Frequently Asked Questions

I don't know about you, but there are some questions that I get asked a lot.  They seem to always come up in conversations with people upon first meeting, or even with those who I have known for a while.  Here goes:

1. What do you start with when you make jewelry?

For those of you who have been reading the blog for a while, you know that I am a jeweler.  When I tell people what I do for a living, they are typically intrigued because they don't know much about how jewelry is actually made.  They almost always ask me about the materials I use and how I order them.  

"What does the metal look like?"
"Is it a big bar of sterling silver that you melt down?"

Well, I order sterling silver and gold mill products. I typically buy sheets and wires that look like this:



There are endless varieties of precious metal mill products you can choose from, so I order what is most appropriate for the project at hand.  Do I know how to melt scrap metal and mill it into a sheet or wire? Yes, and sometimes I do it myself.  However it's typically much faster if I just order the metal already milled in the form I need.

For example, when I made my friend Laura's wedding ring, I ordered 18k gold sheet metal.  With several sessions of cutting, shaping, soldering, filing, sanding, hammering, stone setting, and polishing, I transformed flat sheets of gold into a beautiful ring that Laura will wear forever.

2. You live alone.  Do you cook a lot?

I try to cook once or twice a week.  I prefer making a lot of something and then having leftovers for a day or two, so I don't have to cook every night.  In the winter, I usually make a big pot of soup once a week.  In the summer, it's typically a salad.  My favorite salad of the moment is a kale and cabbage combo:

Kale (make sure to massage so it's nice and tender!)
Chopped cabbage
Chopped green onion
Toasted almonds
Dry Ramen noodles (throw out the seasoning packet and break up the noodles into small pieces)
Salt and pepper
Dress with olive oil and red wine vinegar

(Optional: Add any other veggie goodness you like... I prefer tomatoes and cucumbers)

Simple right?  I will make a big bowl of the kale, cabbage, and onion and keep that in the fridge.  When I am ready to eat I will pull out as much as I need, then add the almonds and Ramen, and dressing.  I usually make enough to last for two large dinner salads and a smaller one for lunch.

3.  You love to run.  How far do you typically go?

Right now, a standard run for me is 3 miles.  I like to add in a longer run about once a week.  Usually that is 5 miles.  However, since Abby and I are running a half marathon in November, those distances are going to start increasing in the future!

I really love to track my runs with an app called Runkeeper.  Runkeeper records your time, milage, and elevation change, so it's a great way to see how you are progressing.  It allows you to rate how you feel during each run and make any notes you feel important, such as weather conditions. There is a paid version that will provide even more detailed statistics, but I have found the free version to be great.  I definitely recommend it to anyone who likes to run!






Thanks for reading!


Yep, I Bought a Fascia Blaster!

"A What?" you say.

A Fascia Blaster

"What is that strange looking thing?" you ask.

Okay, here is the story.  Like so many, I have cellulite.  I have always had it (I first remember noticing it when I was in 8th grade).  I had it when I was a little more plump, and I had it when I was running 30 miles per week.  And again, like so many, I hate it and am very self conscious about it.  Ask any of the AOT gals, when we go on a beach trip, I will to be complaining about cellulite the second I put on a bathing suit.

When I ran across Ashley Black's Fascia Blaster page on Facebook, I was immediately curious.  

A product that really lessens the look of cellulite?  No such thing!

I started to read about the Fascia Blaster and became intrigued. The first thing I learned about was fascia, because I was really not familiar with the term.  Fascia is connective tissue, mostly collagen, beneath the skin that attaches, stabilizes, and encases muscles and organs.  Its like a giant web that runs throughout our body and holds everything in place.  According to Ashley Black, the appearance of fat on your body is affected by the fascia that surrounds it.  If your fascia becomes tight and bound, fat pushes up through the fascia creating dimples in the skin.  Think marshmallows pushing up against chicken wire.

The Fascia Blaster is a clawed tool that you use to massage your fascia in order to loosen and smooth the tissue.  That in turn, lessons the appearance of cellulite.  In a way it's like foam rolling, but it's designed to specifically target fascia.  You just rub the claws quickly and firmly across your skin to make your fascia healthier.  Interesting right?  But does it really work?

I began searching the internet for product reviews and before/after photos, and all were strikingly positive.  People were loving this device, not just for the sake of physical appearance, but users were saying that it was helping with muscle pain, stiffness, flexibility, and so on.

That was enough for me.  I purchased! (Full disclosure: I am a bit of a sucker for stuff like this!  If it helps cellulite even a little, I'm going to try it!)

It took about three weeks for my Fascia Blaster to arrive.  Once it did, I watched a few videos on Ashley Black's website to see how to "fascia blast" and was off to the races.

I was timid at first, because frankly, it kind of hurts.  However once I got used to the sensation, I got a little more bold.  With the boldness, came the bruising.  Apparently, as you break up and smooth bound fascia, it creates bruises.  As time goes by and your fascia becomes healthier, the bruising should stop.   

At this point, I have been fascia blasting for about 6 weeks, fairly consistently.  What do I think?  

I kind of love it!  

I am still experiencing bruising and I hope that stops soon, but I do think that the skin in my "problem areas" is looking smoother.  Is it a miraculous and instantaneous cure for cellulite?  No.  However, I do think it helps and I plan to continue using it.  

Additionally, what I didn't expect is how good it would make my muscles feel.  After a long day working at my jewelers bench, my shoulders feel tight and exhausted.  I have taken to using the Fascia Blaster on the back of my shoulders and neck, and it's amazing.  I can just feel the tension fade away.  I even use it on the arches of my feet (yes, it tickles) and shins (very lightly) after a run.

All in all, I'm glad I purchased it.   

Thanks for reading!

~Claire and contributors were not compensated for this review.

App Review: 7 Minute Workout Challenge

You have probably heard of 7 minute workout apps.  These apps give you a series of high-intensity exercises to perform over the course of 7 minutes, with very little rest in between.  

It's no secret that high-intensity circuit workouts are great for you.  They help you build muscle, strengthen your heart, boost your metabolism, and control your weight.  I'm not a gym person so when I'm not going out for a run, I like to strength train at home (while watching Netflix of course).  I thought I would give one of these 7 minute workout apps a try to see what all the fuss was about!

There are a few of these apps available to choose from.  I went with  7 Minute Workout Challenge.

The initial app package comes with the Classic Workout, which is a series of 12 exercises meant to be performed for 30 seconds each, with only 10 seconds of rest between each exercise.  Once you go through all 7 exercises you have completed a Cycle.  You can set the app to go through the number of cycles (from 1-9) you would like to complete.  

I began my first Classic Workout with 3 cycles, and I must say, I was a fan!  

What I Like: 

  • The app gives you great cues to take you smoothly through each exercise.  It counts down for you to begin, let's you know when you are half-way done with each exercise, and let's you know what is up next.
  • I'm really bad about resting too long between exercises, and that diminishes the effectiveness of the workout.  This app keeps me moving promptly from exercise to exercise!
  • The workouts really are high intensity!  Going through circuits that contain pushups, planks, squats, etc. with basically no rest is hard y'all.
  • There are additional workouts that you can purchase in addition to the Classic Workout.  They are all structured the same as the Classic, but with different exercises.  I tend to get bored doing the same thing day after day, so I really like this feature. 
  • Each exercise is explained in detail within the app, so you can ensure you are performing them correctly.  You can either watch a quick video, look at pictures, or read instructions for how to perform each exercise. 
(screen shot from my phone)

(screen shot from my phone)

  • The app contains features for you to track your progress like an activity calendar and weight tracker.  I fully intend to never use the weight tracker, but by all means, go for it if you want to!
(screen shot from my phone)

(screen shot from my phone)

  • You do not need fancy equipment in order to do these workouts.  The only thing I have needed so far is a chair for tricep dips and step-ups.  I also recommend either a towel or yoga mat to save your elbows when doing those planks!
  • For people who don't always have a lot of time to workout, this app is a great idea.  Even doing one cycle before you hop in the shower is better than nothing.  It only takes 7 minutes!

What I would like to see more of:

  • I hope they keep adding more bonus workouts to the app.  It is important to keep challenging your body with new exercises!
  • While I know these circuits were designed as full-body workouts, I do wish they focused a little more on the lower body because that's where I need the most work.  In the future I may substitute some squat jumps for a round of pushups here and there.

In conclusion, I liked the app.  For anyone looking to add a bit more structure to their strength training plans, I think it's a good choice.

Thanks for reading!


This website ( is for informational purposes only. Consult a physician before performing this or any exercise program. It is your responsibility to evaluate your own medical and physical condition, and to independently determine whether to perform, use or adapt any of the information or content on this web site. Any exercise program may result in injury. By voluntarily undertaking any exercise displayed on this web site, you assume the risk of any resulting injury. and contributors were not compensated for this review.