Jill Zaleski

One of a Kind Jewelry

Posts tagged ‘PHOTOGRAPHY’

When you meet him..

Have you ever spent so much time thinking about how you want to say something in order have the biggest impact?  Searching for the words that will be the right words to make a difference?  That is how I feel writing this post right now..

WE spent last week in southern California’s eclectic, eccentric Venice Beach.  Not our typical getaway as we are normally pulled to the quiet serenity of the Sonoma Coast. But when you have free tickets to Universal Studios and an almost 9 year old you must go south!IMG_20170906_131205.jpg

 I have been to Venice beach and Santa Monica years ago before husband and child, and was excited to share in the dynamic cultural experience with Gunther and Eric.  We did all the typical things.. We went to the beach shops full of cheep T-shirts and souvenirs.  We went to the famous Venice Beach skate park and road our skateboards down the boulevard. 




We ate at new, fun, restaurants and street stands.



We went to Santa Monica Pier and let Gunther spend a couple hours running around between Arcade games and carnival rides.  We road the giant ferris wheel.  We took endless amounts of photos to capture these new family memories.  We were having a really great time. 




Once Gunther had his fill of Carnival rides, and arcade games we knew we had to head back and take out the dogs, so we started our walk towards Venice Beach.  On our way we were passing “Chess Park” A small little park right in front of the original muscle beach between Venice and Santa Monica. 




It wasn’t much.  9 wooden tables with several chess boards permanently placed in each.  As we were passing by we noticed this older man very grandpa-ish sitting by himself with a chessboard mat on top of the chessboards inserted in the tables.  It was all set up to play with a big white rock and other collected items holding it in place. 


It had been a long day so when Gunther asked if he could go ask him to play we were kind of relieved knowing we could just sit there and watch for awhile.  Gunther asked.  The man said sure.  Where it went from here was none other than a completely life changing experience and I say this with tears streaming down my face as I write this.  We’ll get back to the tears in a bit.

Noticing his accent we knew he was not born in the U.S.   It was rather thick, sounding a bit eastern european.  I was starting to wonder if Gunther would be able to understand him.  Gunther is an old soul, has always gravitated towards the grandmas and grandpas, and takes his time to listen and pay attention.  He had no trouble at all, or at least he did not show it.  As they began to play Gunther was his typical quiet self.  Moves were being made, and the questions and critiques started flowing.  FROM THE MAN.

Why did you do that?

What’s going to happen?

That’s no good.

Eric and I look at each other and kind of giggle.  This guy is legit and Gunther is about to get schooled in chess!  Gunther continues to make his moves rather quickly while the man is still looking for answers and is determined to get them.  You can see in Gunther’s face his want to give the man answers, yet he fails to find a reason why he moved that chess piece there.  So as this goes on the man says to Gunther “you need to think about the end game.  Slow down.  Take your time.  Why so fast.  Why you move there?”


At this point he takes the next move against Gunthers recently placed piece and proceeds to eliminate every single piece from the board to show Gunther “The End Game”. 


After Gunther was shown how the game would end with his single move the man placed each piece back on the board exactly where it was so they could continue on. 



This continued to happen each time Gunther did not think about the move, and the man determining it as a “bad move”.  This went on for hours.  3 to be exact.  Taking pieces away to show the END GAME.  Questioning Gunther on his “bad moves” and forcing Gunther to give him a reason why he chose that move.  Eric and I had been looking for signs from Gunther for at least an hour trying to determine his mood and how tired he may be.  He showed no signs of wanting to leave so the game went on.  As the sun was starting to set it became clear that we were going to have to let Gunther know he needed to say goodbye to his new friend because we needed to get back to feed the dogs.  At this point we asked the man his name as he did not give it to us at the time Gunther sat down.  Only Gunther gave his.  He told us his name was Eddie and he was from Russia.


Walking back towards Venice beach Gunther asked how long they were playing and we told him 3 hours.  He said it felt more like 40 minutes.  I was kinda shocked at this as I thought he was so ready to go but did not want to be rude to Eddie.  He let me know that was not the case.  In his words he told me he learned more in the 3 hours with Eddie that the 3 years in chess class, and asked if he could go back and play chess with Eddie tomorrow. Really?

In the morning we went and had breakfast and were deciding on the days plans.  The only thing Gunther wanted to do was go to the beach and skateboard down to chess park, so that is what we did.  As we got to the park there was Eddie.  At the same table he was at the day before with his board all laid out, pieces set, and rocks in place.  AS soon as Eddie saw us he stood up and greeted us with a soft happy smile.  It took no time. They began to play.  The questions started to flow.




Why did you do that?

Why did you move your bishop there?

If you do this then I do this.

Think about the end game.



This continued on for another 3+ hours.  It was almost like Eric and I weren’t even there with the few bathroom break exceptions.  During Gunther’s bathroom breaks we took some time to get to know Eddie a little better.  WE had discovered Eddie speaks 3 languages, Eddie has lived in Los Angeles for 30 years, and how Eddie first learned to play chess.  He had told us he first learned to play chess in Russia by watching the adults as kids were not allowed to play.  They could watch but had to be silent.  We got a little more information about Eddie with each bathroom break.


At this point we knew we needed to get back, pack up, and get ready to leave for home in the morning.  WE were having a hard time leaving.  Saying goodbye in particular.  You see during these two days we also discovered something about Eddie that we could not get out of our hearts and minds.  WE discovered Eddie is homeless.  Eddie sleeps in chess park.  Eddie is a 68 year old try-lingual homeless man.  Eddies is also a master jeweler and has the same birthday as Gunther.  I would not have believed it if I did not see it with my own eyes when he pulled out his ID card.  He did this because we wanted to be able to keep in touch with Eddie and asked for whatever contact information he could give us.  First I got his phone number.  But when he said it wasn’t charged I quickly realized it is probably difficult for him to keep it charged being homeless.  He also gave us his ex-wives address where he receives mail.  Not what I was hoping for but knew it was better than nothing at all.


While gathering up our skateboards we asked Eddie if we could bring him dinner this evening.  He said yes.  WE told him we needed to go back to take care of our dogs, do some packing and cleaning the house, but would be back shortly with dinner.

Two hours later we headed to chess park with hot meals in hand looking forward to seeing Eddie.  But he was not there.  We decided to go down the street, eat, and come back.  No Eddie.  We left one more time and came back.  No Eddie.  We did notice there were police monitoring chess park that evening.  After our third attempt we went back to our rental a little bummed.  Why did he say he would be there but was not there.  How could we leave tomorrow without saying goodbye to Eddie? What if he thinks we did not come back.  We left felling a little sad and heartbroken.


AS we packed up the car we decided we would put together a care package for Eddie as an early happy birthday.  I think we just wanted a reason to go back and see if he was there.  Dogs in car, roof rack packed we drove to chess park to find Eddie.  There he was!  In his usual spot. All set up and ready to play.  We walked up with care package and he stood and smiled.  I’m sorry he says.. I was not here last night.  The police ran me out.  Told me if I did not go I would be arrested.  The homeless were causing trouble by the pier that night, the police were called, and all homeless were pushed out of chess park.  Including Eddie.  My heart sunk as we gave Eddie the care package, knowing we were steps away from saying goodbye, getting back in our nice car, and driving back to Napa to our nice home.  How could someone so smart, with so much to offer the world, and at his age be homeless?  The answer.  He just cannot afford rent anymore with his social security he brings in.  Eddie has been homeless for two years after they raised his rent.  So this is what he has.  AS we turned and walked towards our car I broke into sobs.  I wanted to drop to my knees.  The sadness that overtook me in that moment could have filled an ocean.


Today I find myself needing to help Eddie.  My husband finds himself needing to help Eddie, but most importantly my son finds himself needing to help Eddie.  When asking Gunther what he wanted for his birthday he told us he wanted to find Eddie a home. 

Starting today our garden stand earnings will go to Eddie.  We will be looking to find Eddie help through the homeless foundations of Southern California. We are also starting a go fund me account for Eddie, so anyone that finds it in their heart can help him with food, medical needs, and work towards getting enough money for a apartment/rental home. 


Bonnie Hill…

Once in a lifetime… One in a million… Like no other… So cliché.  I know.  Sometimes however… a good resinating cliché is what you choose in order to express a deep love of, or an excitement for.  That is how I fee whenever I receive a new, beautiful image from one of my most beloved photographers Bonnie Hill.  I call her the creator of whimsey… Even her name “Bonnie Hill” sounds like a fairy tale…

When looking for a photographer to shoot my 2013 holiday collection “After Midnight”  I was on the search for someone new, as one of my go to photographers just moved to NYC and the other was busy with new baby.  Thankfully one of my models suggested a young photographer who may be interested in our project but mainly shot weddings and family.  I had seen a few of her images that really struck me and thought WOW.. she is so talented!  Finding out she was interested in collaborating with us, and also wanted to try something new and different on her side we set things up to meet for the first time the day of shoot.  I got really lucky that day…  That was the day I met Bonnie Hill.


Since the day of the after midnight shoot we have worked together on many more campaigns. I Love Lucy  “Valentines campaign”, a few mini sessions, a campaign for JenDaisy women’s clothing boutique, and my favorite of all… “FREEDOM ~ A Gypsy Summer.  My final campaign in Chattanooga.   Shortly after my freedom shoot I found out I was moving across the country to Napa CA.  I knew it would be an exciting adventure, but also knew I would be leaving so many talented people that I adored working with behind.  Bonnie was at the top of that list.

Thankfully her and I have found ways to still do projects together even after my move.  Not that there are no talented photographers in my new location.  There are plenty.   Its more of the comfortability factor.  Them knowing what you want and you knowing what they want.  Bonnie and I have that times a million. Not to mention her gift to direct even the shyest of muses into a VOGUE inspired pose is fascinating to see.

Just recently I sent her a collection of “Game of Thrones” inspired pieces saying “do your magic” and that is exactly what she did.  What I really love about this collection of photos is that it is the exact same pieces on three VERY different models.  Looking at these photos in particular really shows you the talent behind the lens, and how a vision can change drastically with the right photographer and a new muse.

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When I see the first captivating image of HMUA Jill Clark I think Marilyn Monroe all the way… Then as I scroll down to beautiful Lauren Flatt I picture Lord of the Rings mystical elf queen Galadriel.  Continuing on Nadine Korp captures Game of Thrones Sansa Stark in all of her dark and mid-evil glory.

When spending as much time as I do creating pieces with a purpose of you imagining an existence outside our world.  You can only hope to have someone that also sees what you see.  Someone that brings another layer of romanticism. A photographer that has a gift for creating a world beyond our own through digital and making us believe.

Finding gifts in others is something to celebrate.  The ones that make what you do look more spectacular than it ever could have without them.  For this reason.  I celebrate Bonnie Hill and the beauty that she captures.  Thank you for always understanding my vision and always delivering something new and more spectacular than the last. …XO


Bonnie McGhee Photography 

Bonnie McGhee Facebook

My Etsy Shop

If you are a photographer, HMUA, fashion, or lifestyle blogger looking to collaborate, please send request to jillzaleski@gmail.com


I hope you will enjoy this sweet little short film for my new collection – FREEDOM 2014 ~ A Gypsy Summer…

I hope you will enjoy this sweet little short film for my new collection - FREEDOM 2014 ~ A Gypsy Summer...

FREEDOM was inspired by summer music festivals, and free spirits, and Mother Nature
You can expect to see beautiful turquoise, corals, jasper, aquamarine, bone, horn, a mix of metals and textiles! Several one of a kind pieces to choose from. Very casual, effortless, and easy to wear!~
To view my entire FREEDOM collection or to request a custom order please visit my Etsy shop!~

Shootout Event- Dayton, TN

Shootout Event Pocket Wilderness… This event was the first of it’s kind for me but was anxious to try something new and meet some amazing creative people!~ This sunny day was so special filled with so much talent throughout the majestic Pocket!
If I were to guess I would say close to 50 models, photographers, and creative people showed for this even in the middle of nowhere!~ It was quite a spectacle… I had one hiker look at me and say “what on earth is going on here”!
I believe I was the only designer which was a dream as so many beautiful models were adorned in my pieces and several photographers had captured some truly amazing images!~ I am thankful for the creative work that both Rae Marshall and Bonnie Hill were able to capture incorporating my designs. I could not be happier with the images I have seen..
I hope to collaborate with all of these amazing individuals in the very near future!~
Enjoy this very special blog post by Rae Marshall on the Pocket Wilderness shootout event! …XO

Rae Marshall Photography Blog

I had the pleasure of being invited to a Shootout Event in Dayton, TN this past weekend at Pocket Wilderness. The event was set up by Adrienne McNellis Photography, a great photographer in the area and many photographers and models, as well as stylists and designers attended. Here are some of the highlights from the images we all made! I just loved everyone’s set ups and outfits, and the location was amazing!

Shootout-98FShootout-2 Jewelry: Jill ZaleskiShootout-2Shootout-6Shootout-7 Model: Cali GloverShootout-9Shootout-10Shootout-15 Model: Tiffany MerrimanShootout-20Shootout-18Shootout-21Shootout-23Shootout-24Shootout-26 Model: April Phipps-McCuistionShootout-27Shootout-31Shootout-37 Models: Lexi and KayliShootout-34Shootout-35Shootout-39DFShootout-41Shootout-61Shootout-64Shootout-48 Model: Jessica Eubanks

Jewelry: Jill ZaleskiShootout-50Shootout-59Shootout-69 Model: Nadine PrathersShootout-70Shootout-71Shootout-68Shootout-96Shootout-95Shootout-79Shootout-85Shootout-84Shootout-89

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The Sunny Summer Sun Dress at “JenDaisy Boutique” Fresh… Fun… Affordable…!

One of my favorite things to wear… My go to… My comfy…

You know you have a favorite shirt, jeans, shoes that is your “GO TO” item whenever you want to feel cute, but also comfortable.  To me “Cute Comfort” is essential in my everyday life.  I am a business woman as well as a mom to a very energetic 4 year old and wife to a busy man. My life is full of busy.  I never know if I will be in my studio working, going to a 5 year old birthday party, meeting with a new client or a rare but much anticipated lunch date with my luv!~

When I buy clothes I first think is it fresh?!  Being a designer it is crucial to keep things fresh in your designs as well as how you present yourself.

Second  it is important that I stay true to my style as well as choose items that compliment my ever growing and changing jewelry line.

3rd is it comfortable?  Working, running after small children, and meeting with clients I need to be able to tie in all three things and as most women of business know oh so well!


My GO TO during the summertime is a cute, comfortable, airy summer sundress.  Short… Long… Midway… I love them all but this season and with my schedule the “MAXI” has become my best friend. Comfort with out question. The Tomato Red Maxi with Aztec print from JenDaisy Boutique is at the top of my list when reaching for something fresh, fun and EASY to wear.  It is strapless but do not let that deter you if the dress is the right material.  “This dress is made out of  “chiffon” which makes it super light, airy, and oh so comfortable.  The top of the dress is fitted with a rubber type banding  that prevents the strapless top from slipping/sliding down and creating an embarrassing moment.  The chiffon keeps the dress from sticking to your skin on those hot summer days!~


Just like the Tomato Red and Aztec above this dress is made out of chiffon so it is also incredibly light and airy.  What I love most about this Mustard and Paisley option with the strapless ruffle is it is very easy to slip into, and the ruffle makes it not just possible but more flattering to wear without a bra.  The bloucy-ness of the top with added ruffle completely disguise anything you do not wish to show the world…!

A word from Jenny  – Owner of JenDaisy Boutique


“It is not just about selling clothes for me. It is about helping women find their beauty in clothes and helping them build confidence because the right clothes can make a true difference in how someone feels about themselves”

Now that you’ve seen a peak of what JenDaisy has to offer how about a DRESS GIVEAWAY…!  


 How would you like to have your very own JeDaisy Dress “of your choice” FOR FREE!!!

Here’s how to win. – Like/Share or comment on this blog post with all of your facebook friends!~  each time you “like/share” or “comment” on this post you will be entered to win a dress of your choosing.  The more you share the bigger chance you will have to win your very own SUNNY SUMMER SUNDRESS from JenDaisy Boutique

Not in Greenwood, IN. Don’t let that stop you!~  JenDaisy will ship anywhere in the U.S.

Sizes range from XS to XXXL

Vogue Documentary Short Film

P1280257Vogue Documentary Short Film

I found this little short film very inspiring and wanted to share with my fellow artist friends…!


Shireen Sandoval wearing one of my creations on Deco Drive TONIGHT….!

MY Fredericka Cocktail Ring from “Little Darling Dreamer” will be warn by Shireen Sandoval on Miami’s Deco Drive TONIGHT!!! I CANNOT wait ♥ ♥
Fredericka ring



I am a couture jewelry designer and fabricator with a background in fashion and styling. I take on every aspect of the creative process for all my collections which includes ~ Jewelry design and fabrication, hair and makeup, wardrobe, set production and total vision for the current collection!~

I have been in the retail and fashion industry for most of my life running high profile stores, training new management, and attending global sales conferences to learn more about the label and to strengthen the brand.

I have also added “fashion blogger” to my list of skills.
After writing for a national design blog as their fashion expert I am NOW bringing you METAL BRICK LIPSTICK!~ My own fashion blog where I will continue to write about all things fashion as well as makeup tips, photo shoot preparations, and everything in between…

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