Have a beautiful weekend.

My darlings, what are your plans for the weekend? Alex and I are going out to a neighborhood French restaurant tomorrow and I'm thinking about wearing false eyelashes just for fun. Have you ever worn them? (Any tips?) Hope you have a wonderful weekend, and here are a few great posts from around the web...

Update: This. (Genius.)

Beautiful Royal Wedding photo. (How gorgeous was Pippa's dress?)

And a funny flowchart.

Ominous Manhattan weather this week.

New York City gets made under.

April showers.

Wedding sparkles.

All kinds of stripes.

Magritte coat hangers.

Aren't you glad this isn't your to-do list?

Basket backpack. (Jane Birkin would have approved.)

Adorable spring collection.

Three guys living in IKEA.

Pretty in pink.

Finally! A truly friendly bike shop in NYC.

Plus, three Cup of Jo posts you might have missed:
* Seahorse tails.
* How to look confident.
* Sea-salt brownies.

Have a good one, my lovelies! xoxo

(Photo by Sweet Eventide, via Poppytalk)

Mother's Day gift guide

My dolls, if you're still looking for a Mother's Day present, I put together a little gift guide here. xoxo P.S. And the present I got my own mom.

Three pretty things

How would you like to wear this...
read a book here...
and vacation here?

(Top photo by the Sartorialist, bottom photo by Papa Stour. Via TKOW)

Congratulations, Will and Kate!

What a romantic moment...
...although maybe a little too loud. :)

(Via Elle)

Royal Wedding Jewelry: Catherine Wears Cartier & Robinson Pelham


The royal wedding jewelry shining from Kate Middleton (now Her Royal Highness Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge) was an understated display of elegance, grace and delicate diamonds.

The Tiara:


The subject of MUCH speculation, Kate 'borrowed' the Halo Tiara from The Queen's coffers, which was made by Cartier in 1936. The Queen's father, then the Duke of York, bought the bauble for the Queen Mother, then the Duchess of York (still with me?), who then gave it to her daughter - then Princess Elizabeth - on her 18th birthday.


Set in platinum, the priceless jewel is made from old and baguette-cut diamonds, with the upper part forming a range of lotus flowers and the lower 'zig-zag' part forming a removable piece that can be used as a bandeau.

No word yet on whether or not Catherine gets to keep it for her own collection - or if it's just a loaner. Stay tuned!

The Earrings:



Kate's understated earrings by Robinson Pelham were a gift from her parents - and were specifically designed to match her tiara. Nice touch.

According to Today Show blogger, The Windsor Knot, the earrings are diamond-set stylised oak leaves with a pear-shaped diamond drop and a pavé-set diamond acorn suspended in the centre.


Inspiration for the design comes from the Middleton family's new coat of arms, which includes acorns and oak leaves. Cool.


The Ring:


Kate's wedding band, which ALMOST didn't make it on her ring finger (nice work, Wills) is a rare band of Welsh gold by Wartski, who also crafted the Welsh gold wedding bands for Prince Charles and Camilla.

Prince William famously declined to wear a ring because he 'doesn't have a taste for jewelry'. It's a happy day. I'll leave this as a rare "No comment".

Overall, we witnessed a delicate diamond display that's in keeping with Kate's understated jewelry style. We'll see how long that lasts now that she has access to The Queen's stash!

Royal Wedding Fashion: Kate Wears McQueen!

I'm over the moon. As I had hoped, Kate or CATHERINE Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge, I should say, wore a dress by Sarah Burton, creative director of Alexander McQueen! From Lady Gaga to the future Queen of England, it doesn't get any better for this designer.

"Miss Middleton wished for her dress to combine tradition and modernity with the artistic vision that characterises Alexander McQueen’s work," Clarence House officials released in a statement.

The design includes hand-cut lace flowers hand-engineered onto ivory silk tulle that incorporates rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock silhouettes. French Chanitlly lace and English Cluny lace were used in the Irish Carrickmacross needleword tradition, according to the release.

Catherine also wore an ivory silk tulle veil held in place by the Cartier ‘halo’ tiara, lent to Miss Middleton by The Queen. (more on the tiara soon).

She's Audrey Hepburn meets Princess Grace! G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S!

Aw, sad.

Don't google yourself tonight, Prince William!

The Royal Wedding

So excited for The Royal Wedding tomorrow!!! Are you going to wake up early and watch it? Kate must have serious butterflies.

Fun fact: Did you know that Royals tend not to use last names? I suddenly realized this morning that I had *no* idea what Prince William's last name was. (Apparently it's Mountbatten-Windsor.)

P.S. I can't wait to see all the wedding hats and fascinators.

Cheese pairings

My lovelies, here's our third (and final) cheese tutorial! If you're planning a romantic night at home, or a fun evening with friends, here are three cheese + drink pairings that will knock your socks off...
The stinky French cow's milk cheese Langres comes in a wooden container. The traditional way to eat it is to pour Champagne into the little dip (or "fountain") on the top of the cheese -- which makes it effervescent and delicious! (Confession: We used Prosecco to save some coin, but it was still fabulous.)
There are two types of people in the world: Those who love smoky flavors, and those who hate them. (Which are you?) This smoked goat cheese, Up in Smoke, packs a major punch--and almost tastes like bacon! The award-winning cheese is bright, tangy and smoky, since it's wrapped in smoked maple leaves spritzed with bourbon. Double the intensity by pairing it with a really smoky beer. (Alex was obsessed with this combo.)
I never drink coffee (which is ironic considering my blog's name), but I made an exception for this amazing cheese. Barely Buzzed is a cheddar-style cheese made by two brothers-in-law in Utah, and the rind is rubbed with espresso coffee grounds and lavender. The flavors permeate the milky cheese--it's incredible. Barely Buzzed won a Blue Ribbon at the American Cheese Society three years in a row. Pair it with a strong cup of coffee for a taste explosion...and a serious spring in your step. :)

What do you think? Which would you go for?

P.S. More cheese-y posts!

(Recommendations from Murray's Cheese. Photos by the amazing Jamie Beck for Cup of Jo)

Giggling.

Just 'cause.

Affordable art: 20x200

My darlings, I'd love to take a moment to highlight (and give thanks to) one of my favorite sponsors: 20x200, the amazing affordable art shop. The shop has artists' prints starting at just $20. (We have a bunch of their prints in our house and love them!)

Here are a few of my current favorites...

The sweetest bird.

Kite hill.

A baby tiger. (Ahh, those paws!)

The beach.

whale.

Browse more amazing prints here.

Thank you, 20x200!

Kate Hudson's Engagement Ring Details!

Bling, baby bumps and now - Mrs. Bellamy? Kate Hudson's engagement ring made its dazzling debut with Matt Lauer on the Today Show this morning - and boy is it a doozy. 

UsMagazine.com reports the ring is likely a 9-carat rock - which isn't in the Mariah Carey (17-carats) or Beyonce (18-carats) stratosphere, but it's certainly of a caratage befitting the A-list.

The center stone appears to be an emerald-cut gem (actually, it looks a lot like Beyonce's engagement ring) with baguettes on either side set in a white metal - which for this crowd means platinum. One of my favorite Tweeps, Jean from Francesca Fine Jewelry tells me it's worth an estimated $200,000!

Will be on the lookout for more specs, but it's surprising to see such a 'traditional' look on Hudson, who is known as the queen of alternative fashion and boho chic.

Click here to see a video of the big ring reveal.

Kate later told Lauer that wedding plans will be taking a back seat to all things baby, as she's expecting her second child with hubby-to-be, Matt Bellamy, in the next few months. 

Babies, bling and betrothal! Now that's a triumvirate worth babbling about!

Personalized wine bottles

How rad are these wine bottles? They would be great to bring to a dinner party or celebration.

(Via Simplesong)

Two nerdy things

If you're designing a website or invoice or business card, how awesome are these hand-drawn icons? You can buy the set of 300+ icons for $30. I love that they include glasses, skateboards and toast.
And I haven't posted about typography in a while, but how genius is this llama font? So random and hilarious. He's so flexible! :)

(Via Swissmiss, naturally)

What's the 'Key' To Mother's Day? Jewelry

Mother's Day has a  tendency to 'sneak up' on us, right? No matter how much we love our mums and how often we think of them - somehow the Mother's Day holiday comes along and catches all of us, well, empty-handed with no idea what to get the woman who started it all.

So here's a little helper. Get her jewelry instead of that last-minute flower delivery that costs more than starting your own nursery.

Yes, it's my business to talk up the jewelry world, and yes - you've often heard me blather on about how baubles are better gifts than sweater sets and perfume and the like. But, darn it! I'm right!

Jewelry is a lifetime treasure that just means more than a vase full of petals, people (no offense to flowers - you're lovely creatures - all of you).

To that end, I give you the KEY to Mother's Day.

It's trend-worthy (keys are a hot silhouette in celeb circles these days), it's mom-friendly (note, the Mother/Child design element) and it's budget-friendly ($49.95 on JewelClub's Daily Deal today).

Click on the picture for more details. And you can still get FREE SHIPPING in time for Mother's Day (which is MAY 8TH, MAY 8TH, MAY8TH).  Did I mention Mother's Day is Sunday, May 8th?

And if Mom isn't a key kinda gal - here's a link to an entire Mother's Day Sample Sale for your ticket to her good side.

Have at it, jewelry hounds!

Perfect pleats

I've seen so many women around New York wearing bright pleated skirts. They're so breezy and beautiful! I just found one at Zara, and this one, above, is from Topshop. Isn't it cute how she wears it with a belt?

(Photo by Lucy, via Jennifer and Jennifer)

Princess Diana's Wedding Jewelry - A Surprise Guest

Forgive me as I dive headlong into a Royal Wedding blogfest this week. I already teared up at the snippet of Barbara Walters' interview of Elton John on Good Morning America this morning - I'm going to be a mess come Friday.

While the rumor mill is buzzing about the guest list (Elton John and the Becks made the cut), the dress designer (Kate, herself, is now in the running) and the honeymoon spot (Lizard Island, Australia) - my heart belongs to the jewelry buzz - of course.

One tear-jerker of a jewelry morsel I uncovered was news that Princess Diana's sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, will wear the late princess's wedding earrings to William and Kate’s big day. The royal stunners each feature a central pear-shaped diamond surrounded by almost 50 smaller diamonds.




According to Today Show blog, The Windsor Knot, the diamond drop earrings were the “something borrowed” worn by Diana to marry Charles and were seen in all their glory when the couple kissed on the Buckingham Palace balcony 30 years ago (they were owned by Diana's mother, Frances Shand Kydd, who died in 2004).

The priceless jewels were flown back from America, where they were featured in the exhibition Diana: A Celebration. Now at Union Station museum and gallery in  Kansas City, the display also includes the late princess's wedding dress and other items from her life.

While all of the Spencer family, including Diana’s other sister Lady Jane Fellowes and brother Earl Spencer, will be attending - royal watchers were shocked to learn that none of them will play a visible role in the ceremony.

A snub of royal porportions? Or a tasteful way to make the day just about William and Kate?  I'm going with the latter. Let's not rub salt in old wounds.

Motherhood Mondays: What baby names do you like?

My darlings, on this Motherhood Monday, I'd love to talk about baby names! Do you have favorites? When Alex and I first found out that we were expecting a child, we were so giddy (and, um, surprised:) that we couldn't sleep. So we found ourselves in our dark living room at 2 a.m. brainstorming names. Our top boy's names were Toby, Julian, Charlie, and Elliot (ahh, I still love Elliot). For girl's names, I liked Sophie, and he liked Samantha, but we couldn't decide on one that we both loved. (Girls names are surprisingly tough!)

My friend Nora told us a funny way to analyze names: The Blind Date Test. Pretend someone is setting up your college-aged child on a blind date. They'd ask, "Hey, want to meet my friend Toby?" Now think: How would you picture that person, just based on the name? Would you want to meet them? It's a surprisingly good way to get a feel for the name, don't you think? :)

There are also such cool unusual names these days. Toby's friends include Zelda, Quinn, Sailor, Elodie and Meriwether. (Aren't those all amazing?) The Baby Name Voyager shows you how popular every name has been since the 1880s. (Warning: It's totally addictive.)

So, I'd love to ask: What baby names do you like? Do you prefer offbeat names, or would you stay more traditional? Would you name your child after a relative? Do you like your own name? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

P.S. This baby name book looks great:
(Top photo by Raul Gutierrez)

Royal Wedding Fever: A Jewelry Cure

Jewelry hounds! The royal wedding countdown is reaching a fever pitch - with rumors swirling, photogs shoving and royal security teams working on overdrive - it will be a miracle if we all survive this phenomenon unscathed.

I am already trying to get a head start on my sleep so I can Live Tweet the proceedings from my spot on the royal sofa at 4AM PST on Friday morning the 29th. You should join me just to keep me from nodding off! Be sure to use #royaljewelry to join the morning mayhem.

But like the rest of the world, I'm just so darned excited for this shindig. With gas prices rising, wars escalating and Donald Trump's hairpiece getting way too much air time - we really need this celebration of true love to lift our spirits, right?

So how do we stop our temperature from rising when new tidbits about Kate's dress designer make the rounds (my money is still on Alexander McQueen's Sarah Burton) or the bride herself is spotted buying eyeshadow on the streets of London or The Queen....raises a pinky finger in any direction?


Gawk at jewelry. And royal-inspired jewelry, no less.
 
Many jewelers have already capitalized on the Princess Diana/Kate Middleton engagement ring phenomenon - but one place, in particular, has already curated an entire assortment inspired by the sapphire stunner heard 'round the world.

JewelClub!

Here are few of my favs but you can click here to see their entire stash. - many that look just like Kate's rock.


And feel free to page through some of my previous royal posts featuring crown jewels from around the world. The Swedish Royal Wedding is one of my favs.

Ok then, jewelry hounds and royal watchers. Seven days and counting. Stay with me next week as I post all the jewelry and fashion-related royal wedding tidbits I can get my paws on. Because reality is underrated.