Celebrating a special milestone with sea glass jewelry

Sea glass. It's beautiful, mysterious, birthed by the ocean in the prettiest use of the word upcycling. What goes into the ocean as glass bottles, china, and even old light covers comes out as beautiful gems after being tumbled by waves until it is frosty and romantic. I like to think of it as mermaid's diamonds.

I first learned about sea glass in a novel called Sea Glass by Anita Shreve, a nice summer read if you need to squeeze in one last book before the fall officially begins.  Before reading that book, I had no idea that sea glass existed. Thanks to Ms. Shreve, I was able to recognize it when Josh and I were combing a rocky beach in California a few years ago. I was tickled to find half a dozen tiny green fragments of sea glass in the sand which I proudly keep in a tray on my dresser.

For awhile I considered having my friend Meg Carter, who designs beautiful sea glass jewelry and engagement rings, convert these pieces into a necklace, but I really enjoy looking at them as individual pieces, so I decided that I would instead choose a piece of Meg's gorgeous sea glass jewelry to wear so I could keep my sweet little collection in my tray.

Last fall I decided that treating myself to one of Meg's unique sea glass creations would be my gift to myself for reaching my goal of breastfeeding Iris for one year, a goal I wasn't even sure that I wanted to reach when I was pregnant.

For the record, any which way that a baby is fed and nourished is best. I don't want anyone to think that I am one of the SRBs: Self-Righteous Breastfeeders

I'm celebrating this milestone because it has been a big commitment, coming from someone who doesn't really like commitments of any sort. But I do like challenges for the thrill of proving to no one but myself that I can do something. I honestly don't know why I struggle with believing in myself, but I've taken on plenty of personal challenges to show myself what I am capable of: running a dozen half marathons, a triathlon, and a marathon, learning how to ballroom dance and trophying in it, launching and operating a wedding planning business for five years, starting a blog, and breastfeeding for a year. It's fun, trying to stretch and grow. Of these things, breastfeeding has by far proven to be the largest personal sacrifice, given that it put me on a pretty short leash, either feeding or pumping nearly every three hours each day.

I didn't even know for sure that I wanted to breastfeed or that I wanted to reach a particular milestone until I better understood the expense of formula and how that would put a strain on our family's budget. Even then I went into the whole breastfeeding thing worried that I wasn't going to succeed due to factors in my imagination like non-functioning mammary glands, a child born with a full set of razor sharp teeth, and the fear of the ever-impending zombie apocalypse, which is always convenient to distract yourself with when you're a natural born worrier. And as it turned out, Iris and I had plenty of challenges, just none of the ones in my head. More on that in a sec.

At about eight months pregnant, I remember sitting in the breastfeeding class that I voluntarily attended and hearing the substitute instructor open with, "There is no TRY in breastfeeding. Either you do, or you don't." Not the words that someone predisposed to anxiety needed to hear. She may well have titled the class Breastfeeding: Ride or Die. Incidentally, this instructor also dissed the choice of mint green for a nursery, not knowing that the Benjamin Moore Spring Mint had barely dried on my nursery walls. I didn't take offense, mint isn't for everyone ;) but I definitely didn't feel inspired by her approach.

While I was recovering from labor, I met the lactation coach who normally teaches the class, and I feel confident that her approach would have been a bit gentler. She's actually the reason I stuck with breastfeeding, because she cheerfully answered a million questions, many at ungodly hours, long after I was discharged from the hospital. She encouraged me when things inevitably got very, very bumpy, and she even had me bring Iris in for a feeding so we could weigh her throughout to see if she was receiving plenty of milk during a feeding (she was).  

Because Iris was born just shy of 37 weeks, she hadn't quite mastered the ability to latch, so we struggled just to get the basics of breastfeeding down for almost a month. I took to using a clever gadget called a nipple shield to help her, and I went nowhere without it. Come to think of it, that on a silver chain could have been a swell trophy for this accomplishment. ;) Thankfully, we dropped the shield after a couple of weeks. and I get to celebrate with a much prettier necklace, which I'll unveil below.

I also managed to plow through painful mastitis, probably like many other breastfeeding mamas. If you haven't heard of it, it's inflammation of the breast due to infection. It feels pretty horrible and comes with a free side of flu-like symptoms. A round of antibiotics, a lot of time spent on the heating pad or taking hot showers, and these amazing gel thingies work wonders for the problem. Thankfully I only got it one time, though I dealt with plenty of clogged ducts as well, which are absolutely as fun and exciting as they sound.

It was really clear to me early on why so many mamas give up on breastfeeding. Nursing for a year is a milestone that only 17% of women reach, thanks largely to time commitment, workplace hassles, nursing difficulties, and lack of support at home. And on top of it all, a weary, sleep-deprived new mother doesn't always have the wherewithal to be patient with herself or baby when she's undernourished, overly-exhausted, and feels like a prize dairy cow. Even with Josh being really supportive, I spent plenty of nights crying and ready to say, "Forget this!" because I felt like I was failing at something that was supposed to be natural. A friend texted me some encouragement. She said that I needed to give myself and Iris some grace because we were both learning a new skill. That helped. And it's a useful tenet for so many things. This simple message has been really helpful to apply to all the things Iris has learned and will learn to do like rolling over, crawling, walking, talking, saying her name, feeding herself with a spoon, and eventually potty training. Give yourself some grace. Grace as a first-time mom who has no clue what she is doing and grace to a baby girl who is doing every single thing for the first time in her little life. That nugget of wisdom and a pretty strong stubborn streak kept me going.

When I went back to work, I managed to stick with my plans to breastfeed by pumping in the privacy of my office, which is pretty cushy compared to the life of anyone who shares an office or works in a cube and has to haul her pump to a broom closet three times a day. It was pretty inconvenient lugging a pump and bottles and a mini cooler everywhere, for sure, but I had an office door that locked and my own mini fridge. Still there were coworkers who made inappropriate jokes and bosses who didn't make it the easiest or most comfortable thing, but thankfully there are laws that support my choice to nurse my baby, so I slugged it out, many times forgetting pump parts and having to improvise in some way or make an unexpected Target run during lunch. I also pumped while I drove to and from work sometimes if I had a particularly busy day and couldn't squeeze in enough pump breaks. And thankfully I only had one episode of leaking when I couldn't get my pump break in on time. A quick shirt change and all was fine.

There were many days where I barely pumped enough to feed Iris for the next workday, which only added to my stress and mom-guilt. Some mornings I woke up early to pump in order to meet the minimum amount needed, but thankfully there was always enough.  If you aren't really familiar with how it works, some moms have an abundance of milk and are able to store lots of it in the freezer while some of us are considered "just enoughers," only producing the minimum without a comfy cushion to sock away for times when we can't be around. Suffice it to say that whether you produce plenty or barely enough, pumping is probably one of the least enjoyable things ever. Not as invasive as a trip to the OBGYN or anything, but just not that fun to deal with.

All that womp-womping aside, somewhere around the fourth month of breastfeeding, I started to get the hang of it and actually enjoy the time I spent, not tethered to a pump that seemed to keep chanting "broccoli, broccoli" as it whirred and swished, but the times when I actually nursed Iris. Even in the middle of the night, it wasn't a terrible inconvenience because it gave us a much-appreciated chance to be snuggly. And as Iris got more active and playful, nursing sessions really were the only time that I could count on her to be still and quiet. Nursing also became a break for me, a chance to nestle into my comfy rocking chair put my feet up on the ottoman and just REST for a few glorious minutes. I didn't spend every moment of every feeding gazing at Iris with adoration, I confess. There were plenty of times that I used nursing sessions to check emails, scroll through social feeds, and do waaaay too much online shopping.   

I actually was fortunate to enjoy the blessing of a late-teething baby, so I didn't have to endure the scary shark-tooth baby of my nightmares. Iris didn't cut a first tooth until around 16 months, and while we still nurse some, she's pretty attached to solid foods these days, especially avocado, cheese, yogurt, and tay-toes, aka French fries. #momwin.

To celebrate reaching my goal of breastfeeding for one year, I touched base with Meg of Made by Meg to choose a piece from her collection as a means of patting myself on the back for a really tough challenge completed. Meg offered me something even better by designing a custom piece for me!! I was so touched when she said that a stylish gal like me deserved a unique piece. And I was so excited to receive several sketches to choose from. Meg and I both were drawn to one of the four designs in particular, and it turned out that Meg loved the design so much that she decided to include it in Prism, her wildly new colorful collection of seaglass jewelry. As if  that wasn't enough (but wait, there's more!), Meg asked if I minded bringing my colorful wardrobe and modeling some of the new line for her.

Aside: I say this all the time: I did NOT get into blogging to be a model. I'm now a stay at home mom and am hardly ever camera ready or even showered for that matter. I'm mostly here to help you feel more put together and stylish through advice and great finds. But when Meg excitedly invited me to show off her new creations, I couldn't say no to being her jewelry model, grown-out roots be darned.

The shoot would be the first time I would see my beautiful milestone necklace, which Meg affectionately named the Nurture Necklace. Ready to see it?

Ta-da! I. Love. It.

Here's what's behind the design: I selected Blue Jay and Tropical Aqua stones, from Meg's Prism collection, for my necklace, because aqua is a favorite color of mine, and Iris is my blue-eyed baby who incidentally wears blue beautifully. I feel like these two colors represent us well and look harmonious together. The sterling silver ring around the stones (that lovingly lean against each other if I do say so), represents that all-important Grace that mother and baby owe each other when figuring out the new skill of breastfeeding. As we continue on, I see that same grace being applied as we discover the many ways that we are different and learn to navigate those differences while still being bonded together. How's that for sweet, sappy, and introspective? All that aside, it's also a cool looking design, one that I would wear if it had no sentimental quality to it. Lucky for me, I get to wear a piece that embodies both style and substance in one, and you can too.

Meg's Prism collection, which the Nurture Necklace is part of, is just my style: punchy, vibrant pops of color. These pieces are actually genuine white sea glass that have been colorized via a unique and top secret process that Meg and hubby Jon have worked tirelessly to achieve for a long time. In short, this new process allows them to offer bright, colorful genuine sea glass jewelry without having to factor in rarity like they do with traditional sea glass colors. Certain colors are more rare and are therefore very expensive. Here, all colors are the same price whether you want Canary Yellow or Hot Pink. This is especially nice when you're someone who always has expensive taste. Here, you don't have to settle for your third favorite color due to price, which is a joy. (For example, a hot pink piece of sea glass spit out by the ocean could cost you $800 because that color is so rare. A white piece of sea glass colorized hot pink with Meg's process is more attainable at $58-78.)

Here are the official colors, splitting the picture below into three rows:
top: coral, blue jay, tropical aqua
middle: purple rain, dreamsicle, kiwi lime
bottom: hot pink, canary yellow

You know what's extra amazing about Meg? She pays attention to details. After seeing an Instagram post about my hope that Iris might become the fifth generation of left-handed ladies in my family line, Meg took it upon herself to swap the clasp on my necklace so it would be compatible with my south-paw. That's the level of thoughtful customer service you get with Meg on top of wearable art that is so beautiful and unique.

Here you can see the cuff bracelet, ring, and earrings in Tropical Aqua. It's definitely a favorite color of mine.

Meg also knows how much Iris loves bubbles and came prepared at the shoot with bubbles to blow and a brand new Minnie Mouse toy for Iris to play with. It's now her current fave toy and often manages to sneak into the crib at night.

Here's a sampling of some of my favorite pics from the shoot.  

Want to know something extra cool? In all of these shoot pics, I had NO CLUE yet that I was pregnant with Baby Dean, my sweet and second baby who I am presently enjoying a healthy breastfeeding journey with! It's been much easier this second time around, though not without some struggles. Another update? Meg's Prism line is over a year old and has grown to offer so many more colors and even gorgeous gradients. Check them out  HERE

Canary Yellow 

Here's the Valley necklace, a cool design with two stones on a curved branch. You can choose any color stones from the Prism collection. 

Tropical Aqua 


Hot Pink (one of my personal faves)

 Blue Jay (I wear this stunning ring all the time!)


Kiwi Lime

Purple Rain


  1. I love everything about this post. I laughed, I cried. I had the same anxiety about breastfeeding which turned me into an overzealous overpumper in the HR binder closet of my office. I considered selling breastmilk for profit. However, the nursing kept me going too and after 14 months, and my daughter wanting to party all night drinking the house white, I decided we were done. I love that you have a gorgeous necklace to remind you of the special time 💕

    1. Aww, laughter and tears! :) Bless MC and her addiction to the house white. We really need to wean so feel free to throw me some tips. I'm ready to declare last call.

  2. Sara! Where do I start. I guess CONGRATULATIONS! What an amazing milestone and accomplishment for you and Iris. It was such an honor and privilege to have you as our model for this new jewelry line. The Nurture necklace is one that will always be my favorite not only because of the fun design, but the meaning behind it. Thank you so much to you and Iris for the inspiration. For the record... Clara's room is also mint green. ;)

    1. That Clara-- such good taste! ;) We are so grateful to you for your offer to create a special design to celebrate our breastfeeding journey. I just love it so much and it makes me happy to wear it.