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2443 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA, 94115

(310) 463-0650

Designs by Alina:  Handcrafted jewelry fabricated with gold, pave diamonds, and choice pearls for the sophisticated modern-classic woman. Beauty and inspiration forever entwined. Lifestyle blog on design, travel, fashion, family.

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A few musings from my travels and experiences that inspire me as well as what's new for Designs by Alina.

Blog Travel, family, interior design, jewelry design and fashion.

 

 

Milieu

Alina de Albergaria

A mere glance at the exquisite pages of Milieu Magazine and one can see why, in 2013, Founder and Editor in Chief, Pamela Pierce, chose to venture into the world of paper when other home and garden publications were facing their imminent demise. It was so clear to me in fact, that at the end of my very first date with Milieu I was left wondering how I might immortalize those luscious pages in a hardcover coffee table book.

A style magazine like no other, Milieu showcases magnificent homes and gardens that have yet to be published, peppering in unique objects which round out many of its stories. Leaving no stone unturned, in the world of Milieu even the advertisements transition seamlessly between pages, rendering them an asset to the magazine's breathtaking editorials.

When the magazine inquired about featuring our Perfect Duo Tahitian and Champagne rings in their Holiday Gift Guide I was naturally thrilled, but when the Winter 2018 issue arrived, I was completely entranced by the alluring cover.

If you appreciate timeless elegance you will fall in love with Milieu. For more information visit milieu-mag.com.

Images courtesy of Milieu Magazine. Special thanks to Pamela Pierce for featuring our jewels and to Jean Brooks for presenting me with my first issue.

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You've Come a Long Way, Baby!

Alina de Albergaria

In a world dominated by negative press, it doesn't hurt to step aside for a moment and celebrate how far we have come.

A few years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963, Virginia Slims cigarettes were marketed to young professional women using the slogan "You've come a long way, baby." 

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Little did the creators of that ad know just how far women in the US would evolve: from those traveling into space, to those on the Supreme Court, women CEO's and, of course, women running for President. The irony in that ad, of course, is that eventually both men and women would continue to evolve into non-smoking entities educated on the harm of nicotine.

While the progress we have made in medicine, women's rights, and science is not tantamount to how fashion, art, and design have evolved, these creative endeavors are visual testaments to change. Today we celebrate color blends like pink with orange or blue with black which may have been frowned upon in years past. There is no need to adhere to arbitrary fashion rules like not wearing white after Labor Day or mixing gold and silver jewelry.

Similarly, interior designers are have become increasingly emboldened by weaving in the old with the new. A sucker for nostalgia with an eye on the road ahead, I wholeheartedly embrace this design approach because it is precisely the juxtaposition of furnishings that fills in the narrative of a family's life. With our home almost done (is it really ever?) our dining room was begging for a chandelier. I knew I wanted a brass fixture with a modern sculptural twist. That is where the knowledge ended and the search began. It took several months before stumbling upon the perfect one while searching for an artifact to enhance our bedroom console. 

 
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I love the bold statement it makes without blocking the view. But what is truly priceless is that it looks like jewelry, successfully weaving Designs by Alina into our family narrative. I hope that someday, along with the many pieces that were passed down to us, it will continue to write the family story our ancestors penned.

Save The Date

Alina de Albergaria

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Life unfolds as a series of events, all of which shape us into who we are. Today I find myself in a state of daily gratitude, indebted to my community for so much of life's bounty. Contributing to that feeling of requital is the sense of awareness I gained from living abroad and weathering the storms of life, both of which inspire me to give back. In addition to participating in nonprofit fundraisers across the country, Designs by Alina is happy to announce that in Santa Barbara, where we are based, the collection is available exclusively through nonprofit collaborations and by appointment.

Next up? SBCC Promise

I agree wholeheartedly with Thomas Jefferson who stated that "no other sure foundation can be devised for the preservation of freedom and happiness than education". In an effort to uphold that value, we helped raise thousands of dollars for SBCC Promise last year and are honored to participate again this year. SBCC Promise is committed to providing two years of free education to local students. 

TWO years of FREE education at the TOP Community College in the nation!

Please join us and several local designers at The Mill, one of Santa Barbara's hippest locales in the Funk Zone for some pre-holiday shopping. We're keeping it local for a wonderful cause...now that's a promise!

Four Seasons Punta Mita

Alina de Albergaria

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When everyone gets a say...

We have raised our children to be independent thinkers, a creed they have gingerly embraced since early childhood. Not to say that giving everyone a voice doesn’t come with challenges, still we are hoping to have sown all the right seeds for them to flourish someday on their own —that day threatening to present itself sooner than later.

In the early days, our children were eager to uncover a new adventure anywhere we took them, from Morocco to London, New York to Rome, Harbor Island to Miami, Paris to Barcelona, Mallorca to Buenos Aires.

 
 

Today, each member of our wanderlust trio is keen on spelling out exactly what they perceive to be an ideal travel destination while we carve out a list of our own. Several weeks in the planning we narrowed down our choices to a tropical beach vacation in a foreign country that might accommodate most items on our family’s wish list like lots of R&R, fishing, snorkeling, exploratory adventures, daily exercise, and fine dining with a dose of well overdue pampering.

Our search ended with the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita.

Located on the northernmost crest of Bahía de Banderas and a forty-five minute drive from Puerto Vallarta, the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, sits on one of the world’s largest natural bays. While its understated elegance says "Four Seasons," the seamless juxtaposition of tropical landscape and Mexican art remind you that you are on the beautiful Nayarit Riviera coastline.

Setting the tone of our entire stay, we were greeted upon arrival with tequila infused homemade lemonade and a personalized tote of Mexican sweets for our youngest daughter. As with most Four Seasons resorts, the hotel staff continued to greet us at every turn but in Punta Mita they did so mostly by name adding a personal touch to our visit.

We love to immerse ourselves in local culture which can prove a bit challenging in a hotel where everyone's default language is English. But once we let the team know that we wished to brush up on our Spanish, they made a genuine effort to remember to speak to us in their native tongue.

A welcome note, fresh fruit, lemonade and a gift for the children adorned our beautifully appointed rooms, one with a king bed and three large beds for the children in the adjoining room. More like a beautifully curated mini-jungle, the garden view offered front row seats to nature’s play where iguanas swung from branch to branch (yes, you read that right, iguanas, not monkeys) to the orchestral melodies of cuckoos and woodpeckers. 

Coexisting in perfect harmony with a stunning backdrop of the Pacific Ocean, the hotel’s infinity-edge family pool made for a dramatic splash and glorious cotton-candy sunsets.

 
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For those seeking a more secluded, romantic experience, The Tamai pool complex boasts four pools and 10 private cabanas in a quiet tropical setting.

Our family enjoyed many of Punta Mita's offerings like zip-lining (125m above sea level), fishing, spear fishing, paddle boarding, snorkeling, tennis, and last but definitely not least, flyboarding, a new adventure that our ten-year-old embraced with gusto and teenage son mastered on his very first attempt (I had a blast but barely made it a foot above water.)

Specializing in Asian cuisine with a Mexican twist, Aramara for dinner and Ketsi (Mexican) for lunch were family favorites among the resort's five restaurants. A minor drawback is that the casual Ketsi, under a thatched palapa rooftop with a magnificent view, is treated a bit too formally, especially on very hot August days. Swimsuits are frowned upon even for children, so ladies, bring plenty of cover ups or opt to lunch at the pool or beachside. Dress code aside, the cooks made certain that our lunch included our son's catch from an off-site spearfishing adventure earlier in the day (fishing at the resort is catch and release only).

Off site, my husband and I enjoyed the most magnificent dining experience at Restaurant Sufi, a few minutes from the hotel at the Playa Fortuna Ocean Club (where my daughter and I signed up for tennis lessons). The craft cocktails, lobster and Sufi salad were as exquisite as was the breathtaking setting overlooking the bay. 

Sí Sushi and Sí Señor in the village center, as well as Sea Breeze at the St. Regis, all within five minutes from the hotel are wonderful dining choices for the whole family.

 
Sunset dining at SÍ Sushi

Sunset dining at SÍ Sushi

 

What sets the the Four Seasons Punta Mita apart from other tropical resorts is the exceptional level of service and attention to detail. The grounds and all public areas are impeccably maintained. The housekeeping and turndown service were exceptional (the better part of two hours daily were spent on those tasks). The pool crew will clean your sunglasses, pamper you with ice cold towels, homemade frappuccinos, smoothies, house lemonade, and ice cream. A state-of-the-art fitness facility with an endless supply of cold towels and water render it difficult to find a reason not to incorporate exercise into your vacation. Still, for those who can't pass up a good massage, the Apuane Spa promises "an oasis of serenity in scenic Mexico". 

 
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Heaven on Earth with something for everyone.

Want more? Visit our blog post on the breathtaking Hacienda San Angel in nearby Puerto Vallarta. Here's a glimpse to whet your appetite....

San Miguel Suite at the Hacienda San Angel - photo courtesy of Hacienda San Angel

San Miguel Suite at the Hacienda San Angel - photo courtesy of Hacienda San Angel

Dear Roberto and Ebba...

Alina de Albergaria

I have a difficult time making promises unless I am certain I will keep them. And because I seldom know what the future holds, those promises are few and far between. My better half thinks that I suffer from commitment anxiety and says he is amazed that I even said “yes” to him all those years ago. 

 
Our daughter, age two, in the Venezuelan Andes 
 
 

From the moment she uttered her first word, our eldest daughter asked for a dog. It seemed remote enough so we promised to give her one when she turned five. But that was before there was a new baby on the horizon. And when her fifth birthday arrived, her audacious little sister was crawling around our three-story townhouse without a care in the world, her brother teasing and mom panting not far behind. It was clear that a new pup was no longer an option, hence six became the new five. But by then the thought of a dog racing past three kids in the stairwells stirred up so much angst in me, that I froze when asked again about a pet, only to follow up with a feeble someday, afraid that I might again falter on a future promise.

Then he stepped in. My logical, charming husband, the one who time and time again led his team to victory, the one who always knows how to inspire. He hinted that someday with no end in sight was like me trying to chase the Energizer Bunny. It's in our nature to covet a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel. Our daughter needed to know when: a month, three months, a year. It didn’t matter, but a concrete date was in order. A million obstacles came to mind. So what did I do? What any commitment phobe would do, of course: I got her a puppy...

The very next day.

Yes. The idea of committing to an impending date was so daunting, that surprising her right then and there became more palatable. Was it stressful? Yes. Did I have to chase three kids and a dog all over kingdom come to avert disaster? Yes. Would I have had it any other way? No. 

 
 

Cut to a few years later...

Our favorite Swedes, Roberto and Ebba announced, much to our dismay, that they would be moving to North Carolina. When Ebba asked when we might come visit, that familiar feeling rendered me silent. My heart was missing them already but my head was a spinning calendar full of dates, flights, obligations and destinations. Of course I wanted to see them, but the thought of committing to a far flung date made me feel as though I had entered a no fly zone. Ebba took notice and announced, somewhat in jest at their farewell party a few weeks later, that she hoped for everyone to visit except, wink-wink, me. I thought: Why couldn't I just say “sure, anytime” like everyone else does? Because I am not everyone else and that's okay too. 

So, dearest Ebba and Roberto, our family bids yours farewell and wishes you lycka till, but not before letting you know that Bernardo and I have tickets to visit before Halloween rolls around. Are you ready?!!!

Yes, age has a way of seeing us through life with a calmer slant, each decade allowing us to just "be" without having to explain or quantify. Embrace your quirks and choices, but most of all embrace those you hold dear.

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Puss Puss beautiful family, see you soon!