We had the good fortune of connecting with Monica Cardone and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Monica, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
After “playing it safe” most of my life, I took the small risk of saying yes to hiking the medieval pilgrimage across northern Spain called The Camino de Santiago de Compostela with a girlfriend in 2014. After hiking those 500 miles, One of the most valuable lessons I learned is that “fear” is a bad advisor…it can keep you small and not expressing the whole of who you are. I mean, we all know fear can keep us safe in certain situations right? That’s a good thing, but I’m talking more about the fear of not doing something only because you don’t know how, or you don’t think you’re good enough, or whatever your excuse is. What I started thinking to myself when faced with a decision, I asked myself, “Are you saying no because you are afraid? Because you’ve never done this before? Because you don’t know how? Because of what others might say or think about you?” If my answer was tending to a no just because I was fearful of the above, I make myself take the risk and say YES to push through the fear if the opportunity was something I wanted to do with a full heart. It’s completely the reason that I find myself where I am today…living between Florence, Italy and California, sharing the wonders of Italy at my creative workshops/retreats as well as making jewelry for those that dig my one-of-a-kind style and connect with the natural wonders of the sea.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
What keeps me busy professionally these days is the challenge of running my own business online in this age of digital marketing and connecting. I am busy making, promoting, and marketing my jewelry as well as marketing the workshops and retreats I host in Italy. There are so many creative ideas I want to pursue with both of those ventures, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time for it all! But step by step, I just work towards the next good thing.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Only a WEEK? I’d want a whole month! There’s so much to see and do! If I had to whittle it down to a week then I would focus on a few key things. Of course being a beach fanatic, the beaches are a must, right? Right. I’d take them snorkeling to La Jolla cove and then a bit of beachcombing and sea glass hunting at Shell Beach right around the corner, maybe even teach them to surf at La Jolla shores. Next up, we’re hiking to Potato Chip Rock at the Mt Woodson summit in north San Diego county. You can even see the Pacific Ocean from there! Then, a super fun day would be riding bikes around Balboa Park stopping at museum’s and the myriad of interesting things to do there. We’d have to do a “Rock/Paper/Scissors” game to choose what to do first. Are we tired yet? Ok, ok…this day we cruise to Solana Beach for a chill morning grabbing a coffee and bite at Barefoot Coffee Roasters on Cedros Avenue. Then we casually cruise all the stores on this street before stopping in to Wild Note Cafe for a scrumptious lunch. Of course I’d have to take an afternoon side trip to downtown San Diego’s Little Italy to get our Italy fix. We’ll grab a glass of wine to start at Vino Carta and then head over to Davanti Enoteca for a nice traditional Italian dinner. I hope I didn’t wear them out so much that they need a vacation from their vacation!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Big shout out to my metalsmithing mentor Deb Jemmott who gave me the support, encouragement, and mentorship that was the foundation to where I am today with my jewelry and Metalsmiths in Florence workshops. Also to my girlfriend Mitzi who invited me to join her on the Camino de Santiago which was the tipping point to changing my life for the best!

Website: www.ciaomonica.com

Instagram: @ciaomonica_

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Artist/Ciao-Monica-185284801513066/

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