Thursday, December 18, 2008
We recently published an article on eHow.com that went a little something like this:
Shopping at a socially responsible retailer like Aesthetyx- who buys directly from artisans, is a good way to give great gifts while giving back to local and global communities.
With only a little over a week until Christmas, now is the time to shop! Go on a shopping outing and discover your local socially responsible or Fair Trade retailer (search online to find one if you are not familiar with any where you live). If you live in Southern California visit Aesthetyx in Encinitas or Huntington Beach, California. Both of our store locations offer beautiful and unique gifts,jewelry and home furnishings hand-crafted by talented artisans from around the world. Aesthetyx proudly features a number of talented artisans from Mexico including clay artisan Roberto Tirado and tin artisan Cecilio Hernandez. Aesthetyx also offers great gifts such as Acholi Beads. This exquisite bead jewelry is hand-made from recycled paper by the women of the Acholi tribe of Northern Uganda. These beads help these women sustain themselves and their families by providing long-term work and the ability to develop their skills.
Discover the joy of gift giving while giving back at the same time. Give artisan gifts that really give twice - once, when purchased, by supporting the Artisan and again when received by the recipient. You have a choice as a consumer in the modern world of things made in China.
SHARE the artisan stories - most of our artisan products @ Aesthetyx comes with a story card for each artisan explaining briefly their products and how it helps support them. Please ask your local socially responsible retailer for the stories to go along with the hand-crafted gifts you are purchasing. They are extremely appreciated by the recipient!
When you shop with socially responsible retailers like us you are supporting your community and beyond by purchasing gifts (or things for yourself) that support others. There is a sense of peace that takes over during the gift giving exchange, and you will feel it even more when you give back to the world while giving gifts to your dear ones. We hope you will seek out socially responsible retailers (like Aesthetyx) and see what an amazing experience shopping can be.
Shopping and giving with a social conscience - a winning combination, enjoy!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
We will have the traditional offerings of fruits, flowers and chocolate, but we invite you to get creative and bring a photo or memento of your loved one and then an item they would enjoy at our Fiesta. We will also be showcasing artwork by local children from ARTS (A Reason to Survive) a program which supports young people by offering them free art programs. We've commissioned them to design some Day of the Dead tiles that will be for sale the evening of the event. All proceeds from store sales will go back to this ARTS program.
So bring your friends and family to this special celebration and enjoy authentic food, refreshments, and great prizes from the raffle drawings!
We also have a special La Luz candle offer for you. Buy your La Luz candles for your home alter and receive a gift of a travel candle. A gift from us- enjoy! This offer will run through the fall season.
If you haven't seen the new Roberto Tirado sculptures you are in for a treat! They are beautiful. We also just received some new mirrors in all different sizes from Cecilio Hernandez.
We will be holding a holiday sale Thursday 28th-30th on select merchandise. Items will be anywhere from 30-85% off. Get your holiday shopping done with us while supporting local and global artisans.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Saturday, November 1st from 5-8pm
Help us build our community 'ofrenda' (altar) by bringing mementos for your loved ones who have passed. We will have the traditional offerings of food and drink but we invite you to get creative and bring a photo or memento of your loved one and then an item they would enjoy at our Fiesta.
The kids will enjoy our Sugar Skull Decorating Contest and we will also be showcasing artwork by local children from the ARTS (A Reason to Survive) program which will be for sale the evening of our eVent. All proceeds will go back to the ARTS Program.
Bring your friends and family to this special celebration and enjoy authentic food, refreshments, and great raffle drawings!
Friday, October 17, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
On Sunday October 12th, we will be attending the Little Italy Festa- San Diego's largest Italian American Festival and Festa! Visit our booth (#DS15) located on India Street between Date and Cedar Streets, right in the Heart of Little Italy. Enjoy the sidewalk chalk art while you browse! Come down and join in the festivities from 10AM to 6PM.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
This November 1st from 5-8 PM, we will be celebrating Dia de los Muertos with our 3rd annual Aesthetyx Day of the Dead Fiesta! Join in on our very special celebration for our loved ones who have passed. Participate in our interactive community ofenda (alter). Authentic food will be served throughout the event along with lively music. We will be hosting a sugar skull decorating contest for the children as well, so bring the little ones. We have also invited youth artisans from ARTS- A Reason to Survive, a non-profit organization in San Diego. The young artists will be displaying their Day of the Dead tiles for you to buy for your home. See you there!
The 8th Annual Mainstreet Oceanside Dia de los Muertos Festival will be happening November 2nd and we'll be there! Join in one of the largest Dia de los Muertos events in San Diego. Visit our booth (#M17) right in front of the fountain, located on Coast Highway and Pier View Way in Downtown Oceanside. Again, this event takes place Sunday, November 2nd 10 AM-4 PM
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Annika will be signing our best-selling book 'Folk Wisdom of Mexico' with her woodblocks which are featured throughout the book. Annika will also be giving a complimentary woodblock print as a gift with any Lewsader purchase.
This special eVening will celebrate the official beginning of summer complete with pomegranate refreshments, light appetizers, and lots of dulces (sweets).
Annika will be hosting a private collection of her prints that will be available for sale that evening and even have an interactive art project for the kids.
We hope to see you to celebrate the beginning of Summer!
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
We also gave out our 'Viva! Verde' cotton canvas reusable bag as a gift with purchase that night to encourage our customers to stop wasting the paper bags and tissue we use when packing up purchases. We still have more bags left so please come in and ask for one if you make a purchase of $50 or more. We will even donate a quarter to wecansolveit.org everytime you come back to shop with the resuable bag, which represents the cost of the bag and tissue. Also, if you request for us not to wrap your purchase we will also donate a quarter into our wecansolveit.org fund to go to the organization that Al Gore started to solve the climate crisis.
All of us at Aesthetyx are doing our best to be environmentally conscious, here are some things that we are currently doing:
1. Bringing our recyclables home to be recycled (unfortunately our Center does not provide this service).
2. Using environmentally friendly cleaning products which are biodegradable.
3. Not utilizing unecessary energy (just the essentials to operating the store - electricity for lights and equipment).
4. Using kraft paper bags which are recyclable.
**Our goal is to use less of these and encourage our customers to return with our Viva! Verde reusable canvas bags**
5. Recycling the packaging materials that accompany our shipments (reusing boxes, tissue, bubble wrap, newspaper, etc.)
6. Using solar powered lights outside where possible.
7. Using broken items and found objects for artwork (check out in-house artist Robin Nelson's environmentally friendly artwork currently in the store).
If you have any other ideas, comments, suggestions, or thoughts on how we can do more to help the environment please let us know! We all have to do our part to help our planet, after all it is home for all of us.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Special thanks to Farra and Agnes from Mano Imports who helped us serve Sangria and entertain guests. Farra and Agnes bring in amazing textiles and wood work from Guatemala and we are thrilled to showcase some of their treasures in our new space at The Grove. We also really enjoy their company as they love Latin-American culture and artisan work as well as great food and wine as much as we do - Gracias Amigas!
We are excited to be celebrating our new space at The Grove in South Park. We have been at The Grove now for 2 years but recently moved our location which we feel much more at home in. Please come by and visit us if you have not already done so. The Grove is located at the corner of Juniper & 30th Street in South Park, an eclectic and great neighborhood in San Diego. The Grove is open Tuesdays - Sundays 11am-6pm, closed on Mondays. We hope to bump into you down there sometime soon.
P.S. There is a fabulous new Gourmet Mexican Restaurant 'El Camino' that will be opening just across the street from The Grove soon - we can't wait. We will be hosting monthly events in San Diego and we hope to have a few at El Camino once they open. Look out for info in our monthly 'eNews and eVents' e-mail blast.
We are currently working on putting one of our 'Aesthetyx Experience' trips together for San Miguel de Allende and as soon as we confirm the dates and itinerary we will post on our blog. If you are interested in any of our upcoming trip itineraries please send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Viva San Miguel!
On our recent trip we were able to take our friends with us to tour his taller (workshop) and see how his one of a kind creations are made. We began at his tienda where a small fraction of his work available for sale, most of his designs are custom and require being special ordered. Above the tienda is where his extremely talented artisans who specialize in painting work. Jose being in charge of this portion of the business takes great pride in his and his fellow artisans' work. Jose is one of the only artisans who works for Chilo who speaks English so he led our group up the cramped stairway where larger than life examples of Chilo's fine design and craftmanship reside, including the now famous gold mirror that won him the award as Guanajuato's Best Tinsmith. As you reach the top Jose escorts us out onto the terrace where he explained the entire painting process to all of us in great detail. The process is very time consuming and labor intensive but once you see their finished piece there is no question that they produce a high quality product very worthy of the prices they charge. Actually after learning about all of the artistry that goes into every single painted piece everyone in the group had a greater appreciation for their 'artesania'.
After the painting taller we all were caravaned in 3 cars that took us to the main taller where they cut, craft, and weld the tin into the mirrors, headboards, and other decor. This taller is also Chilo's personal 'casa' and a museum of sorts. Every nook and cranny of his house is filled with his award-winning work. As soon as you drive into his carport/front door area you are greated by massive scale mirrors displayed on the stone of the exterior of his home, some mirrors are probably over 10 feet high and perhaps 6-8 feet wide. As you enter his home you find his love for his 'rosas' designs everywhere. His dining room wall is embellished with a 'Marco de Rosas' mirror probabaly 8 feet wide and then bookended by 2 large floor lamps all made from the 'rosas. His bedroom is the 'piece de resistance' with a magnificent natural colored (silver) headboard all hand cut in the most intricate design perched against a cobalt blue painted wall- it was jaw dropping!
After the home tour he escorted all of us upstairs to the taller where his tinsmiths and craftsmen work at oversized tables with sheets of tin penciling out designs that are to be cut and punched. Chilo took time to demonstrate how each one of the 'rosas' are made which he is currently so fond of. Chilo took a sheet of tin and hand drew with a sharpie the shape of petals then hand cut and did this 5-6 times and then punched through the center and utilized several metal tools to make just 1 rosa! Some of his 'Marco de rosas' mirrors contain hundreds so there is no surprise that these mirrors are expensive due to the intense hand-crafting each mirror takes. We were also treated to a demonstration of how they 'oxidize' the tin to make it look 'viejo' aged - they literally will dip the tin in a batch of 'acido' (acid) and keep it out in the sun to achieve this look.
After an amazing demonstration at the taller we headed back to the tienda where Chilo charmed everyone by signing each of the pieces they bought, and not with a black sharpie as I assumed he would - he literally hand-tooled a piece of tin for each person and wrote their name and did a unique design for each one with his own signature - quite a special treat. Now that's a great example of the Mexican artisan pride and hospitality we love so much!
Thursday, March 6, 2008
We had a growing interest list for our trips prior to our first one and now we have a waiting list -so for those of you who might be interested in one of our upcoming 'Aesthetyx Experience' itineraries, here's a sneak peak of some in the works, dates and details still to be confirmed:
*No. 2 -San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico - Tuesday, May 27th - Sunday, June 1st
*No. 3 - Tlaquepaque, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico - Friday, June 20th - Wednesday, June 25th
*No. 4 -Tlaquepaque, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico - Friday, August 15th - Wednesday, August 29th
*No. 5 -Tlaquepaque, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico - Tuesday, November 4th - Sunday, November 9th
If you have an interest in a particular itinerary please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and advise which number/s you are interested in and the names and numbers in your party and we will add you to the list for that/those itinerary/ies.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Our first stop today was to the Cathedral which as you drive into the Centro you are greeted by its' amazing limestone structure, gorgeous dome, and spindles. Don Abel showed us the gorgeous Cathedral and was able to get us access to the sacristy where groups are usually not allowed, this room is where the clergy changes and so does the Pope when he visits. The most amazing part of this room is the gorgeous art from the 1600's done by some of the most famous painters from Spain including Murillo. The room is also filled with gorgeous hand-carved dressers that surround the room, it is like a small museum, filled with the incredible paintings and other stunning pieces of porcelain pottery and woodwork.
Our second stop was to the 'Palacio Gobierno' to view the famous Orozco mural of the famous priest, Miguel Hidalgo, the Father of Mexican Independance. He holds a torch light in his fist. After so many years, it continues to be a beckon or warning. The magnitude of this mural is amazing, it is on the ceiling of a section of the building where you walk upstairs a limestone staircase. The murals are dark but somehow simultaneously moving once you learn what he trying to depict.
Our next stop was to Teatro Degollado, the Opera House, which as you approach is a stunning building of grandeur made of limestone whose pillars greet you as you approach, when you enter there is a lovely foyer of marble floors, and beautiful crystal chandeliers. We unfortunately could not go inside as they were practicing but we were able to hear the orcheastra practicing, quite a treat. We walked behind the Opera House where a modern bronze frieze 'Frisa de Los Fundadores, decorates the back side. This 68 ft. sculpture depicts Guadalajara's co-founders facing each other on opposite sides of a big tree.
Our next stop which by far I think was one of the most memorable was to the Hospicios Cabanas, this domed neoclassic colonial building was designed and financed by Bishop Juan Ruiz de Cabanas, the purpose of the 'Guadalajara House of Charity and Mercy' was to be a home for a sick, helpless, and homeless. It served as an orphanage during the 70's but the building needed to be restored so they moved the orphanage into the suburbs, restored the building and changed its purpose. It now houses the 'Institudo Cultural Cabanas' a center for the arts. The inside houses one of Jose Clemente Orozco's famous murals- his work could be described as dark, fiery, apocalyptic. Orozco painted the famous mural in the chapel from 1938-1939 where the central dome his 'Man of Fire is wreathed in flame, and appears to soar into a hellishly red-hot sky. His murals depict his concept of Evolution and Revolution and contain many optical illusions. Our guide, Ernesto, explained every panel in great detail and made sure we saw all of the optical illusions, which were not discovered until the 60's. Although very dark the murals are captivating, especially once you understand his thought process.
We strolled through the Plaza Tapatia and then headed to the Mercado Libertad which was built in 1958 and is the largest market in Mexico. After finding some great buys in the mercado we headed out to the Vallarta area to have a comida at one of the favorite restaurants in Guadalajra, 'El Sacromonte' where the charming spanish building greets you and the festive decor and piano music invite you to enjoy a long lunch - which we did. Everyone enjoyed the unique strawberry quesadillas and sangrita.
After a long day of touring everyone was ready for a siesta and then we enjoyed a relaxing dinner at Quinta Don Jose's Mexican & Italian restaurant 'TlaquePasta'.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Our second stop was to visit the famous Ortega Family who are renowned for their 100% hand-crafted 'betus' technique using simple 'barro' (clay) to create the most colorful, whimsical, surreal art of imagination. This technique has been passed to 5 generations of the Ortega family, 2 of which currently run the operation - the older 'hermano' (brother) Gerardo is the 'Gerente General' and then the other brothers Oscar and Eleutario oversee production and painting. The sons, daughters, nephews, and nieces who range in age of 16-30 work in production, design, and painting. It is truly a family operation. Their home in Santa Cruz de las Huertas is one in same their taller. We were immediately greeted by a small 'perro' (dog) and then once we walked through the casa were greeted by another dog and a very boisterous 'pato' (duck) who really wanted some attention! Everyone marvelled in the process which they showed us started from the fine clay powder which they mix with water to create the clay which ends up a very dark brown color, then they mold all of the individual pieces needed to create a design and then piece them together, then the design is left to dry in the sun for 2 days, then they paint the designs and finally fire them in the kiln. We were fortunate to view the sons and nephews all sitting at a table painting everything from 'gallos' (roosters) to 'sirenas' (chickens), everyone left with a piece of Ortega to take back home.
Our last stop was to visit the Jimon Family whose work is featured in the book 'Great Masters of Mexican Folk Art'. This family has passed down the art form of 'brunido' (burnished) pottery down 5 generations and we were so fortunate to meet 3 of them on our visit. Agustin Jimon's grandparents started the family tradition and Agustin who is most likely in his 80's now has passed this tradition to his sons Florentino and Zacarias who now primarily make most of the pottery, Agustin still molds the clay into forms. The Jimons work with natural clay which they mold into everything from plates to gourd shapes to bells, ornaments, large pots, and much more. Their gorgeous hand-painted designs are done in beautiful neutral colors which feature everything from birds, fish, suns, and small snapshots of local life. We have carried their charming Christmas ornaments and bells in our store and will continue to do so this holiday season.
After a great morning of meeting amazing artisans we were very hungry and headed to lunch at our favorite restaurant in Tonala 'El Arandense' who specialize in 'mariscos' (seafood) and our favorite thing being their 'coctel camaron' (shrimp cocktail) which is very different than the shrimp cocktail we are used to in the states - it is muy delicioso! After satisfying our hunger we strolled through the shops in Tonala and then headed back to our B&B for a margarita and to get ready for dinner.
After cocktails at the bar we strolled 2 blocks to town for dinner at one of our favorite spots - Fonda Adobe, a restaurant with a menu not to dissappoint including Tuna Tacos Al Pastor to great Filets to a delicious Cinnamon Mole Chicken. Fonda Adobe is also attached to Adobe Diseno, one of the most innovative and dynamic stores in Tlaquepaque owned by creative visionary Martha Figueroa and David Luna.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Saturday, January 5, 2008
*What: Celebrate 'Dia de Los Tres Reyes Magos' (Three Wise Men) Happy Hour Toy Drive Event, sponsored by Los Abuelos Tequila
Where: Alfonso’s of La Jolla
When: Monday- January 7th from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Please bring an Unwrapped Toy
to Benefit the Emmanuel Orphanage in Tijuana
What: Cuban Nights
Where: Le Papagayo
When: Thursday -January 10th from 7-9pm
Enjoy Latin Cuban Guitar Band 'Lluna Lena' and select from an authentic Cuban menu.
What: Our FIRST 'AS IS' PARKING LOT SALE!!!
This is an incredible opportunity to pick up some great DEALS on merchandise that might be slightly scratched, dented, or slightly chipped but not very noticeable. For those of you who are handy or creative this is a great chance to pick up unique items that you can fix yourself or use to make something creative of your own!
When: Saturday - January 12th starting at 9am until the store closes at 6pm
What: Hillcrest Farmer's Market & Open Aire Bazaar
Where: Normal Street between Lincoln & University, Hillcrest
When: Sunday - January 27th from 9am-1pm
Enjoy the best farmer's market and Open-Aire Bazaar in San Diego
Everything from amazing organic produce, to delicious food, beautiful flowers, worldly treasures, and more!