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Somewhere in western China there’s a bus driving down a long dirt road with an old, tattered journal wedged into the overhead storage. If someone were to find that book - perhaps under a dusty backpack they shoved between bags of rice - they would find page after page of figures meticulously added up. Beside each number they would find a scribbled note: “breakfast porridge,” “afternoon snack,” “two beers.”

I lost that journal twelve years ago, while Saskia and I followed the overland route from Li Jiang beside the Li River, up into the Himalayan foothills of Dali and beyond to Shangri-La. Saskia and I were in the first months of our year-long trip across Asia and we living on a serious budget.

Before we left the US - back when we first decided to travel - we made a pact: we would travel as long as our money and willpower held up. After selling whatever we could, we looked over the numbers of what we had and what we thought we could spend, and set a daily target. If we could live on $42 a day, we could travel for at least seven months.

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Now $42 sounds like nothing - especially when you add in housing - but it’s surprising just how far you can stretch a dollar in Asia. Though it varies greatly from place to place, we found that $5-10 would cover a room (often with breakfast) and most meals could be had for even less. Maybe not the meals at the upscale tourist spots, but if you did a little walking and followed the local crowds, you could almost always find a delicious meal for a dollar or two. The same was true for drinks, and being the kind of guy who likes his beer, I wasn’t about to deprive myself of an afternoon draught. We found that in pretty much every country we visited - from China to Laos to Nepal - $1 was good for a big liter can of pilsner.

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Holding to a budget, we found again and again, was about being patient and keeping track. When visiting the Forbidden City, know that a bottle of water will cost five to ten times what it would cost just a few blocks away. Though there are plenty of sparkling clean restaurants on the Ko San Road in Bangkok, taking another ten minutes to walk to the local eatery will keep your wallet full.

The old maxim “Time is Money” can be flipped on its head: if you don’t have the money what you can spend is time. And of course always remember to WRITE IT DOWN! We all lose track of small purchases and all those little dollars pile up fast.

Losing my journal in the storage compartment of that forgotten Chinese bus hit me in a surprising way. I hadn’t written many words, and there were no paragraphs between the figures. But there was a story nonetheless; an accounting of the time we spent and the daily life we had led on our journey to that point. It was in this way that our budget became our life, and in those tallied sums we could read the sum of our adventures.

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I began a new journal after that bus ride, and recorded many more transactions large and small. My parting advice to any would-be traveller: never let the constraints of money hold you back. The best adventures arise from adversity and the best stories come from living on a budget and keeping track of every penny.  

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AuthorSdV Designs LLC
CategoriesInfo, Travel

You probably know that Saskia's design inspiration began ten years ago on a year-long journey around the world. If you've spent time browsing through her designs, you probably also know that she's kind of obsessed with Tibetan turquoise

So what's the deal with that? Let's have Saskia tell the story in her own words - click the Facebook icon for more:

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Authorscott kerns

We recently opened our kiosk in the NE Graybar Passageway of NYC's classiest train station. If you haven't made it out yet, well we have something very special in store. Oh, and if you didn't know Saskia was an actor, well then here's a special treat!

Come find us Monday-Friday 8-8 and Saturdays from 10-6. We're open now till July 31, but don't wait! We look forward to seeing you soon. 

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Authorscott kerns

Our Grand Central Kiosk opens on Monday!! For those who didn't make it last year here's a quick reminder.

Our space in the Greybar passageway at the NE corner of the station is beautiful and the jewelry selection is the best of what we have to offer. 

We have a wonderful team of sellers who - beyond being super helpful and knowledgeable - are also fabulously talented actors! Last year they decided to film a short Instagram series and now it has begun its run! 

Just in time for our kiosk opening this Monday May 1st, we are happy to share with you the Kiosk Series, a fun and funny take on working the kiosk for Saskia de Vries. 

Come visit us in person at Grand Central from May 1 - July 31! 

See you soon!

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Authorscott kerns

Last week Saskia submitted herself to a new TV series all about crafters hosted by Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman. Part of the task was to make a short video. Well she did and we like the result so much that we thought we'd share! Hope you enjoy. 

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Authorscott kerns
CategoriesAbout
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All our experience in building unique retail spaces came into play while building our new kiosk at Grand Central Station. Saskia and I both love old wood; the texture, the grain, the story written into each aged plank.  For this new location, I joined my brother in an adventure to a horse farm outside Philadelphia, where a hundred year-old fence had recently come down. In exchange for building some flower boxes and a few jumps, we loaded thirty boards on top of our Subaru. 

 

Grand Central has some very specific constraints. The kiosks are prefabricated and everything has to fit inside. With that in mind, I created a substructure to rest on top of their built-in metal cabinet, which I then layered with the beautiful reclaimed fence wood - making sure to miter the edges for best effect.

 

 

To display all our wonderful wooden busts, I built a tiered structure with open-faced boxes lined with LED tape. In my basement workshop, everything looked perfect, but would it fit out the door?

 

 

 

After a day's heavy lifting and putting the pieces in place, we all breathed a collective sigh of relief and got down to the business of placing the necklaces. Before long the wood was no longer bare and we began welcoming all our wonderful patrons.

If you haven't yet had the chance to come see the kiosk in person, come check it out soon! We're open Monday-Saturday from now until October 29th. We hope to see you there!

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Authorscott kerns
CategoriesKiosk, Retail
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It has been a ride, but Turnstyle is now up and running!! Grand opening was last week and already the place is humming. 

With awesome food like Meltkraft, Bolivian Llama, Ellary's Greens, and Bosie Patisserie (among many others) there is everything to satisfy every foodie. And the retail options are so wonderfully varied - from Spectre & Co to Papyrus to Project No. 8 (and yours truly) - that this spot is destined to become a NY destination!

We're open every day and there are a number of pieces that we're only keeping here. It's a really cool space and you've just got to see it for yourself. 

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Authorscott kerns
CategoriesKiosk, Retail
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April 19th is drawing near and Turnstyle is getting ready to open it's doors to the public! We've been getting all the pieces in place (SO many details from design to payroll), but one of the most exciting - at least for me - is building our new display case. 

You saw in the last post what the concept looked like. Executing that concept has pushed my woodworking knowledge to the edge and actually made me learn a few new tricks (like how to join mitered edges with inset wood). I could geek out for a while on the specifics of construction, but rather than get too deep in the weeds, rather I give you a few helpful pictures to illustrate.

Mark your calendars friends, this is going to be a VERY cool location. 

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Authorscott kerns
CategoriesRetail, Kiosk

We've just heard from Turnstyle that our Grand Opening is set for April 19th just in time for the evening rush hour! The more we hear about what's in store, the more excited we get. Saskia has a special line in store just for this kiosk and Scott has sketched out a new display case just for this location. 

Stay tuned for more info, but mark you calendars! We will have some special incentives for all you early birds. 

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Authorscott kerns
CategoriesRetail
Tagscraft

We are thrilled to announce that we will join the vendor lineup for the Grand Opening of New York's newest retail destination, Turnstyle. Located in a redeveloped corridor of the Columbus Circle subway station, this unique space will feature a delicious food court with Meltkraft and Dylan's Candybar, designer retail from Papyrus and Studio Manhattan, and a whole host of other wonderful vendors and local artisans!

Our kiosk will run for three months from opening through July and will be located closest to the food court at the 57th St entrance. This is going to be awesome, so come find us soon! 

 A new underground shopping experience

A new underground shopping experience

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Authorscott kerns
CategoriesRetail

It is an honor and a thrill to announce that we have been accepted into the Grand Central Holiday Market!! Generally regarded as NYC's premiere holiday event, only 50 vendors are accepted each year, though many hundreds apply. 

We have yet to finalize our other winter plans, but be sure to come find us November 16 - December 24 in the grand concourse of Grand Central!

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Authorscott kerns
CategoriesHoliday Markets

Last year's CC booth

For the past four years we've had a booth at the Columbus Circle Holiday Market throughout the month of December. We love the area, the market and our lovely wooden booth that we build ourselves. More than any other market, this event best represents our esthetic and displays our jewelry in the best possible way. 

This year we're expanding! We found out just last Friday that we were accepted into the Union Square Holiday Market on top of Columbus Circle! Opening day for this event is less than three weeks away and there is a whole other booth to build. Oh my oh my what a crazy holiday season it will be!

In the coming days and weeks we'll be posting more about booth building and keeping you up to date with all the very exciting new products we will be carrying. Keep checking back for more. 

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Authorscott kerns

We've been telling customers that everything is made in our home studio for years. Well now it's official! We've been selected in the first round of Certified Brooklyn-Made Products by the Chamber of Commerce at the highest level. No big deal, just good old homemade beauty. 

Click here to find out more about the program.

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Authorscott kerns

We are so thrilled to be chosen as the sole jewelry designer for all front of house staff at the boutique Archer Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. The Archer is a brand new idea in high class hotels that features the work of local artists and artisans in creating a "home-grown" esthetic. Next time you're on 5th Ave, go swing by their beautiful rooftop bar and check out some of Saskia's designs!

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Authorscott kerns