The saying "live life with no regrets" has always seemed unrealistic, but Adina Mills of Adina Mills Designhouse, has found a way to embody this mantra in an almost enviable way. If there were one word to describe Adina it would be "rad"--a word she used quite often during our interview in Central Park. She is a snowboarder, dancer, animal lover, sister, girlfriend, traveler...oh and did I mention jewelry designer? She hand makes incredible rings and necklaces, as well as other eye-catching pieces, out of all natural rocks and clay.Her jewelry is powerful but part of the strength comes from her story. Adina grew up in California, eventually receiving a bachelors degree in Santa Barbara. She was unsure of her direction upon graduation and eventually decided to go back to school to get her teaching credentials. She started with art classes and at one point enrolled in a sculpture class--a class that introduced her to a professor who introduced her to the material she now uses to make her jewelry.
Adina makes everything by hand, from mixing materials to molding the clay around the rock, to the spray painting of each ring and all the additional detailed work that completes every piece. She hand picks every rock and has been doing so for over five years now. One of the most interesting parts about her designing, however, is the setting in which she works, and that setting would be... her motor home. Yes, she lives in a motor home and if I fully claimed Adina as a New York transplant I would be partially lying because, while she spends a majority of time in the city (where she hopes to someday settle), she truly has no home base.Adina has been traveling now for almost two years but fate had plans for her trip around the country long before she even knew. After finishing school and pursuing jewelry making on the side, Adina managed a hair salon in California. Every Tuesday she was free from work to dog-sit for her sister. One afternoon fate kicked in as she decided to head to the beach with her sisters dog. The muggy and ultimately overcast weather led her, and her sisters dog to a local coffee shop. While standing in line she locked eyes with a guy who ended up talking to her about the jewelry she was wearing (jewelry of her own design of course). Adina's minute conversation with the attractive guy (named Miles) turned into a three hour afternoon rendezvous. Sooner than later they moved in together and Miles's dream of traveling became Adina's own. They saved money and planned for three years. Now, five years later, they have been on the road for two years in their 1977 motor home named Journey.
And if you ask Adina--what a journey it has been as they have been "rockin'" and "rollin'" everywhere from New Mexico to Arkansas to Texas to Tennessee and more. They have made friends with "rad" people including a redneck toothless woman and her boyfriend in middle America to old folk retirees who are part of the Rock and Mineral Club that Miles and Adina belong to in Quartzsite, Arizona. Their original plan to travel for only two years has since changed as they are incredibly happy and loving the "journey" they are on together. When they do settle, however, Adina would love to do so in New York with a possible studio or storefront in Brooklyn in an up and coming neighborhood.New York, after all, is where Adina's heart is. At the beginning of her traveling, Miles and she spent time in Connecticut. Adina would travel to New York from Connecticut every two weeks to meet with stores and network with people with hopes of really jumpstarting her jewelry business. She spent a lot of time at flea markets directly selling to people and sharing with them the soul of her work (which she still loves to do). Her hard work paid off as she is now able to find primary support from her passion. Since then, she has had some major successes, one of which being Shopbop selling her product online (you can find here). While she describes her work for Shopbop as fairly grueling, it was extremely beneficial in finding her exposure and, ultimately, helping her and Miles buy a new "fully-contained" motor home.Besides hopefully permanently ending up in New York, what is in store for Adina? Like I mentioned before she is a huge animal lover and would love to make a special line of animal rescue rings, donating a portion of the profits. She and Miles are in no rush to the alter but her previous work with kids has heightened her interest in possible adoption. One thing is for certain--she is in love. "It was really love at first sight," Adina said. If it werent for Miles she would not be traveling, let alone pursuing her passion for jewelry making at its current level. "When you have love like this," Adina explained, "you feel like you can do anything--like anything is possible."Adina's love for life, her passion for travel and the arts, and the deep connection she shares with Miles really makes it seem like anything is possible as long as you open yourself to what the world has to offer. She is so easygoing and genuine to talk to, and in such a career oriented, hard working city, it is refreshing to listen to someone who has found the ability to satisfy all her passions just by taking a chance. "As far as we know it," she said, "we only have one time around--so do what you want to do because if you want something bad enough, you will find a way to make it happen."