I just arrived back in the lowcountry this week after spending 10 days celebrating my 25th birthday and my sister's college graduation in Colorado with my family!

This birthday felt different than the rest. I haven't experienced one that felt like this much of a milestone in a while. My last few birthdays snuck up on me. In fact, I don't think I would have stopped to notice the years passing if it weren't for Facebook notifications, friends, and cupcakes at the office to remind me that I was another year older. My years working in New York City all seem like such a blur in hindsight. The passing of time got lost in the urgency of it all: Running to catch the bus, power walking past the crowds on the subway platforms, panicking to churn out designs for the next season, anxiously waiting to get to the front of the Trader Joe's line.

New York City is fast. It knows no chill.

My new life in the South is CHILL.  Like molasses in January. Maybe this birthday just seemed significant because I simply had the freedom and time to reflect on the last year.

Twenty four was a big year for me though. Its really amazing how much can happen in 365 days. If you had asked me last year what my life would look like today, it wouldn't have come anywhere close to resembling my current reality.

On my birthday last year, I had fulfilled my two weeks notice and said goodbye to all of my friends and coworkers at my design job in New York.

All I really knew at that point was that (while grateful for the experience) I wanted absolutely nothing to do with the New York fashion industry. I maintain now that it is a dreadfully sad, soul-sucking industry that will deplete every last bit of joy in your art and make you forget that it ever existed. *End Rant*

The last year was a whirlwind after coming to that conclusion. I traveled more than my vacation days had ever allowed for. I saw so many beautiful places. It all gave me so much inspiration, drive, and clarity.

I began the process of building a brand and building inventory.

I worked in jewelry sales part time, worked on my business during my days off, and studied gemology at night.

I went to trade shows. I never slept. I worked on packaging, websites, social media accounts, and designs. I made jewelry until my fingers were calloused. I read a lot of books. I connected with people. I stopped multi-tasking and started single-tasking. I finished my gemology degree, and learned CAD for jewelry design. I decided to leave NYC.

I found something I hadn't had in years: passion. And mindfulness too.

Now I'm living in the beautiful South again- just minutes away from the ocean. I spend my days making jewelry, enjoying the outdoors, working hard, but always stopping to enjoy the sunset. I used to feel like a robot set on autopilot as I designed, but now creating jewelry and interacting with my customers is personal again! And I love having a more genuine connection with what I make and the people who wear it.

The last year was such a wild and incredible journey, and I'm so excited to see what 25 has in store for me and for Sea+Stone.

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