anniversary (of dating her husband), she did ask her husband for two Sweet Bling Initial Bracelets, one with each child’s initial. Peter explains why she chose the delicate bracelets.

I like simple and subtle. So I love your bracelet (referring to me) because of that (the Baguette Gemstone Bracelet, because you have to look twice before seeing if there is something there. And I see your necklace (the Diamond Solitaire Necklace), it’s very teeny and I love that. I love when there’s  a sparkle but you have to have a double take to see — oh yes, there is something. I find that very chic and fine. It’s something I love to see.

Peter has been teaching at San Diego State University for just over ten years. She loves teaching young people and also empowering other women in academia. But, what I admire so much about Peter is the love and attention she puts towards her family. You see the thoughtfulness in the way she speaks to her children, how she loves laughing and playing with them and how content she is in her role as a mom. But you also see the happiness she exudes when with her husband, without the kids. Now career and family didn’t all fall in to place accidentally. Peter realized early on that she wanted to have a family — and a career as a Professor of Marketing would allow her to achieve both her dreams. I asker her how she decided to become a marketing professor.

Paula Peter, Ph.D at San Diego State University

So I don’t come from a family of known academics. My dad was a hockey player and my mom was a model, so no background related to academia. But they always told me “there is something nobody can steal from you —  it is knowledge. So we truly encourage you to go ahead and study.”

As a young woman, Dr. Paula Peter dreamed of being a competitive figure skater. Peter enjoyed and was good at the sport but not good enough to make a living out of it. So instead of pursuing a career in professional skating, she settled into life back home in Southern Switzerland (Lugano) and attended the Universita’ della Svizzera Italiana. While there, she met a visiting professor from Virginia Tech University. It was an encounter that would motivate her to change the course of her life.

While I was earning my bachelor’s degree, I met Dr. David Brinberg who inspired my love for the subject of consumer behavior.

When Peter chose to pursue a career in the field of consumer behavior, she moved to the U.S. to attend Virginia Tech, where Dr. Brinberg would continue to advise and mentor her during her master’s degree program and, later, her Ph.D. program. Upon completing her doctorate, Peter was named 2007’s “Outstanding Graduate Student” at Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business. 

During her time as a doctoral student, Peter realized that this profession would not only be satisfying as a career , but provide a lifestyle that she valued – one that would allow her to have a family, and travel.

My first conference as a Master’s student was in Jamaica, by myself. I remember my advisor was not able to come. So he said, “You need to go and you need to go by yourself.” So then I went there and I realized oh wow, people go to the conference but then they have fun on the side. And I realized wow, this is a lifestyle! I’m totally in!

Today, Peter is a tenured full professor at the Fowler College of Business at San Diego State University where she researches and teaches about the role emotions play in consumer behavior and how consumers are driven by those emotions in their decision making. Peter notes that her research leads her to believe that there isn’t necessarily a gender difference in the way that we experience our emotions, but that society has different expectations in the way that men and women express emotions.

Based on my research, women seem to have a higher emotional intelligence, meaning that they are more aware and calibrated on the emotions they experience. This is probably due to the fact that they are taught that from an early age it is okay to experience and express emotions. This is not necessarily the case for boys, but things are fortunately changing.

 Her interest in emotional intelligence and gender roles segued into her interest in the inclusion and promotion of women in academia.

I am very aware of the current statistics of women in academia and how we are still not where we should be, especially in the promotion of associate professors to the role of professors. When I earned the title of full professor in May 2018, I felt it was time for me to take action to improve things and initiate change in order to support women faculty and staff members at SDSU.

With this is mind, Peter launched the SDSU’s Women in Business Academia (WBA) employee resource group to support the well-being and advancement of women in business academia. Peter explains the role of WBA:

WBA addresses the unique issues that women in business academia face and the issues that impact their career, families and communities. The group is open to anyone on this campus who would like to see more gender equity in academic settings.

If Peter has made empowering women a part of her agenda at San Diego State, it was because she was raised by an empowered woman.

My mom is my hero. She left home at the age of 17 to be a model and she traveled from Helsinki to Milan. She had to become very street smart at an early age and despite the fact she is not college educated, I think she is the smartest person I have ever known.

While Peter’s mom loved the life she had as a model, she also treasured her role as a mom. But she often offered advice to Peter on the subject of family and career. 

My parents had a beautiful marriage, but she (my mom) always told me, encouraged me to be financially independent and decision-making independent. Where I come from, it was very rare that mothers would work. And actually the mothers who worked were not seen in a good light.

And that very much influenced Peter to find a career where she could be financially independent, as well as be a good mom. We’re proud to say that Dr. Paula Peter is a Sweet Bling customer.

 Have a sweet day!

Advertisements

Rebel Designs and My Italian Friend

4 Dec

I’ve followed Rebel Designs long before I ever started selling their jewelry. I love the name: Rebel. It applies to both young and old. We can all be rebels in our own way. The Manhattan-based Rebel Designs is headed by Gina Riley, who takes her inspiration from the contrasts of rough and refined found throughout the New York City mileau.

Rebel Designs really covers the spectrum of style. The rustic authenticity of leather and crystal can meet the desires of any age group and be so tastefully dressed up or down.

As I went through Sweet Bling’s inventory of Rebel Designs pieces in preparation for this post, I knew I needed a model. I immediately thought of my friend, Antonella, who is originally from Milan, Italy. She is one of the chicest women I know — and adds a bit of flair to everything she touches. Lucky me! I texted Antonella and she agreed to model some Rebel Designs pieces for Sweet Bling.

We decided to do the photo shoot at Dolce, a restaurant in San Diego, that fit our vibe. Antonella wore a white blouse that was something out of a Tuscan chick flick; so simple, yet so elegant. So perfect for my Italian friend. The draping flattered her shoulders and reached just mid forearm in an edgy tunic style.

IMG_2

 

 

I first wanted to style her blouse with a cuff bracelet…and the Rebel Designs Vintage Leather Cuff with Crystal Grid was the just the look I needed!

 

 

IMG_3

 

I  also loved her blouse with the Vintage Leather Cuff With Black Diamond Swarovski Crystal Disk. It brought such a rustic flare to her look, complimented by a lovely glass of prosecco, of course.

 

 

 

img_4-e1511929759559.jpg

 

Either of these bracelets could be worn with a thin leather bracelet like the Rebel Refined Leather Bracelet with Crystal Disk. My fingers were itching to snap a million photos and style her outfit just-so. Everything was working so beautifully.

 

 

anto close upThe shot of Antonella I that I had been imagining came to life: white tunic blouse beautifully accented with the Vintage Brown Leather Cuff, as she thoughtfully ordered a glass of the best Italian white wine on the menu…it worked so well! It reminded me our adventures in the Italian countryside and the slow afternoons of vacation.

My friend pulled off this rustic elegance like it was meant to be. That’s really what I love most about Rebel Designs. It has the timeless casual for your next European adventure, or the rustic flare for a weekend dinner party. Pair it with a white blouse like my dear friend for a daytime look, or a black chiffon blouse for more of an evening feel. Oh, the possibilities!

After our photo shoot, we reminisced about our travels in Italy. I enjoyed a lovely glass of wine, lively conversation and laughter with a longtime and forever friend. What beautiful inspiration she is.

Ciao,

Sweet Bling

Sweet Bling blog pink sm

Why Blue Makes for a Brilliant Color Palette for Travel

20 Nov

So, I am not usually the best packer for vacations. I’m trying, but I tend to over pack. Well, on my recent vacation to Croatia, I really put some effort into planning my outfits. I believe in the mantra – pick one or two colors and combine outfits. So that’s where I started. I picked blue and black. We all know why we should pick black. So why blue?

  • Blue is the color of denim: It’s so easy to wear denim. Denim jeans, denim shorts, denim dresses.
  • Many hues of blue: Powder blue, navy blue, royal blue.  These variations give you maximum flexibility with clothes and jewelry.
  • Navy blue is great for evening: A navy jumpsuit or patterned navy maxi dress is easy to find.
  • A crisp white blouse pairs well with blue denim. This is always a good classic look.
  • Blue does go with black: Since black is such an easy color to wear, picking these two colors for your color palette will give you a versatile wardrobe for your travels.
  • Blue jewelry is plentiful: Whether it is turquoise, navy or powder blue, there are so mnay options.

I was so looking forward to the warm weather that Croatia usually boasts about in September. But ten days before my trip, my stomach dropped when I saw that rain was forecast for much of the time I was going to be in seaside towns in Croatia. After dwelling on this issue of rain and wishing  for sun, I finally gave in and decided to pick up some long sleeved options and a rain jacket.

One of the best investments I made was a Rails flannel shirt and my Joseph Siebel sneakers. I wore the Rails shirt the day we drove from our lovely Rovinj hotel, the Monte Mulina, to Pula and then to the Meneghetti winery. OMG! It was so perfect! Stylish, pretty and oh so soft. But, I have to say, the jewelry I wore really, really made my whole outfit come together.

IMG_0029

 

The jewelry in the photo:

The jewelry is all from Sweet Bling. These particular pieces are handmade from Nakamol. Click on the photos to shop the pieces.

WNXA3 ATGWEX404 BUM

Other jewelry for my blue palette:

CBX5458 225  WNXD45 225

RR 5129 Blue 225  turquoise drops 225

The clothes:

Rails 225       verdugo sm  joseph shoes 225

The locations:

The Hotel Monte Mulini in Rovinj Croatia.

Meneghetti Wine Hotel

 

Cheers!

Sweet Bling

 

Boho Bling Style

12 May

A few years back, I was starting to get spring fever so I went to buy something “springy.”  School was getting in the way and an online impulse buy was looking like my best option to curb the burning desire for a shopping spree.

In search of a spring dress, I found a super cute one on a random discount shopping site called Tobi, and just before checking out—I have no idea what came over me—I threw a fedora hat in my shopping “bag.”  What the heck!?  In my defense, the model looked super cute wearing it and for some reason, in that moment, a fedora purchase sounded like just the daring purchase I needed to spice up my otherwise dull spring day.

But let me tell you…Best. Purchase. Ever.  It was so fun to style!  I ended up sporting it all spring and into summer.  It worked with everything!  Casual outfits…short dresses, long dresses, complimented different kinds of sunglasses nicely anddd if I must list a practical component, it may or may not have saved my Irish skin a few extra freckles (you’re welcome mom!).

Ok, so my point here is spring hats are the BOMB.  They’re so fun!  And if you need any more convincing, these photos of our model, Clare,  should do it.

IMG_0018 edit crop

 

 

She had a California-chic-meets-European-model look going as we strolled through the Del Mar Plaza.  Her hats made me think of a European spring break and the beachy jewelry added a gorgeous twist of California that brought me right back home.

Her hat + the casual style of her poncho mixed with the classic elegance of the Rebel Refined Gold Stick Necklace with Crystals and the Rebel Designs bracelets got fashion juices flowing.  In my checkout bag now please!

IMG_0024 Gold Stick neck

 

IMG_0073 bl cr

IN. LOVE.

Happy Spring!

 

 

Clare’s jewelry:

Rebel Refined Gold Stick Necklace with Crystals

Rebel Designs Gold Leather Bracelet with Crystal

Rebel Designs Brown Leather Bracelet with Crystal

 

 

 

 

 

Make a Statement with Bold Printed Pants and Sweet Bling

21 Apr

Today I want to cover one of my favorite trends EVER. I have lots of black and white tops in my wardrobe. I try to be bold when shopping at times, but when it comes down to what I will wear most, it’s black or white tops.

So when bold pants came into the scene, I hopped right on board. I would buy every color in bright denim to style with all of my blacks and whites. And now with every type of print possible on the market, I couldn’t be happier. Bold pants are such a fun way to add a statement to those neutral tops we all have in our wardrobe. With the purchase of even just 1 or 2 printed pants, those neutral tops that maybe seem too boring at times, can be transformed into a outfit for a casual occasion, or a night out.

I will wear printed pants to school, work, breakfast, shopping, a birthday dinner, and basically any time. What has been fun for spring is using these bold prints to step into the season. But of course with the Southern California weather – I will find an excuse to wear these year round.

With styling for this trend I wanted to show off a full look, and very simple to do off of a neutral top. The added elements—printed pants, and of course Sweet Bling.

While a simple tee would also do, here I am wearing a white Anthropologie sweater top by Boudreaux. This wide legged Gap pant has a subtle pinstripe print. The reason to feature this look is that I recommend these pants as a great investment piece in your wardrobe because pinstripe denim actually pairs flawlessly with many colors. So these are a good transition into the printed pants trend if you are more hesitant or looking for a more classic piece. And what ties these pieces together is the Sweet Bling Black Beaded Lariat Necklace. These lariats are still one of my favorite pieces with their canvas string and fun beads.

Rae Grad Card and sweet bling-0207

Rae Grad Card and sweet bling-0245

Rae Grad Card and sweet bling-0216

This next look was selected to show a perfect example of a more bold printed pant. These pants are high-waisted and make the wearer look long and lean with their blocked stripes. These are also a Forever 21 find for those who like to mix investment pieces with bargain pieces as I do. I often where white with these pants but with these perfect gold Hanging Square Earrings, I loved the contrast against this sheer black Nordstrom top.

Rae Grad Card and sweet bling-0173

Rae Grad Card and sweet bling-0181Rae Grad Card and sweet bling-0178

For California cool layering, throw on a denim jacket and sandals. Or for tapered bottom printed pants, try out the bootie trend.

For today’s featured pieces and more California chic jewels, shop with Sweet Bling.

Creer, tener confianza: To believe, to have confidence

27 Mar

My beautiful friend in these photos is from Madrid, Spain.  I’ve only been to Madrid once—when I was 10 years old—but I remember the classic elegance of the city, the strength of the sun in the mid-August heat, and the warmth of its people. Lorea embodies all of these things in these gorgeous photos: beauty, elegance, fire and warmth.

When I asked Lorea if she would model some jewelry for me, she readily agreed.  We chatted about her style and she said she prefers a simple, classic approach to beachy chic. With the breathtaking backdrop and the beautiful Sweet Bling pieces I had to work with, I couldn’t have imagined a better style for my model.

On an unseasonably warm March day, I took Lorea down to the end of my street with intentions of snapping some photos down on the beach.  But as we started playing around, snapping photos on our way down, the views from up on the cliffs in Del Mar were too spectacular to pass up. These 85-degree, early spring days can be such a fashion challenge at times.  It seems too early to be pulling out the bright floral prints of late spring and summer, but certainly too warm for sweaters and dark colors.

I love the simple look Lorea came up with.  Distressed jean shorts from Top Shop and a simple sheer tank from Zara.  Her sunglasses are Fendi—they’re amazing and now I want some.  Sigh.  And what to do about shoes?  Lorea and I had just returned from the mall where she’d purchased a new pair of mint green Nike’s.  I love the playful nature of the spring-colored Nike’s complementing the casual elegance of her top, finished off with the beautiful Sweet Bling jewelry with various shades of blues and greens.  The combination was a match made in heaven.

DSC_0752 E

 

DSC_0787 E

In the first photo, Lorea is wearing the Green Leather and Crystal Wrap Bracelet . In the second photo, she has layered the wrap bracelet with Nyla Convertible Necklace and Bracelet.

My favorite photo of the day was captured by accident.  As I was trying to get a good shot of the Sweet Bling wrap bracelet, Lorea reached up to adjust her sunglasses.   Snap, snap.  I glanced down at the viewing window on my camera.  I had caught this perfect moment where you could see Lorea’s tattoo through a space between her arms—the ocean a breathtaking backdrop—Green Leather and Crystal Wrap Bracelet   so perfectly displayed.

DSC_0772 sm

“Believe”.  I wondered how you say that in Spanish so I asked Lorea.  Creer, tener confianza.  To believe, to have confidence.  It rolled off her tongue like poetry. We snapped a few more.  I love how happy she looks.  Even though she’s half way across the world from home, I could tell the warmth of the day and the beauty of the ocean made her feel at home.

DSC_0833 E

As the sun caught her hair, we captured the Blue Jasper Pendant —displayed so effortlessly with her classic look.

DSC_0821E

I could’ve snapped photos all day, the ocean offering this backdrop that glistened like a freshly finished oil painting.

What a day.  What a day, indeed.

 

Natalie Thompson — Boho Surfboard Artist

3 Mar

“Beachy Boho.”  The carefree 18-year old tosses her head back—a mane of beautiful, sun-bleached blonde hair—and laughs as I attempt to describe her style. She agrees.  The words describe her perfectly.  “I love the 70’s hippy style, bright colors, anything flowy, long dresses.” In a way, her style is more than just flowy dresses and vibrant colors.  It describes her life and her passions.  Her style is part of her story.

For as long as Natalie Thompson can remember, art has also been a part of her story.  It has shaped her and grown her and given her a fiery passion.  Even in preschool, teachers would encourage Natalie to go outside and play.  Natalie would refuse — she wanted to continue working on her art projects.  By the time Natalie was in high school, she had developed a love and a talent for ink drawings and painting.  She began to seek out her art teacher, Karrie Jackson, to learn how she could take her art to the next level.

DSC_0503 edit 5 by 5 180

Jackson’s idea was a unique one.  But given Natalie’s childhood, growing up in the beach culture of San Diego, it made perfect sense.  Natalie was already defining her style as an artist—incorporating bright colors and elements of nature into her pieces—so Jackson suggested she try extending her talents to new canvases.  She suggested Natalie utilize surfboards and skateboards as slates to display her vibrant art.

Natalie experienced instant recognition and success with her work.  Her first painted board was displayed in a consignment shop where she soon got more orders for her surfboard art.  Her boards are now sold at several shops around San Diego including Island Surf in Coronado, Ocean Beach Surf and Skate, The Hotel Del Coronado and Surf Diva in La Jolla.

We style Natalie in some of the newest jewelry available on SweetBling.com. In the first set of photos, she is wearing an ecru mini skirt and cropped tank.  The Aerin Crystal Drop Convertible Necklace by Jamierocks (around her neck and wrist) the Chain and Bead Bracelet with Crystal by Nakamol and Textured Gold Hoop Earrings complete the look.

DSC_0331e 5 by 5 180

board 5 by 7 180

DSC_0316 5 by 7

DSC_0317 5 by 7 180

As Natalie changes outfits, I ask her about the present, about the future, about her wildest dreams and aspirations.  She has answers for all of them. Her glowing confidence inspires me.  Fresh out of high school, Natalie is already a flourishing art student at San Francisco Art Institute.  And it’s no mystery to me that success follows Natalie, just like the sun beams seem to gravitate towards her glistening hair.  In her second look, Natalie features tie-dyed leggings and a black bikini top. Our Black Leather and Lava Bead Wrap Bracelet, the Teal Czech Crystal Bracelet (both by Nakamol) and our Small Triangle Bib Necklace by Zenzii are the perfect Sweet Bling accessories.  I snap a photo of Natalie standing on the lifeguard tower, looking out over the ocean.  It’s like I can see her forming new goals and dreams with her thoughtful gaze.

DSC_0361 edit crop 180

DSC_0368 edit cr 180

In this last photo, Natalie stands in front of a weathered container.  She is truly able to stand out in any setting. Here she is wearing a Hematite Beaded Lariat Necklace and Blue Emerald Cut Earrings, both by Jamierocks.  The Silver Leather Cuff with Blue Beads is by Nakamol.

DSC_0414 edit 5 by 7 180

While Thompson plans to continue painting and selling surfboards and skateboards, her ultimate goal is to open her own surf shop, complete with a line of clothing incorporating her artwork into colorful styles.  And after spending the afternoon with Natalie, I have no doubt she will make this dream happen.  Her passionate, soulful spirit has rubbed off on me.  The sun is now starting to go down.  Natalie, her sister Nicole, and her best friend Hannah, are running on the beach and playing in the surf.  Natalie once again throws back her blond locks as she laughs at something one of them has said.  Her effortless confidence makes me feel like anything is possible.

Take a look at more of Natalie’s artwork on her website: NatalieThompsonArt.com.