Saturday, November 23, 2013

Christmas Giveaway 2013!

Off on a Whim is holding their yearly Christmas Giveaway Contest!
These three wire-wrapped Christmas tree ornaments will be given away to three random winners!

Entry is easy! Follow the link to Rafflecopter (an outside application designed to keep track of entries so that a fair winner is chosen!), and follow instruction. Only one step is necessary to enter:
LIKE Off on a Whim on FB! The rest is optional for additional entry points!

Contest closes at midnight on Dec. 9th, 2013, Osaka time!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 13, 2013

An Extraordinary View

Wednesday saw me taking a trip over the ocean to visit my family and daughter in the States. The weather gods were good, giving me one of the most beautiful days I've had yet for flying. Clear blue sky on departure, almost no turbulence, and less than 10 hours in the air. 

The airline [Delta] changed their luggage allowance in June, a shock since for the past 2+ decades of living here we've always been allowed 2 suitcases, suddenly getting downsized in half was a surprise. But, the flight food was very good, I ate everything, and the entertainment system was very well set up. 

Despite announcements to turn off all electronic devices, I couldn't help snagging a couple of quick pictures of the view from above the clouds. Views like this are amazing and put me in a surreal place, that little bit of time when you can pretend you really are on top of the world and all is going to work out.

I was surprised to find I was on the right side of the plane to see Mt.Fuji, clear, tall, above the clouds, in full glory and beauty. I think this is one of the most amazing views I've ever had of the mountain, and believe me, I've had many, including the half a year I lived right next to it.

S this trip has started off quite well, and I'm thinking the break will do me good!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Social Media: Trying to Do it Right!

My long-time friend and international best-selling author, Taylor Stevens, recently sent out a newsletter discussing How to Use Social Media Right. AND, Off on a Whim was very pleasantly surprised to be featured as one of the 'They're Doing it Right!' examples :)

(Taylor's Munroe series at present has three published books and one on its way to publishing. The rights to turn her first book into a movie have been purchased by James Cameron, cool!!)

Here's what Taylor has to say:

The Thing About Social Media...

When I do writer events I’m often asked about social media and how best to use it so I thought I’d give you an overview of my thoughts on the subject.

Advice on which sites to choose, how often to post, why one venue is better than the other, etc., is endless and, in truth, these are personal decisions based on each individual’s preferences and there’s really no right or wrong. Where I do often see writers and/or those in other industries flub their social media opportunities is in how they interact with their online communities and in what they say. I’m by no means a social media expert but some of these mistakes are pretty basic and I see them so often I can’t help but offer my two cents. 

I think one of the biggest underlying misperceptions about social media is that somehow it’s a magic potion that will sell lots of widgets—that just by being online and gathering Facebook likes or Twitter followers that these numbers will somehow equate into sales—or that by having a page or a website the book or product will be quickly and easily discovered. I wish this was true, but it’s not. Social media is a tool that authors are expected to utilize in promoting their work but like all tools, its usefulness is only as good as the skill with which it is utilized. Poorly used, social media can be worse than not being online at all. 

Authors and small businesses often seem forget that the social networks are sites where individuals with like-minded passions connect over points of interest (friends, family, fan clubs, hobbies, or what-have-you) not to have products shoved in their faces. When they ignore or forget this, they become another version of the same kind of spam that we all hate. When it comes to authors specifically, I see this in the form of multiple “by my book” updates followed by numerous links to their books, followed by links to every single positive review ever written about their work. 

If you’re doing that, stop. If you’re just getting into social media, avoid it. It’s a mistake to confuse social media with advertising. The key word in social media is “social.” Social media is about genuine interaction, it’s about giving not getting. If your expertise involves how to take care of your pet goldfish and you are passionate about goldfish, then for goodness sake, let your online interaction be about goldfish. Those who are likeminded will find you and connect with you and that connection will be based on something authentically you and authentically them.

If you watch the social media accounts of best-selling authors, you’ll notice that they rarely, if ever, do “self-promotion” stuff. Instead they post news, they post personal thoughts, or quirky things that they’ve discovered and enjoyed. In essence those who really have a handle on their online “magic,” interact with their online contacts as friends not dollar signs and they do this because they are genuinely having fun with their fans and readers and aren’t there under some other guise or pretense. They are REAL and their audience loves this. And that’s what successful social media is really all about.

Think about it: If individuals have connected with you online, either a) they already know who you are and have their own opinion of your products and all you’ll accomplish with “buy my stuff” behavior is annoying them, or b) they connected with you online to increase their own exposure which means they don’t care at all what you do or what you write and nothing you link to is going to change their minds. The reason individuals connect with you online is because they want to connect with YOU, the genuine you. So be genuine and be you. They stick around when you offer them value, and because value means different things to different people, this is an ever-evolving target—but one thing value definitely is not is you shoving your products in people’s faces over and over. When you write your book about how your pet goldfish solves murder mysteries, let your friends and readers know about it—just don’t shove it in their faces every single day. 

A very good example of someone who does social media right, who gets sales without ever advertising for them, is my friend at Off on a Whim. She builds custom-made jewelry using leather (or silver) and power stones. [Power stones is a term very familiar in Japan, where she lives, and for which we don’t have a direct equivalent in English, but essentially her pieces use stones ranging from common to precious that have specific meanings and are built around whatever a person might need in his/her life.] The Off on a Whim Facebook page generates income and business, but her primary reason for putting the page together was as a way to share what she loves and to have fun. This genuineness comes through and creates a visibility she could never get by constantly posting about products for sale.

The golden rule of online interaction is this: it’s not about you or your ego, it’s about making a genuine connection with those who want to interact with you. When you’re in desperate need of validation and you want to post that awesome review you just got, think twice before you copy/paste/share because you’re posting for the wrong reason.

* * *
The thrill is in the chase; to prove to myself what I am capable of.

--TaylorFind Taylor's FB page here: Taylor Stevens, Author
Find my Etsy Shop here: Off on a Whim Jewelry

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Superman: Man of Steel -- A Biased Review

By Erinn from Off on a Whim: part-time teacher, part-time jewelry designer, full-time mother

Be warned! There may be spoilers.

I told my dad, if he wanted to get an honest review of Superman: Man of Steel, he'd better not ask me, cause I'm biased and will have nothing bad to say about it.

But, the truth is, I really loved the movie. I thought they did a good job. 

Before going to see it, I was worried about a few things: 

  • The re-telling of the story, messing up the storyline from past versions, and who wants to sit through ANOTHER re-telling??
  • Henry Cavil as Superman? Christopher Reeve can never be replaced, Brandon Routh did a very good job, Tom Welling pulled it off as well, and don't forget Dean Cain, why introduce another new face??

And I was under the impression that he reveals himself as both Clark Kent AND Superman to the world, which would be a major story change from the original, I wasn't too keen on it. But this turned out to be my own misunderstanding of the movie's story line. 

I was very happily surprised that:

  • The re-telling of the story didn't focus too much on the re-telling, but it was woven into the movie through memories.
  • Henry Cavil as Superman totally rocks. The looks, the size, the muscle, the hair...yah, I can go with it. Christopher R. will always be the best, but Henry Cavil, very good! 
  • I loved that there was more in-depth and plausible explanations for Krypton's destruction, for Zod's incarceration, and why he comes to find Cal-El.
  • Russel Crowe as Jor-el! Really cool! And Kevin Costner as Jonathan, loved it! 

  • While my brother begs to differ, I loved Amy Adams as Lois. So she isn't totally HOT, or she wasn't portrayed that way, I loved it cause why does every female lead have to be hot? Superman still fell for her, as he always does, as he always will, and she is down to earth, normal, intense reporter strong woman. 

  • People have complained about the destruction in the movie. So yes, there was a lot of destruction, but what else are you going to get when super heroes and super villains are fighting it out in a congested city full of glass buildings?? I like my superhero movies full of great fights and stuff getting destroyed, and I'm mature enough to realize this really only happens in a movie.
  • General Zod: I actually really liked him as the villain. And his crew, they were believable, they were bad, they were evil. Very good. 

My dad asked me what my favorite scene in the movie was, and while he was sure it would be when Clark comes out of the ocean half undressed and in search of some clothing... it was actually the scene when Superman attacks the evil Kryptonian in full anger and rage for daring to lift a hand against his mom, and he's yelling something along the lines of 'Don't f**k with my Mom!' Yeh, as a mom, I really get it! Sons going to your defense and all that, totally cool!

So, no, I have no regrets about spending $60 plus gas plus snacks plus parking to see the movie, and when it hits DVD, it shall be on its way to my house! 

PS. Did anyone catch the Lexcorp trucks??

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

500 Fan - 2 Year Anniversary Giveaway!

Celebrating Off on a Whim's 500 Fan and 2-year Anniversary, we are having a giveaway for three pairs of these fun, funky, trendy hoop earrings with gemstone chips!

Entry is simple!! Follow the instructions below! You only have to be a fan to enter, but there are a few ways to improve your chances by sharing with your friends, following us on Pinterest or Instragram.

Good luck and have fun!

PS. you can also find us on Etsy

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 12, 2013

Birthday Parties!

Once in awhile Off on a Whim takes a break for stuff like birthday parties!

Last night some of my besties came over with food, drinks, presents and party spirit, ready to celebrate my friend's son's 8th birthday...and...since half the crew were absent for my birthday, I got a bit of cake too!

Parties are always funner with lots of good food...

... and lots of good drinks! ... Like, mojitos, or pina coladas, or something with rum in it!

And of course birthday parties for little boys need special birthday cakes!

And Little Boys need time to play!

But I made the mistake of giving them a can of spray string ... never again!

And as always, Little Boys are fascinated by things with wheels!

And I lucked out with a few more birthday presents :)

Thank you my lovely friends for making me feel special.. again! You guys never fail!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Interviewed! By Fran-Japani!

I had a chance to do this interview for Fran at Fran-Japani. She actually asked me about a month ago, but life had its own plans with getting my daughter ready for moving overseas, and I finally finished the interview last week! I have to say, her intro made me smile and is leaving me with a happy feeling today! Thanks Fran for the opportunity and the really nice things you said!

Click the link to read the interview!
Interview by Fran-Japani with Off on a Whim

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Silver Lining

A few months ago my daughter commissioned a piece from me, her birthday gift to her BFF. Sooo...

Her BFF came over and chose out the stones, arranged the pattern and basically created the entire design herself. It was a rather eclectic choice of colors, but when they were all put together, the grand finale was beautiful.

Gray leather was used to line it, so it was named Silver Lining:

I also tested out the Etsy Pricing Variation function when I listed the piece, giving options for how many wraps the customer wants, from single up to 5x. I like being able to do this as often customers request more or less wraps of a style they like. 

Contact Off on a Whim for more information on this lovely piece!

Find Off on a Whim at these places:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Zombie Apocalypse?

Too much Walking Dead maybe?
The color suits my complexion and gives great coverage, as well as being a camouflage, just in case, you know, any zombies decide to come sniffing around. The mint scent might put them off too, or at least mask my living human blood scent.

But in all seriousness, I got an awesome Lush mask from my baby sister for my birthday, very minty, very refreshing. I normally run away from Lush stores, you can smell them half a block away, and with a sensitive nose and stomach, I avoid them at all costs. But this mask is perfect, the smell isn't so overwhelming that it overpowers every thought in my mind.

And of course, I had to model off my latest Off on a Whim creation:
Angel, Grief and Support Loss Bracelet

Available now in my Etsy Shop for $23.00. Blog readers can use this code for free shipping on this item:


Anyway, my skin feels much cleaner, smoother, and refreshed. Too bad the mask needs to be used up by September, cause I was thinking it might work well for Halloween makeup!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Morganite: The Pink Beryl

Such a lovely and soft pale pink, morganite is a rare stone that can be hard to find. Part of the Beryl family, from which comes the emerald, it was first discovered off the coast of Madagascar in 1910. For awhile it was simply called Pink Beryl, but renamed Morganite the following year in honor of the American banker and collector J. Pierpont Morgan, for his contributions to the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Morganite is often associated with love and the heart chakra. People have used it to alleviate homesickness, fatigue and phobias. Other uses are to release negative emotions, encourage trust and joy, and to fill the heart with an abundance of love and generosity.

On a physical level, it is said to help with asthma, colds, coughing and tuberculosis, to ease pain of all kinds of ailments of the joints like arthritis, RSI and sciatica, and to regulates the water inside the body and strengthen the urinal tract.

Often heated to bring out the pink color and remove the yellow streaks, morganite rarely has inclusions, and is found in Brazil, Mozambique, Namibia, Afghanistan, and Russia.

Off on a Whim carries raw polished morganite tumbles for pendants and ring making, and chips for earrings and strap charms.

Gemstone Deva

Contact Off on a Whim for a customized piece just for you! 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Modeling! Blue Fire Men's Leather Wrap Onyx and Blue Tiger Eye Necklace Choker

I was asked last week about lending a piece to a model shoot, a male choker/short necklace piece in dark colors. The photographer sent me a picture ahead of time of the model so I could get an idea of their physique and type. So, I thought a bit and this is what I made:

Blue Fire

Men's choker with 6mm onyx and blue tiger eye stones on black leather, closed off with a hook in the back:

I got my husband to model it for me real quick so I could figure out the space needed between neck measurement and necklace size, just so the choker doesn't actually, you know, choke someone!

And it was off in the mail within 2 days, reaching the shoot in time for the model to use it during the session:

I must admit, he makes it look awfully good!

Many thanks to Peter Blake at The Authentic Image for the photo and Victor for modeling!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Japan Golden Week: Starting today!

Today starts this year's Golden Week holidays! And we have grand plans of driving to Tokyo to spend time with my husband's family. It's been over a decade since I was in Tokyo, and I'm feeling eager and anxious about re-visiting some of my former haunts.

Golden Week refers to a series of consecutive holidays that all fall close together. Often times companies will give their workers a whole week off, making it the perfect holiday for traveling, going for extended visits, or just sleeping in 5 days in a row! My husband has a full 10 days off work, a rare event for him, prompting him to take us for a trip.

Officially, the holidays are as follows:
April 29th: Showa Day
May 3rd: Constitution Memorial Day
May 4th: Greenery Day/Midori no Hi (sounds much better in Japanese!)
May 5th: Children's Day or Boys' Day

April 30-May 2nd are not national holidays, so schools are usually back in session those days, often making it very inconvenient for families with kids to take off unless those days fall on the weekend. In our case, we are going to be playing hooky on the 1st/2nd in order to take the trip.

Many stores, parks and public places have fun events going on for children on these days, games with prizes, free gifts, special deals, to celebrate the birth of our youngsters, combined with the perfect spring weather of May, it's a very popular time to spend outdoors, picnicking, BBQs, hikes and walks.

But Japanese families do other things too. I polled some of my neighbors about their plans, one family said they use GW to do their yearly cleaning, and if they finish early will spend time doing family activities. Another plans a yearly BBQ with friends, always a fun event. As for us, we usually do walks or hanging out at a fun shopping center, or if the weather is bad, buy a bunch of snacks and spend a day playing our favorite family game: Mahjong!

One way you know Golden Week is on its way is by the Koinobori, or Carp Streamers, that are hung up in yards, on gates, sold at shops, or kids bring home little handmade ones from kindergarten. Koinobori are usually hung to honor the sons of the house, and in wishes for their good health and upbringing. There are usually at least 3 carps on the streamer, signifying there is a son in the house, and are added for each son. I guess the girls have their celebration back in March with the Hinamatsuri, or Princess Festival.

Streamers hanging over a river in Tokushima

Another popular decoration families set up in their entrances are the Japanese Kabuto helmet, which was first used by ancient Japanese warriors. This cool piece of decoration really adds a touch of Japan to the house, and I was lucky enough to locate an affordable set last year!

(No, it isn't my husband wearing our set!)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013 Japan?

Japan doesn't celebrate Easter (the chocolate companies haven't caught on to how they can market it yet!), but thanks to Grandma Off on a Whim, we got a lovely box full of childhood favorites: Peeps, chocolate eggs, marshmallow bunnies and chocolate covered marshmallow eggs...arrived just in time for morning coffee!

Friday, March 29, 2013

April Newsletter Giveaway!

Off on a Whim has on a whim! Giving away these two coaster sets to two Off on a Whim Newletter reader in April! Sign up to the newsletter, either on the FB page (find the Newsletter tab) or via this blog (to the right, enter your email to the Newsletter box).

Winners will be chosen randomly on April 15th! Enter before April 10th! Feel free to share this post on your page or blog too!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Drop Leaf Earrings

Dabbling with earrings these days, most recent set are these with a brass leaf fixture, silver-plated hooks, accented with peridot and citrine chips and cracked rainbow crystals. Very pretty and gently colored, lightweight and easy to wear:
(available for 1,800 yen/$19)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Aristotle said it!

If Aristotle said it, then surely being silly every so often is a good thing!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Interview with JoJoEbi!

I was honored to be interviewed by Jo at JojoEbi Designs! Thanks Jo for putting it together!

Inspiration Sunday: Interview with Erinn

Saturday, March 2, 2013

March of Aquamarine - A Giveaway!

The March Newsletter is due to be released on the 4th, and will include a March Giveaway!

How to enter?
Subscribe to the newsletter (hint: there's a box for it at the right of this post!)
How to double your chances?
Share it on your FB news feed! (You'll have to let me know you shared it, I can't always see the shares)...

And a preview of the prize! Here it is:

Thursday, February 21, 2013

EtsyJapan Team!

One of my recent projects! Helping to build up and promote the Etsy Japan Team.
We are a small group of artists joined together through Etsy and either based in or basing theme on All Things Japan. Some of our efforts include:
-- A cooperative Facebook Page (in the process of being set up)
-- A cooperative Blog
-- A cooperative Pinterest board
-- A cooperative Flickr group

And I'm sure more will be coming! At present we are working to unite our logos/titles/efforts across the board, as well as hashing out details and preparing for a cooperative table at the Design Festa in Tokyo this May!

One of our members who is gifted with graphics, created our new logo:

Stay tuned for further news about efforts, projects, inspiration, interviews and contests!