Heavy Metal: Cradle Jewelry

Instagram is one of my favorite places to discover jewelry and clothing lines that I haven't yet been introduced to. It's a treasure trove of visual stimulation and creative inspiration. On one of my rabbit hole adventures on Instagram, I recently discovered Cradle Jewelry, an indie line based in Portland, Ore., that's helmed by 28-year-old designer Sonia Marie Mitchell. Since discovering her line, I've been crushing on her work, which she describes as being "influenced by European minimalist and avant garde design." As a new fan, I had to learn more about this innovative artist. 

When and how did you launch your line, and how did you come up with the name Cradle Jewelry?

I have been designing jewelry off and on for years and first started selling my pieces in Bay Area boutiques in 2006. I then moved to New York City to work in the fashion industry, but I still accepted commissioned work. While there I took classes with Studio Jewelers Ltd. and at (the now defunct) 3rd Ward. Before I knew it, I was spending almost all of my free time making pieces and had soon designed most of the current collection. 

In pursuit of more space and time, I took a big leap and moved to Portland and launched Cradle. The name Cradle was a name that stuck with me in brainstorming. Cradle is a place of origin, of beginnings, and one cradles something, or someone, that is cherished and cared for. It seemed fitting for a handmade line. 

What’s the aesthetic of the line?

It is very much modern minimalist. I try to create pieces that are elegant but bold and volatile. They can transform themselves to fit any situation. In a world of ever consuming “fast fashion” I wanted to challenge that concept by creating a line that was both modern and timeless.

What are a few of your favorite pieces?

If I had to choose, I would say the Aella and Ara rings are my favorites.

How would you suggest wearing your jewelry?

My pieces can really be worn with anything. They can be dressed up or dressed down. They really pop on solid colors like black or grey but are minimal enough to wear with even the craziest patterns. The necklaces can be worn alone, or are great for layering with other necklaces. One of my newest pieces even comes in multiple chain lengths specifically because I think it looks great in multiple.

How would you describe your personal style?

Like my jewelry, my personal style is fairly minimalist. I wear a lot of black, grey and white. I like to have a solid palate to accessorize with lots of jewelry because that's my favorite part. The only colors I'll really wear are red or right now I have an infatuation with cobalt blue (hence the blue block eye make-up in my recent shoot). I also don't wear a lot of pattern and tend to stick to classic stripes and polka dots. I can't begin to count the number of black ankle boots I own. I live in ankle boots, maxi skirts or black pants, and either my leather or army green vintage jacket.

What’s your favorite brand of denim?

I don't really wear denim but I do own a pair of Cheap Mondays. 

What fashion designer (or beauty brand) are you eyeing right now?

I am obsessed with the Israeli designer Alon Livne. His work is surreal and other worldly and I am blown away by the beauty and strength of his designs.

What’s your favorite skin care item?

I used to work in skin care so this is really tough. I really like the Juice Beauty antioxidant serum but I would have to say my ultimate favorite is simply lavender water. I mix drops of lavender essential oil with water in a cobalt glass spray bottle. I use it obsessively. Lavender is already a natural antioxidant. It moisturizes and cleans your skin and is an anti-stress remedy all at the same time.

What beauty products would we find in your purse?

So many lipsticks! I have every color of lipstick in my purse at all times. Although I mostly wear a bright orangey-red shade. 

Mani or pedi? 

I suppose a pedicure makes more sense. Since I'm a jeweler I would ruin a manicure pretty quickly.

Lip gloss or lip balm?

Balm, I don't even own lip gloss. 

Heels or flats?

Ankle boots.

Ponchos for Everyone


What do you do with a reluctant autumn? It's cold at night, and in the morning, but during the day temperatures warm up to the mid-70s and it makes sense to still be wearing summer garb. So I'm embracing a poncho instead of the usual light weight toppers: sweatshirts, fleeces, or cardigans. Sometimes, you just need a different look and a poncho has an effortless ease that fits most occasions. Although a poncho might conjure images of Boho chic styles with fringe and tassels, there are some sleek choices available as well; even a few that are tailored and crisp. Whether you break out the faded flares, rock boyfriend jeans, leggings, trousers, culottes or even mini skirts, there's a poncho for everyone. 

Beauty Blast: Herbivore Botanicals—Bath Soak

After a pretty stressful summer, I've been on the search for things that are soothing and comforting, with No. 1 being bath remedies. There are a lot of options on the market and plenty that are full of a long list of incomprehensible ingredients. That's not what I wanted. I was looking for something luxurious, fragrant and simple. And I found it in Herbivore Botanicals, an all natural line that I recently discovered and can't rave enough about. (It's also sold in my hometown at Stripe.) 

Based in Seattle, Wash., the company, "sources the finest raw natural materials the earth has to offer, from Japanese Bamboo Charcoal to Brazilian gemstones, to formulate products that are luxurious and all natural by combining essential vitamins, minerals and botanicals to restore skin to its optimum health and vitality."

Not only that, but the products are remarkable. I'll be reviewing a few items in the weeks to come. 

Of the bath and body products, I had a chance to try the middle one pictured above, the Coconut Bath Soak, and it delivers on its promises to, "leave your skin silky soft and smelling of coconut and natural vanilla." I can't recommend it enough. 

Check out the $28 Coconut Bath Soak here. 

Beauty Review: Ultraluxe is ultra luxe

Usually, with a trial size of a beauty product, you really can't get a good read on a line. You honestly have to use it for several weeks to get a good sense on whether it works or not, the changes it made on your skin, and whether you'd purchase it again. But that's not the case with the Ultraluxe line that I recently sampled. This stuff works—literally—on first use. 

As a beauty blogger who has acne-prone skin, I usually can't sample many products and write about them. I have to pass them off to fellow writers at The Penny Rose to review a line. But when Ultraluxe crossed my desk, I was intrigued. The powerhouse brand has a signature line that's created just for acne-prone and sensitive skin, and it's not one of those harsh lines that will strip your skin and leave it raw. This is a line that works. 

I sampled a bunch of the line's favorites including its Mud Lavender Wash, Deep Pore Clarifying Serum, Omega-3 Repair Complex, and Hydrasoft Lotion (among others). These were four of my favorites.

First up was the wash which left my skin soft and refreshed, not tight and dry like many acne washes do. The Deep Pore Clarifying Serum is said to diminish breakouts and oiliness and leave skin with a "healthy complexion." It did exactly that. The Omega-3 Repair Complex was one of my favorites. Usually, acne-prone skin types are urged to never use oils on their skin because of breakout concerns, but this oil puts those ideas to rest. Made exclusively for oily/acneic skin, this oil refreshed and hydrated my skin and actually made it look and feel clear. Finally, the Hydrasoft Lotion did just that: it left my often bumpy, ruddy skin with a soft texture. And no zits. Ever. 

Bottom line: I can't recommend this line enough. Learn more at ultraluxeskincare.com.