Imperfect in The Most Perfect Way

IMG_1272My sisters and I grew up in the seventies and eighties. Our mother stayed home and took care of the house while my father worked. There was never allotted “quality time” with her but there was a great deal to be learned by just being with her and we took full advantage of that. When she spent hours tethered by a phone cord to the kitchen wall, gabbing with her pals, we learned the importance of friendship. When she ran the Sugar Shack at the Little League field, we learned about business. When she decided to create a committee to block development in the woods across the street from our house, we learned about civic duty. When she clipped coupons and mailed in rebates for eighteen months to save for a trip to Disney, we learned about budgets and when she dropped everything to make out with our father every time he walked in the door, we learned how to treat our husbands.

When many years later we learned that she was dying we learned that we weren’t ready to live without our mother. We sat by her bed and cried for days until we looked at our faces in the mirror and learned that if we didn’t stop crying we would look like old women before our time. But our hearts wouldn’t let our eyes stop crying and we laid on her bed and cried so much she yelled at us to stop and get off of her because her nightgown was getting soaked. She died three months later and we learned how fragile life is and how important it is to say I love you. It’s difficult to describe the feeling of losing your Mom. There are no words to describe a person that has lost their mother  like widow or orphan. The word “un-mothered” comes very close and maybe “motherless” is even better. The motherless us learned what it’s like to have our roots ripped from the earth and the importance of letting them take hold again so we could continue to survive.

Recently I heard someone call my mother a saint. I felt obligated to correct them. She was not a saint and to remember her as one would be be to remember her incorrectly. She wasn’t a saint, we knew it and she knew it. She did the best she could. She was kind, she worked hard, she loved her kids and her husband, she laughed at the top of her lungs, she smoked, she flew off the handle, she had a ton of friends that distracted her from other things, she made horrible coffee, she yelled, she was opinionated. She wasn’t perfect. She was much better than that. She was imperfect in the most perfect way and that we have come to learn is a perfect way to be.

When our mother earned her angel wings I wrote her eulogy and shared it at her funeral.      IMG_3093 It’s titled Full Moon in Aries on the Autumn Equinox and is posted in a separate entry on this blog. It shares many poignant and hilarious moments in her life and I believe she would have thought it was perfect.


– Katerina Cavanagh

Earthbound Motherless

When I imagine her she’s always sitting at a kitchen table I don’t recognize. Her dress is white and shapeless, nothing that would make it memorable. Her wings are casually tucked behind her, resting on the back of a standard issue wooden kitchen chair. She has her left leg tucked up underneath her and her right leg crossed over that knee. She is barefoot and I can see the skin of her legs.   I imagine her smoking a cigarette, because my earthly mind believes that our heavenly souls certainly must be much more capable of handling the joy that comes with addiction than these fragile human shells we carry them around in. This cigarette is just giving her the pleasure that kept her human self from being able to stop and not hurting her in any way.
There are other angel mothers there. They come to sit with her at her table. They are all dressed similarly, comfortable with their wings. They drink coffee or sip wine and laugh and gossip about us with our ridiculous worries and our ridiculous expectations of ourselves and of others. Stuck in our human shells, wingless souls at the mercy of our addictions and everything else on this earth. Occasionally their visit is interrupted, one of them will stop laughing for a moment to hear a softly spoken whisper from earth reaching across the universe.  If only you were here Mom I would know. If only I could talk to you, I would know that it might be ok …. If only you were here. If only you had never left. If. Only. You had never left. I would be ok.
The others take a break from their chattering for a moment to give the listener a chance to hear.  They fold their wings in closer to their own hearts to feel their perfect angelness and to give thanks for the peace they have at the table. They wish there was more time to share. But the earthbound Motherless never stop sending their whispers.   would know that it might be ok …. If only you were here. If only you had never left. If. Only. You had never left. I would be ok.
The others take a break from their chattering for a moment to give the listener a chance to hear.  They fold their wings in closer to their own hearts to feel their perfect angelness and to give thanks for the peace they have at the table. They wish there was more time to share. But the earthbound Motherless never stop sending their whispers.
Happy Mother’s Day.
Katerina Cavanagh

Pearl Crush Giveaway!


Enter to WIN a $50 eGift Card to Simply fill in  the required fields and put your crush, sweetheart, or true love in the comments!

Pearl Crush Promo and Give Away!


Save $25 each on the following single pearl designs:


Single Bracelet Regular Price: $100 – Pearl Crush Price: $75


Single Earrings Regular price: $125 – Pearl Crush price: $100fwn-coastal-single-white-75jpg

Single Necklace Regular Price: $75 Pearl Crush Price: $50

MUST USE CODE: CRUSH25 at checkout





one of three (3) $50 eGift Cards – Just enter your “Crush”, your love, or sweetheart in the comments!


Valentine’s Day Gift Guide 2017❤️


Wendy’s Valentine’s Day Gift Guide
Who needs a guy! I’ve got a “Pearl Crush”!

Fall in love with Wendy Mignot Fine Pearls + Leather Jewelry this Valentine’s Day and stand out. You definitely won’t find these in the mall! Each piece is handcrafted by the designer and made in the USA. With over 250 different necklaces, bracelets, anklets and earrings to choose from there’s something sure to fill that Crush!

If you are new to the Mignot Tribe here are a few tips from Wendy Mignot, the artist, to keep in mind when selecting the perfect Wendy Pearls piece.

She says there are 3 ways of looking at this:

Your size, your style, and of course your budget based on your relationship.

Your size: 

Wendy Mignot offers sizes from 14″ chokers to very long strands of pearls. Go with what looks best on you. Taller girls can really rock some of the longer pearls and you petite girls can make a single pearl stand out like a star all on its own! Check out the “Illusion” necklace.


Your Style:

Are you conservative or do you have a gypsy spirit, if you’re like most you’re somewhere in the middle.

The all Around the world, our take on a classic strand of pearls is perfect for the office.

The Mosey, Synergy, or any of the “Rain” pieces are a great go-to piece for dinner and drinks.

The single, three and five pearl designs are easily worn every day for going to your kids games, and all the things that busy moms do.


For the Boho girl, the “One Eye Love” Collection is inspirational and the “Gypsy” Collection with its mix of gems and pearls is artsy and unique.


Your Budget and Relationship: 

Your personal relationship and the extent of your crush should determine your Valentine’s Day budget. From our Coastal collection with pieces starting at $75 to our Society Collection with the rarest of South Sea and Tahitian pearls, saying how much you mean is easy.


Artists Choice: 

Wendy has designed several “Versatile” pieces, the “Wendy Signature” design as well as the “Versatile 4, 6 or 8 Pearl” necklace can be worn multiple ways which make them great pieces to begin your pearl+ leather collection and satisfy that Pearl Crush.


Jewelry Size:

Always be sure to check what size you are. for a necklace or bracelet (just measure your favorite piece of jewelry) …and remember that earrings fit everyone.

After all Pearls + Leather = True Love Forever!




YOU CAN WIN ONE OF THREE (3) $50 eGift Cards – Just enter your “Crush” in the comments!

❤️Winners announced February 14th❤️


Fall 2016

Dear Tribe,

Summer ends, and Autumn comes, and he who would have it otherwise would have high tides always and a full moon every night; and thus he would never know the rhythms that are at the heart of life. -Hal Borland

After a summer of sailing the Caribbean with Jean Noel, followed by a retreat and trunk show at Blackberry Farm, I am now home in South Walton. I delight in the arrival of the fall season, a quieter time of peace and reflection. I hope that you too had an enjoyable, fun-filled summer and this correspondence finds you and your family well.

I wanted to take this opportunity to share our latest news:

Cowboys & Indians Magazine, Western Fashions for Fall, ” Fall Into Winter” featuring the Bora Bora Collection, October Issue

Billboard Magazine, July Issue

Western & English Today Magazine, May Issue

Tribune Review, May 2016

You may have seen Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line wearing Wendy Mignot Designs on his “Dig Your Roots” Fall Tour as he appeared on Good Morning America, The Today Show and TheTonight Show.

Maddie and Tae, the American female country music duo, are also rocking Wendy Pearls.

Now available at in the FusionBora Bora and Society Collections
Watch for Breast Cancer Awareness limited edition design “Pink Tata’s” to benefit Seymour Pink in October
And don’t forget there are a number of exclusive and one-of-a-kind pieces that are showcased at La Vie Est Belle, Seaside, FL
We are looking West this season-California, Colorado, Arizona  in particular. Send us your favorite boutiques in these regions who you would like to see showcase Wendy Mignot Fine Pearls + Leather Jewelry®. Please email: ANNIVERSARY!
Thanks to you, it is with great pleasure that we announce the two year anniversary of With countless 5 star reviews, we are so grateful to you, our friends and collectors for the success of the eBoutique. To celebrate this milestone and to thank you, we are offering 15% off the entire eBoutique beginning today. September 15-30! Promo Code: 2YEAR15SAVE THE DATES
Jean Noel and I have been preparing for the busy season ahead and look forward to sharing our plans in anticipation of:
 November 25, Black Friday
 November 26, Small Business Saturday
 November 28, Cyber Monday
Congratulations to the winners of our Pearls Around the World Photo Contest -Amber Scruggs, Alexis Guillery, Rebecca Adkins and Stephanie Craig! With over 400 entries, I am over the top, seeing you enjoy your lives while traveling. Thank you for the beautiful photos, all the votes, and for sharing a part of your life with us. For new contests and giveaways and all things “Pearly” get social with us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and now, Snapchat!I hope the change of seasons brings a calmness and warmth to you and your family.Life is beautiful, 

Where Are They Now: Callie Clark-Wood

My name is Callie Clark-Wood. I worked at La Vie Est Belle as a sales associate in 2011 and 2012 while I was working  on my master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction in Reading and Language Arts at FSU in Panama City. For part of that time, I was also working as a research assistant for the Florida Center for Reading Research.

View More:
Lesley Isacks Photography and Chryseis Golden

Currently, I am a third grade teacher at Butler Elementary School. Since working at La Vie, I have taught 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade. This is currently the start of my fifth year teaching. I hope to one day become a reading or curriculum coach, but want to have at least a couple more years’ experience in the classroom before taking on this type of position.

A teacher affects eternity; she can never tell where her influence stops”  – Henry Adams

View More:
Lesley Isacks Photography and Chryseis Golden

The most beneficial skill I gained from working at La Vie Est Belle, was to learn to connect with everyone I met. All types of people from all over the world are drawn to Wendy’s designs and I always tried to find a connection with each of them in order to personalize their experience at the gallery. It was a great skill to develop and I now use that in many aspects of my life and current career.

The first piece I got was a pink versatile necklace. I was always the person that wore my traditional strand of pearls with everything, even jeans and a t-shirt. Before I even worked for Wendy, I went into the gallery. When I saw the unique design, and the beautiful color, I knew I had to have it and saved for weeks to make it happen. It was the first “real purchase” I made after graduating from college and trying to make it on my own.

View More:
Lesley Isacks Photography and Chryseis Golden

If I could say anything to Wendy, I would say thank you for welcoming me at a time when I really wanted to make a change in my life and go back to school for my master’s degree. I felt supported and know that she has never stopped rooting for me.

View More:
Lesley Isacks Photography and Chryseis Golden

The beautiful  Callie is just the beginning of this stroll down memory lane. Stay tuned to see who is next!

Much Love,

Blakney B


Where Are They Now?

Over the years La Vie Est Belle has been the stepping stone for many on their lives journey.    The employees of La Vie Est Belle, like the jewelry, are all one of a kind. They bring something to the store that is beautiful and welcoming. They bridge  the gap between the customer and the jewelry, and through that bridge relationships are formed.

12439272_1081733208567268_4401088158525591557_nTo the employees La Vie Est Belle isn’t just a job, it isn’t a place that you go because you have to, and it isn’t a place that makes you feel like you don’t matter. La Vie Est Belle is a home, it is somewhere that you know that no matter how long you were gone that you are always welcome back. No questions asked. It is a building block, a place that will shape you into the person that you always wanted to be. A place where you can go if you need support. A family, people that will support you and have your back no matter what. The kind of family that thrives on being different. At La Vie Est Belle we are anything but “cookie cutter,” we accept everyone and love unconditionally. 148572_416643041742958_215075084_n

I myself have been an employee of La Vie Est Belle for many years, over those years I have had the opportunity to create friendships that I will cherish for the rest of my life. During this time I  began to notice something, and it started to weigh on my mind. Customers are always curious as to “what happened” to that one special person that sold them their first or their most treasured piece of jewelry.


“The journey of a thousand miles began with one step”


Well for those of you who have been asking, your wait is over. I am going to reach out to past La Vie Est Belle employees and find out just “Where Are They Now?” This is going to be an ongoing blog that will reach into the lives of those special employees that have helped to develop La Vie Est Belle into the business that we all know and love. I ask that you join me on this stroll down memory lane, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!

Much Love,

Blakney B

What it Means to Join Our Tribe


In a quiet little town located off the beaten path in Santa Rosa Beach, two artists with a unique passion and a love for life set foot on a journey that would impact the lives of people throughout the country.


Have you ever wanted to feel apart of something bigger than you? To have had the feeling that no matter where you come from or what you do that thousands of other people share the same passions as you? Well that is only the tip of what it means to join our tribe.



About three years ago my family and I were in New York City, we were casually walking down 5th Avenue when this woman kept staring at me. Curious as to why she was continuing to stare at me I said “Hey, how are you?” You could tell that I caught her off guard, and she responded with “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to stare. I was just wondering if those were Wendy Pearls.” It immediately brought a smile to my face and we shared the connection then went on our way. In the eight years that I myself have been apart of the “tribe” this has happened so many times and I have made connections with such a variety of people that I began to feel apart of something that was in fact much bigger than I.


Throughout the years of working in the store I have seen first hand the impact Wendy Mignot Designs have had on the lives of others. I have seen little girls who save their money from lemonade stands and dog walking come in to purchase their designs, I have seen relationships form and traditions be made. Each and every time a design was being purchased a new love was found. When you stop and think about how special just a simple (or extravagant, in some cases) piece of jewelry can make someone feel it is incredible.

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

Over the years there have been many different artists that have made their own replication of the pearls and leather jewelry, but when it comes to the Wendy Mignot Designs there is no comparison. Its more than just a business, or selling the jewelry to make a quick buck. It’s about making a connection, giving someone a small piece of happiness and expanding the La Vie Est Belle family. If you take a walk around seaside you will see these pearls everywhere you turn. On seaside employees, on little girls and boys running around the amphitheater, on men and women, we have something for everyone!

If you have never had the chance to experience this, I “DARE YOU” to give it a try. You will not regret it, if you don’t take my word for it than you can ask just about anyone in seaside. It’s a love affair you will be able to treasure for the rest of your life.



“Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Waffles”

IMG_8899“Welcome to Waffle House!” yells the visor donned grill cook. Ahh the old familiar noise I know all too well. The sizzle of the bacon, clanging of the pans and the smell of old coffee will always resonate with me in form of my time in the South. It all started two years ago when I made a quick jump down to Panama City for a month or two to enjoy the sun and better yet, great company. I was shacking up with my Aunt Wendy and Uncle Jean at the time thinking, as most would, that the beach would be the paradise I would come to love. Little did I know, just a hop, skip and a jump away from the house was a paradise one could not even begin imagine known to all as the infamous Waffle House. One night, after a swim in the crisp gulf water, my cousins and I decided to go grab some chow. Violet and Zak decided that it was high time I had myself some breakfast. Oh man, they could not have been more right. Walking past the Winn Dixie, we came around the corner and there it was…those big, bright yellow blocks with bold black font, almost iconic of a southern road trip. We sat at the counter, right in front of the grill, and dined on what some would say was way too much food. Since that glorious day, I feel as if I have been on a mission to make up for lost waffle time. Through this breakfast food marathon of sorts, I have successfully honed down my order to almost a rehearsed script and know exactly how much money, down to the cent, I am going to need.

Here’s the thing about Waffle House food; you can’t think about it. Calorie counters and food snobs should steer clear if only to avoid an experience that will haunt them for lives to come. It’s deliciously greasy, salty and if you add syrup, which you should, sweet in all the right ways. Today as I chow down on some smothered hash browns (covered in day old chili, for the curious), perfect over-easy eggs, and butter soaked wheat toast (gotta stay healthy), I can’t help but think about all the times when my awesome cousin, Violet, and I would stop there late night just because we were driving by. We could be on our way to dinner and still make a twenty-minute pit stop to sit at the counter and eat our way through an Allstar breakfast, laughing the whole way through. Being from the North, the waffle house isn’t all about the southern breakfast but more of the unique experience you cannot get in any other restaurant. So, my friends, I invite you to take that simple right turn of f highway 98 and get yourself not only some good grub but an experience with a friend that will last forever.


IMG_8898I would just like to dedicate this to my cousin and great friend Violeta aka V. She will forever be my Waffle House buddy and I wouldn’t imagine going there without her.

-Frank “Cheech” Cavanagh