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The Spirit of Charitable Giving Through Alana Leigh

I began 2013 with a spirit of optimism. After devoting a majority of 2012 to designing, building, and finally launching my new website—a feat that, after lots of hard work and dedication, felt unimaginably fulfilling— I am excited to spend this year watching it evolve to its full potential. That not only means offering fabulous new jewels to an ever-expanding network of incredible women, but also turning it into a digital home for inspiration, guidance and giving centered on my deepest belief: that every woman can change the world.

If you have ever read my blog post “The Beauty of Giving Back”, you know that a big part of my work involves charitable giving. In fact, starting today, I am featuring charities on my website that will receive 20% of the proceeds of the sales of selected jewels and treasures on my website. You will be able to select from one charity to support, through a dropdown menu at checkout. 

Right now, I am featuring three charities near and dear to my heart. Each one supports an amazing cause, and I would like to let you know a little bit more about them to help you in making your decision:

Raphael House
Established in San Francisco in 1971 as an emergency shelter for temporarily homeless women and children, the mission of Raphael House is “to help at-risk families achieve stable housing and financial independence while strengthening family bonds and personal dignity.” Through its Residential and AfterCare programs, Raphael House offers support and structure to families and children who have experienced temporary homelessness, as well as continued services to those who have moved into stable homes.

I have been deeply moved by the plight of the homeless and impoverished families assisted by Raphael House. Through the sale of my art, I feel blessed to have been able to support their work financially over many years.

San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center
The San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center (SFCAPC) offers children and family services and community education in order to support its mission, “the prevention of child abuse and neglect, the promotion of healthy families and the mental health of children.” In addition to its educational programs and services for parents, caregivers and children (including a 24/7 hotline for early interventions, referrals and support), SFCAPC partners with local organizations to further its impact and leads a city-wide effort to establish a Children’s Advocacy Center of San Francisco, which will provide a state-of-the-art facility for response, prevention, training and care.

I have been working with SFCAPC for many years now and have the seen the extraordinary assistance and support given to help children and their families live safer and happier lives.

Miss Representation.org
Stemming from the award-winning documentary Miss Representation, which depicts the mainstream media as a culprit in the continued underrepresentation of women in influential positions in America, Miss Representation.org is a non-profit social action campaign “established to shift people’s consciousness, inspire individual and community action, and ultimately transform culture so that everyone, regardless of gender, age or circumstance can fulfill his or her potential.” Through social media, education curriculum, community screenings of the film and the championing of positive media and advertising while confronting the challenge of negative media and advertising, Miss Representation.org leads the growing movement of women’s empowerment in the 21st century.

I am honored to have been an Associate Producer of Jennifer Siebel Newsom's groundbreaking and deeply thought-provoking film Miss Representation, and I'm very excited to support her vision!

I am excited to implement this program with you. Together, we can make a difference!

With Love and Gratitute,

Alana

Image from left to right: Brooke Sevenau; Alana Leigh; Judy Domenici; Alicia Hvistendahl; Jo Howard; Jennifer Siebel Newsom

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The Beauty of Giving Back

Holidays in San Francisco are always festive. Sparkly spiders dangle from cotton cobwebs wrapped in the city’s wrought iron gates at Halloween, only to be replaced by turkeys, pilgrims, and the smell of stuffing and pumpkin pie in November. Soon evergreen wreaths adorn doors, menorahs and multi-colored lights shimmer in the windows of Victorians and urban homes, while fireplaces crackle and smoke fills the chilly December air. But as flushed shoppers window browse in Union Square and seek out thoughtful treasures on Sacramento, Fillmore and Union streets, a memorable  place for me is the San Francisco  Child Abuse Prevention Center on Waller in the Haight.

Here, too, women fill bags with gifts, but the bags are large green Hefty bags, and the gifts don’t come with a price tag. We meet with the families and help them shop—rows and rows of brand new donated toys, books, games and clothes, selected with care to be placed under chimneys and trees and opened by wide-eyed children on Christmas morning. This is a scene that brings joy to my heart, and it is the efforts of charities like SFCAPC that inspire me to pursue my life’s purpose.

I have been blessed to see my business flourish, to have worked hard and watched Alana Leigh grow from a small local atelier to one with clients worldwide. I have always created my jewels with the intention of empowering women and in the past I have sold my art to benefit charities such as San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center, Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s film Miss Representation, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and the Raphael House in San Francisco, just to name a few. In this next phase of my career I want to make charitable giving the sole focus of my work.

Going forward my website will be focused on benefiting non-profit organizations that I believe in. Charities will be featured on my site for a select amount of time or indefinitely, and during that period at least 20% of the proceeds from the sale of selected jewels and treasures will benefit one of those foundations. You will be given a drop down menu at checkout to select the charity to which you would like Alana Leigh to donate. You will receive a verified certificate reflecting the amount of money that went to the charity you've chosen, in your name, from the purchase that you have made on my website. The featured charities I've carefully highlighted will be profiled here on my Inspiration page so that you can read their stories and learn about their cause.

When I think of this new purpose, I am moved by an energy that compels me forward. I know that giving back is my life’s journey, and I look forward to embarking on it with you! If there is a charity that moves or inspires you, send me an email at customercare@alanaleigh.com . Let’s experience the extraordinary empowerment and heartfelt experience of giving back together.

Thank you for your part in this exciting opportunity to help others and contribute to the world in a meaningful way!

With Love and Gratitude,

Alana

Images from left to right: Alana in gratitude: Alana with her team   of soul sisters: from left: Brooke Sevenau, Alana, Judy Domenici, Alicia Hvistendahl, Alana's mom Jo Howard, Jennifer Siebel Newsom: Alana and Jennifer Siebel Newsom: Alana's jewelry show for Miss Representation: Alana in a small village in Thailand with the local children.

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Alana's Treasures

I’ve been an antique lover since before I was born. My mother has a passion for collecting precious, historic heirlooms and furniture that she imparted to me, and as soon as I was old enough to walk I was accompanying her on foraging trips. She would make an intriguing game for me out of finding compelling treasures and I was enchanted by the prospect of wondering what we were going to uncover and the inevitable priceless finds that always sprang up during our searches.  It was our very own “Antique Roadshow” all the way!

I looked forward to these special times with my mother. She taught me how to bargain and negotiate, and at 6 years old I could talk dealers down big bucks for that 100 year old German porcelain doll I just had to add to my collection.  This trait came in handy years later when hunting for jewels in New Delhi's burning-sage- filled bazaars and trading with Egyptian gem dealers in Cairo.

Beads were my first fascination. There was this mystical store in Mill Valley, California where I mostly grew up called Sundancer. You had to walk up this steep flight of old wooden stairs to enter the shop and step through a long beaded curtain to get inside. Smoke filled the air with a combination of Nag Champa incense and most likely marijuana. There were always a few of the coolest Haight Ashbury free spirit types in colorful clothes with flowers in their hair there to assist us. My mom called them Beatniks.  Sundancer sold hundreds of types of beads in every color imaginable; African trade, Murano glass, Moroccan bone and Nepalese prayer beads just to name a few.  When I walked in for the first time at age five with a nickel and dime that my mother so generously gave me to spend, I was spellbound.

I still get that same feeling when wandering into an antique market off the cobbled streets of Chelsea in London or when exploring the tiny shops along the ancient hidden alleys of Florence or when combing through rows and rows of vintage niceties beneath the rafters of a rustic barn in North Hatley, Quebec. . 

I recently returned from a fabulous trip with my adorable and ever-so energetic mother to the very French quarter of Old Quebec City and historic Montreal.  I was determined to purchase an emerald glass jar I'd been admiring from a shop window for days and went back five times until they finally decided to open the store for business.  I am enraptured by the intricacy of hand-painted colored glass objects, sterling and brass hallmarked carved boxes, and inlaid sparkly gem- encrusted jars.

I was inspired to share my discoveries with you so that they may bring as much joy to you as they do to me. My Treasures collection showcases my most cherished finds throughout my adventurous travels, featuring pieces found thousands of miles overseas in Europe as well as in some of the most historic towns in North America.

Many of my treasures bear a signature Alana Leigh insignia—a “love” heart or a bejeweled hand casted medallion—to add a finishing flourish to the timeless works of art. My treasures bestow luck and love upon your Alana Leigh jewelry and provide a chic and sacred protective place for your most precious pieces. Each collectable is either one-of-a-kind or a limited edition and all carry a unique story of how and where they were lovingly discovered.

Take a peek and see what surprises you uncover!

https://www.alanaleigh.com/creations/treasures/all

Images from left to right: Alana through the looking glass; Alana and her mother in Montreal at D'Emma's; The coveted emerald glass jar; Alana in Florence; Alana in Rome; An old rustic barn in Quebec.

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My Holy Place

On my journey over the past decade, I have found a holy place, a sacred refuge where I feel closer to spirit, where it all begins to make sense, and I see that everything that's happened in my life has perfect meaning and reason. In this special spot some of the toughest struggles and memories all seem to rest in a peaceful realm of non-judgment.  Even the saddest of moments have a sweetness to them. It's as if I'm being lifted by a divine light and held in an overwhelming outpouring of love. This vortex for me is Villa Serena, my cherished home in the California wine country.

When I look out from the deck to the vista across the valley, I see the descending treetops and vineyards below Mount Tamalpais' prominent stature.  The array of crimson dazzles in the sky at the close of day. The delicate sounds of cascading water from the lion head fountain under the ancient oak tree evoke a sense of comfort. My body feels lighter and I instantly respond to the transcending calm of this safe and soulful retreat.  Magical colors ignite from the terra cotta rooftop, the okra leaves of the Chinese maples, and the deep blue green of the cool water lap pool that greets me at my door.  Here on the property of Villa Serena, my body is cleansed of any stress or discomfort that clings from city living. My mind is released from interference while tranquility breathes through me.  I feel expanded, vibrant, and refreshed.  More importantly, I feel like I am home.

Villa Serena was discovered after years of searching for just the right property. One that could be enjoyed by friends and family, and also as a vacation space to refresh the soul and unite with nature. Moved by my love affair with Italy and the rolling golden slopes of Tuscany, I longed to recreate that splendor here close to my residence in San Francisco. Stepping onto the threshold of Villa Serena for the first time, déjà vu instantly struck.  I had an overwhelming feeling of emotion, love and connection arise within me, and immediately my heart was captured by the extraordinary energy of this spiritual piece of land.

Many of my most provocative jewelry creations are crafted here. The creative flow is radiant, alive and empowering for me in this heavenly spot. The kaleidoscope of emerald greens, fiery golds, rich browns and turquoise provides a decadent color palette for my designs and, along with the transformative state created by the penetrating song of the large wind chime in the grand majestic oak, my art is most inspired.

This intoxicating, heightened sense of peace is what I seek to share with those who stay on the property. I rent Villa Serena to carefully selected visitors each year, and when I do, it is an invitation, partially, into my heart. As a traveler I have always appreciated the little details in luxurious hotels—the special products in the bathroom, the unique décor and attention to aesthetics, the subtle meaning in smallest of things—and so my guests are treated to the utmost hospitality: a special gift, a handwritten note, beautiful bedding and rooms adorned with antiques and treasures that have come from many of my world travels. It gives me great pleasure to fill their stays with the magic I feel here, as if angels grace the grounds and hold it sacred.

Villa Serena is my holy place, my refuge, a destination where I arrive with joy and leave with sadness lifted only by the prospect of seeing it again, like the anticipation that arises with the thought of reuniting with one’s soulmate.

If you too wish to experience the enchantment of Villa Serena, prepare to open into a doorway of heaven and mystical delight.

Images from left to right: Alana: The meadow at Villa Serena: The Chinese maples: A view of the valley: The dining solarium: A meditation space: The living room: A crimson sunset from the deck.
(See our link to book your stay! http://villaserena09.com)

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Cherish the Stone Meanings

I look at my life as a jewel box, collecting the pearls of wisdom in every day. I cherish the gems of truth that come to me as soft voices of encouragement, and revere the sacred treasures buried deep in some of the darkest places in my soul. What jewels can I bring back and share with the world?

In each Alana Leigh design I bring to life, I attempt to channel these precious nuggets of enlightenment, combining them with the powerful stone meanings that each gem carries. It is my mission to imbue the adornments I create for you with these keys I have learned, and to empower you to awaken to the beautiful, unique and radiant being that you are.

Unlocking the mystical treasures within and finding the silver lining in every day are enhanced greatly by the careful selection of jewels I put on each morning. These magical stones carry an inherent mystical energy within them. In ancient times, healers used stones for medicinal purposes, laying them on one’s chest to impart qualities like balance, grounding, courage, and tranquility.

Before I knew its meaning, I was instantly drawn to labradorite, an opalescent moss green gem lit by an internal fire which aligns with clairvoyance. When I wear a necklace ensconced with labradorite roundels or earrings encrusted with labradorite cabochons , I feel my intuition sing to me as clearly as a fog-less morning on the San Francisco Bay. I’ve had miraculous experiences, from the way I felt the moment I first saw my husband, to the instincts I followed for growing my business. The jewel also happens to match my eyes perfectly—a transcendent communion of color and essence, which makes labradorite one of my signature stones.

Choosing a piece for its meaning is as important as selecting a piece for its aesthetic beauty. Meditate on what speaks to you; perhaps it’s the courage inspired by aquamarine, the truth, love and faith emanating from pearls, the protection offered by amethyst, or the balance evoked by smoky topaz.

Enjoy my “Stone Meanings” page on my website . I have carefully prepared it for you to assist in opening up to the captivating transformation that takes place when you find that perfect match that lifts your spirit. When contemplating each creation, think: what kind of inspiration do I seek from this day? Then feel the energy flow from stone to being to soul. 

https://www.alanaleigh.com/stones

Images from left to right.: Alana and her husband Don; A treasure chest of Alana's jewels; Alana's labradorite encrusted medallions.

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