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2443 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA, 94115

(310) 463-0650

Designs by Alina: Hand-forged gold, pave diamonds, choice pearls and leather jewelry. Necklaces, bracelets and earrings inspired by life's little luxuries. Modern classic jewelry for the sophisticated woman. Lifestyle blog including design, travel, fashion, family.

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Blog

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.

 

 

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!

Secret Getaway Part I

Alina de Albergaria

Sun? Check.   Sea? Check.   Charm? Check.   

With those three requests checked off the list, our family has agreed on our next travel destination. That little secret will be revealed next month but I am delighted to tell you all about the gorgeous hotel we discovered a few years back in nearby Puerto Vallarta

We decided to leave our trio at home in favor for a romantic getaway for two discovering in the process one of the most charming, romantic seaside hotels we have ever visited. Brides Magazine, Newsweek, Sunset Magazine and Conde Nast Traveler have all given this slice of exquisiteness their peremptory stamp of approval, one of them going as far as stating that it "could almost be heaven".  

And I couldn't agree more. 

What makes Hacienda San Angel so remarkable?  Everything. From the sweeping panoramic hillside/ocean views and sublime colonial architecture, to the impeccable, unpretentious grounds and exceptional dining. The well curated one-of-a-kind furnishings of a bygone era are juxtaposed with all the modern amenities one would expect from a world class boutique hotel, making Hacienda San Angel an unmatched experience.

Originally from San Francisco, the proprietor, Janice Chatterton, discovered her oasis while on vacation nearly three decades ago. Following several years of travel to and from Puerto Vallarta, she decided to relocate to the seaside village permanently settling into Casa Bur-Sus, the home Richard Burton bought for his wife Susan after filming “The Night of the Iguana”. When presented with the opportunity to purchase the adjacent building, Janice jumped at the chance, eventually opening the doors of the Hacienda San Angel and expanding the hotel over the years without compromising an ounce of its elegance and romantic charm.

Janice is gifted with an exquisite sense of style. Her demand for perfection and attention to detail is palpable in her daily interactions with the hotel staff. A bit of an enigmatic character, she surrounds herself with an entourage of Maltese pups which only adds to San Angel's allure.

We stayed in the San Miguel suite which boasted the type of panoramic ocean/hillside views to which Conde Nast Traveler must have been referring when they stated, if my memory serves me correctly, something akin to "the type of place that invites you to feel free of guilt for choosing never to leave the hotel during your entire stay in Puerto Vallarta." 

Stay tuned next month for Secret Getaway Part II.

¡Hasta la próxima!

Santa Barbara Magazine features the World Behind our Jewels

Alina de Albergaria

The magazine is synonymous with lifestyle in this little stretch of paradise we call the American Riviera. Much like its sister publication, C Magazine, which celebrates all things California, Santa Barbara Magazine invites the reader to discover our city's charm via award-winning editorial on people, homes, gardens, architecture, food, wine, history, and arts.

After a brief two year hiatus in San Francisco, and as a longtime subscriber to both magazines, it is an honor to be featured in the Spring issue of Santa Barbara Magazine. Thank you, Santa Barbara, for the warm "welcome home".

Santa Barbara Magazine, Alina de Albergaria, Designs by Alina

I SAW HER STANDING THERE

Alina de Albergaria

Designs by Alina, Alina de Albergaria, Diamonds, Pearls

I knew exactly what she would wear, in fact the image had been ingrained in the depths of my mind for two years. But who?

While our clients clamored to see the scale of our jewels, something that could only be achieved with a model, Designs by Alina wanted a fresh face with strong, exotic features. We wanted someone who looked as sophisticated as she did relaxed and I was confident that patience would pave the way to discovery.

Having just wrapped a photoshoot for Santa Barbara Magazine, my husband and I were dining with dear friends from New York when, as Paul McCartney would say...

🎶  I saw her standing there. 🎶

Our photoshoot with Isabella Thomas and Rebecca Farmer Photography ensued without a hitch, even our poodles managed to sneak in a few candids. 

We are thrilled to offer you ideas for layering your jewels in our lookbook and don't forget to check out our new homepage!

xoxo,

Alina

OM

Alina de Albergaria

Designs by Alina, Alina de Albergaria

Yesterday I awoke to a million thoughts racing through my head like a news ticker: 

Did I send out the right pieces for the photo shoot? Did I order enough gold? Will the children finish their science experiment? Did we sort out logistics for Dario’s soccer tournament this weekend? Will Bernardo’s birthday gift arrive on time? Is it possible to spend enough time with our house guests and still make a dent in my To-Do list?

Stop!

Nothing.

STOP!

Still nothing.

I step away from my studio into our garden, new thoughts unfurling like a carpet in the Medina: The lavender loves the onset of the season, babies springing up everywhere. How stunning are these rolling hills of green velvet? How long have these magnificent olive trees been here? If savasana had a sound, it would resonate like the fountain...

I lie down right then, right there, surrounded by nature's immense beauty with the sun beaming on my face while my so-much-to-do list simmered in the distance.

Eyes close. The rising and falling of my chest. Thoughts fading...

And for a brief moment my mind is still.

In a world dominated by tweets, email, social media, and what lies ahead, an equal dose of awareness and will can help avert the noise.

And in the end, that sense of ease is only enhanced by higher productivity.

OM...