Beauty of the Southwest Through the Eyes of DeeDee Hawash


Hi, everyone! I’ve been thinking a lot about what my first blog post should be, and after finding a moment alone from my kids and recharging my brain in a recent impromptu vacation with my husband I finally got it! I’ll tell you a little bit about me and how I started Pink Camel Boutique, share a few things that inspire me and how each is instrumental in selecting every piece of jewelry that Pink Camel Boutique has to offer.

Pink Camel Boutique…How it started

I’ve always been so absolutely in love with fashion and art. I will always remember crafting on the weekends with my mom, going to summer art camps, and never falling behind on the latest trends in fashion. It was no surprise that when it came time for college I would seek something to fulfill my passion. I was lucky enough to attend the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in LA where I graduated with a degree in Visual Communications.

While in school I had the privilege of working backstage at some of the top fashion shows in LA (like Chanel, Missoni, and Juicy Couture) and it was an amazing experience. I also had the opportunity to intern for a showroom where I learned the wholesale side of the business. I then went on to work for one of the showrooms top jewelry designers. The internship taught me so much about the fashion world including working with celebrities, stylists, and media publishers. For a while, I thought about being an event planner, but soon after all these experiences, I fell in love with a different dream – opening my own boutique!

When I met my husband, Jamal, he introduced me to a style of jewelry that I grew up with seeing here in the Southwest but never knew much about. His family has worked with Native American Jewelry in retail and wholesale for over 30 years. Most recently, the family business moved to Gallup, NM what some call the mecca of Indian Jewelry. There they work with Navajo designers to create the most beautiful Navajo Inlay Jewelry around. After learning more about the craft and culture behind the artists and their beautiful jewelry I knew I wanted to showcase something that is so special to the Southwest, the place I get to call home! This was (and still is!) perfect – I got to start something I could manage while staying home with my kids and fulfill my love for art, fashion, and styling.

After I was certain of the direction of my boutique, I still needed to choose the name. I wanted something truly beautiful and inspiring. As a native to Arizona, I’ve been blessed with seeing so many amazing sunsets and the colors of the sky. Being able to see pinks and purples at dusk and dawn is just amazing, it makes my heart skip every time. Another thing I wanted to incorporate in the name of the boutique was one of the most important and romantic moments of my life – my husband proposed to me on Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona. This played a big part in inspiring the name and thus Pink Camel Boutique was born!

Starting my own boutique also gave me the chance to make my own jewelry.

Image of Sedona, AZ in the Southwest.

Sedona, AZ.

What always inspires me is the beauty of the Southwest. If you’ve never traveled to the Southwest, you may only envision blowing dust and dry air. What you are missing is the sunsets that seem to paint the skies with yellow, orange, purple and pink, the beautiful hot pink blooms on the Cactus in the Spring, and Mountains so red you might think they are fake!

My favorite pieces to make are my suede and turquoise wraps and silver hoops. I love the mixture of textures and metals. But I am not alone in this endeavor – at Pink Camel Boutique, I work with a variety of designers. I source one of a kind jewelry directly from them and showcase their work. Collaborating with the artist themselves is very important to me!

Another thing that I love doing is finding different ways to photograph all the jewelry. Artistic expression through finding the best ways to present the jewelry is a very fulfilling experience.

I am so blessed to do something I truly love and that I get to share my passion with all of you. So, let me share with you some of the sights and some of the beauties of the Southwest that always inspire me:

Southwest Native American Culture

First of all, the coasts are not the be all and all when it comes to discovering the natures of America. I love a good beach, but nothing can compare to the natural beauty of Arizona.

Business owner in Nogales, Mexico.

Nogales, Mexico with my Mom and Dad.

Growing up I remember taking family road trips all over through Arizona, California, and even South of the Border to Mexico! We visited the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest National Park, Red Rock State Park, and so many sights that would just make your heart stop. Honestly, it can be overwhelming. When you look at what nature has made and realize that you are nothing more than a small part of this magnificent world – there is just no feeling like it.

Image of business owner and her mother at the grand canyon.

My Mom and I at The Grand Canyon.

What’s even more amazing about the Southwest is the Native American culture thriving throughout the area. It’s home to many tribes – Apache, Hopi, Navajo, Pueblo, and Zuni. Each tribe has their own unique culture and traditions, but there are some similarities between them.

This area holds many natural resources, one of them is Turquoise. This stone, also known as or “Doo tl’ izh ii” in Navajo, is common in Native American jewelry. My personal favorite is the Sleeping Beauty Turquoise. It even sounds like it’s straight out of a fairytale! The stone is pure sky blue and is extracted from the Sleeping Beauty Mine in Globe, Arizona. The mountain this mine is located in got its charming name because it looks like a sleeping woman laying on her back with her hands crossed over her chest.

I use only the best stones in my wraps, pendants, and earrings – the Sleeping Beauty is one that I love to use!

So, what other treasures does the Southwest hold?

The Grand Canyon

View from the train.

Mom and I on a train tour near the Grand Canyon.

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting these majestic cliffs, you know it only takes a second to feel the power of this natural phenomenon. Some may find it scary, but nearly everyone is blown away in awe.

Take a walk over the Skywalk located in the Grand Canyon West. There is nothing like seeing the immense power of nature while standing on the very edge of the Canyon.

You can ride a Century old Locomotive with the Grand Canyon Railway! When I was younger, my parents took my brother and I on this train. It was such an experience, and we felt like we were in the Wild West!


Chapel of The Holy Crossing Sedona, AZ with my Mom and Grandma (dad’s mom).

The Red Rocks of Sedona, Arizona

There is no word other than amazing to describe the Red Rocks. The whole area is steeped in history and beauty. The first humans to ever set their eyes and feet in the Sedona area lived way back in 4000 BC, and the first more advanced civilization dates back to between 900 and 1350 AD – how could anyone resist visiting such an ancient place!

If you ever take a trip to the Red Rock (I hope you do!), the one place you simply have to visit is the Montezuma’s Castle. It’s not too far from Sedona, and while you trek to the stunning castle, you can see many petroglyphs and pictographs written by ancient civilizations.

The castle itself is located inside a cliff about a hundred feet above the Verde Valley. Built in the 12th century, it’s made up of 20 rooms. From there the ancient inhabitants could view the fields where they grew corn, beans squash and cotton. I can’t even begin to describe how beautiful this ancient landmark is!


The Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona

The Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona.


Image of Business Owner with her family at the The Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona.

This picture was taken when we visited The Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona the week my mom passed. It was amazing to be with my family and remember the times I went with my Mom growing up.

People always say Sedona brings them such a spiritual experience. It seems as though the land will always find a way to speak to you. This was the first place I visited after my mom passed away and the connection I felt with her was so overwhelming. There were so many signs like Butterflies following me everywhere and visiting spots we used to go together as a family growing up. It was a moment in time I will never forget and cherish always.

Thank you for being here and for following Pink Camel Boutique, and I hope this has inspired you to visit the Southwest. I know I’m ready for a road trip myself!


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