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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!


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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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


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.


Your Valentine’s Day Outfit — Accessories by Sweet Bling

13 Feb

Ok, so admittedly we know that not everyone is lucky enough to be sharing Valentine’s Day with a lover of 15 years.  So how do you strike a balance between the silky red dress that says “15-year-commitment” and your casual street clothes? Well, when it comes to a date night out on the town, you really can never go wrong with black. And while Valentine’s Day might seem like an occasion for a long silky red dress, it really doesn’t have to be that complicated.  So abandon panic mode.  Deep breaths…exhale.  Sweet Bling has got you covered. Open your imagination, head to your closet, and we’ll almost guarantee you’ll be able to pull one of these classic looks together with the help of some Sweet Bling!

LBD—“Little Black Dress”

Ok, so the dress doesn’t necessarily need to be “little,” but honestly, who doesn’t have a black dress hanging in their closet?  And if by chance you don’t, this is perhaps one of the easiest articles of clothing to acquire.   If your LBD has a high neckline, like this one by Nasty Gal, pair with our Sweet Bling Red Slab Pendant . Or forego a necklace and opt for our Ruby Red Teardrop Earrings.  We love the classic elegance of a high black neckline and sparkling red earrings.  Hello romance!

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If your LBD has a lower neckline, like this one from Lulu’s, pair it with our Sweet Bling Red Vivica Necklace. Add some black pumps (we like suede) and you’re ready to go.

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Leather & Sheer—Love is Near!

Sorry, the rhythm was just too cute.  But seriously, hopefully you’ve noticed that black leather pants are in.  I was hesitant to join the troops (did I really have the legs to pull them off?!). But let me tell you: Greatest. Decision. Ever.  Not only are they going to save the day on your stylish & sexy, but-not-too-casual V-day outfit, they also pair great with a denim button down for a more casual daytime outfit. Here’s the look: Black leather pants (or faux leather), sheer black top, cheetah pumps  (yes, we said cheetah!) and this super versatile Aerin Crystal Drop Necklace and our Bling Bling Crystal Earrings. Oh yes!

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If you are into color, another option is to pair the black leather pants with a wine peplum top (see the one we found on The Lust List) and our Sweet Bling Isabella Jewel Necklace and our Chunky Crystal Stud Earrings. This look works with black shoes or some neutral shoes for a bit more pop (we like nude patent leather pointed-toe-pumps OR nude suede pointed-toe-pumps).


At the end of the day, we not only hope that Sweet Bling takes the stage on these classic V-Day looks, we hope you have a night to remember {no red silk dress necessary}.

Xoxo Sweet Bling

Hollywood Awards Season

13 Jan

It’s awards season in Hollywood! I love seeing the glam looks of gorgeous gowns, shoes that rock and jewels that sparkle. At the top of my list for best dressed at Sunday’s Golden Globes were Amal Clooney, Kate Hudson and Emma Stone. Jennifer Aniston and Allison Williams also pulled their looks together quite nicely. Click here for  the Golden Globes Best and Worst Red Carpet Looks. All this fashion talk has me thinking about what to wear to my local Academy Awards Viewing Party, coming up next month. It will be the third year of the ROSCAR party. And no, that isn’t a typo. My friends, Ros and Howard, throw a lovely Oscar party. And, they do a fabulous job making their guests feel like VIPs. The event is a catered affair and even includes a red carpet to welcome us. While I am the Halloween Party Diva, Ros is the Academy Awards/Oscar Diva — hence the name, the ROSCAR party.


I snapped these photos of my model, Alyssa, wearing one of the outfits I’m considering for  the party. The Heritage Shine Full Skirt and the Elbow Sleeve Zip Back Pullover are both from Banana Republic. The shoes are Ivanka Trump and the jewelry is, of course, from Sweet Bling.  The Ivory Vivica Necklace has just enough sparkle to complement the black sweater and metallic skirt.  I layered The Black Leather Crystal Wrap Bracelet (RUSH by Denis and Charles) and the Charcoal Stretch Bracelet for a bit of a rock and roll look.  Ahhh, now I have over a month to wait for the bash!

Let Earth Tones Be Your Sweet Bling Backdrop

15 Dec

This past Thanksgiving felt more like July than November in Southern California.  Here in Del Mar, it was a spectacular 80 degrees and sunny.  The colors of the ocean simply took my breath away.

The next afternoon a few clouds rolled in, offering a magical light over the ocean.  I headed down to the beach, camera in hand, with my adorable model.

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On another note, I’m loving the brand Cloth and Stone from Anthropologie this season.  They have the most delightful chambray button down shirts.  They look like your typical jean shirt, but feel as cozy and comfy as your favorite Sunday afternoon sweatshirt.  My usual go-to is two-toned, deep denim, but I decided to dress my golden-haired model in a grey hue for today.  It seemed to match my mood as the first clouds in several days made me feel just the slightest chill in my summer attire.

The earth tones of her outfit—olive green jacket, dark denim skinny jeans, grey chambray and navy blue Toms—felt so classic and comforting as we headed down to snap a few shots.  I love dressing with stylish basics so that the pop of our favorite Sweet Bling pieces can make their rightful statement.

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This look is simple yet complete.  Classic earth tones mixed with the bright jewels of this statement beauty are perfect for a chillier southern California day.  I love the way the metal in the Tennyson Pear Drop Necklace compliments the olive green of her jacket—and the shimmer of the matching Tennyson Pear Earrings peeking out from behind her curls.  Just lovely.

And not to mention the colors of the sky that felt as if they were painting a warm, yet brilliant canvas behind my blond-haired beauty as we snap, snap, snapped away…


White Beaded Lariat Necklace

9 Sep

White and taupe beads sparkle on this lariat. This tassel like piece by Jamierocks has an easy to wear feel, yet makes a statement. Wear this lariat through the end of the summer, and then begin pairing with your favorite fall colors to pull the tone of the taupe beads and brown leather. Today we used the light color to our advantage by pairing with a rust orange. The beads and sheer fabric of the top love the light of the sun.

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Today’s featured piece is the White Beaded Lariat Necklace. For this piece along with more lariat and tassel trends, check out Sweet Bling here.

RUSH by Denis and Charles Eva Multi-Strand Bracelet

2 Sep

While long necklaces have had our heart lately, it’s time to let a fun bracelet take the spotlight. The layered arm bling trend is still very much happening, so today we bring the Eva Multi-Strand Bracelet into action.

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This bracelet features 11 strands of bronze, charcoal, gold chain, and crystal. My favorite feature is the mix of metallics. This bracelet allows us to mix our metals and color palettes while choosing our outfit and additional accessories.

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The mix of red-ish brown jeans with a black top make this bracelet work. The bronze tones of this bracelet are also the perfect gateway to wear this piece all fall long.

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For today’s featured bracelet and more layered bling, check out Sweet Bling here.

Study Abroad Packing List & Fall Fashion Essentials

18 Aug

Since February, I have been writing the blog and posting the Instagram content for Sweet Bling. I love getting the chance to style and take photos for the social media and being a part of such a fun website. Very soon, I will be going to Nantes, France where I will be studying abroad for the semester. But before I head off, I wanted to share some of my favorite fall fashion essentials and a few items I found to be necessities for my travels throughout Europe. I chose pieces that can transform from day to night and work well for many situations. It isn’t always easy to be fashion savvy and travel light!

Black Felt Hat– I can’t wait to wear this Urban Outfitters hat all around Europe. For travel days, days I don’t have time to fix my hair, or days I want to add a bit of flare to my outfit! The black makes it simple, wear with any color you like.

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Taupe Heeled Booties– Often when I’m shopping, I have a difficult time choosing what color of an item I want! Taupe makes life a bit easier by its ability to go with both blacks and browns. Matching all leathers and colors isn’t a fashion must. Mixed materials makes things a bit more interesting! I have many tall boots, but when I saw these sweet heeled booties at Nordstrom, I had to have them. The heel and low cut is very chic. I will wear these with anything from daytime denim to a LBD.

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School Backpack– I was on a hunt to find a backpack that is practical with lots of compartments, a water bottle holder, and comfort. Those specifications usually eliminate many of the cute, girly backpacks on the market! I was so happy when I found this backpack at Burton, the light gray pattern is soft and neutral.

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Sweet Bling Pearl and Rhinestone Long Necklace– This necklace is essential when packing light. It instantly dresses up simple denim, or finishes a glamorous look.

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Satchel Purse– When traveling around Europe, or in daily life, it’s nice to have your wallet and phone in a safe, close place. This bag is compact for comfort and convenience, and is easy to throw on under a coat if necessary.

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That’s a wrap on my favorite items I’ll be bringing to Europe! Whether you’re a traveling or happy at home this fall, check out these items and they’ll become your new fashion staples.

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