Category Archives: jewelry

Etsy Mondays: Amy Alexander Designs

We all know how much I love the collage-y statement jewelry trend. Well, at least, we should — remember my wedding bracelet from Etsy seller Tatty Chic?

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Which, by the way, I had given one of my bridesmaids to hold in her purse that night, and just finally got back from her TWO MONTHS ago. And I see her ALL THE TIME.

Well, I wanted to talk about Amy Alexander Designs for my first Etsy Monday, because her pieces are so amazing. If I were getting married now, instead of two years ago, I would totally be buying up everything in her shop.

Antique Bronze Flower Pocket Watch Necklace Jewelry by Amy Alexander Designs

Shop owner Rebecca Harris uses both new and vintage components in her creations, like this pocket watch necklace made from a filigreed clock pendant, white enamel and metal flowers, a pink glass rhinestone, and a brass chain.

Gold Bracelet, Wedding Bracelet, Bridal Jewelry, Beaded Cuff, Wedding Accessories by Amy Alexander Designs

I think if this were my listing, I’d call it “The Amazeballs Bracelet.” Handcrafted by a golden-toned double-layer butterfly with glass rhinestone detail, a metal emerald green rose, green resin flowers, a white-and-gold Swarovski rhinestone flower, gold-plated leaf and flower embellishments, and a white enamel flower with a rhinestone center.

Wedding Brooch Bridal Pin Bridal Broach Wedding Broach Gold Jewelry by Amy Alexander Designs

Her pieces would work equally well for a vintage or modern wedding. I was always looking for one-of-a-kind items like this to give my bridal style a unique edge. This brooch is handcrafted from a pastel green resin rose, vintage opal, wildflower with gold-toned trim, and gold-plated leaves.

Some more of her amazing creations (click on any image to be taken to its listing):

White Flower Bridal Hair Comb , Wedding Hair Piece , Crystal Rhinestone Wedding by Amy Alexander Designs Cuff Bracelet , Sage Green Beaded Bracelet , Wedding Cuff , Peacock Bracelet by Amy Alexander Designs Bridal Ring, Ivory Wedding Ring, Flower Jewelry by Amy Alexander Designs White Rose Wedding Earrings , Gold Plated Dangle Earrings , Turquoise and Topaz Bridal Accessories by Amy Alexander Designs

And by the way, Rebecca didn’t pay me in any way to rave about her jewelry — I just stumbled across her shop and had to give her a shoutout because her items are so unusual and sweet.

Check out Rebecca’s shop, Amy Alexander Designs, if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind piece for your bridal look, or just for your jewelry collection in general.

XOXO

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Holiday Gift Guide: Picks for the Brand-New or Soon-to-Be Mama In Your Life

Now, I’m no mom yet, but when my husband asked me to make a wish list of Christmas gifts for him to go off of, you could certainly tell what was foremost on my mind. Being due in February, my main concerns are upcoming comfort and style, along with personal items like jewelry and beauty products — with a mom-ly twist.

Based off my own wish list, then — and with the caveat that a lot of my reasoning is based on “I’ve heard” and “I think” — here is a gift guide for the brand-new or soon-to-be mama.

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1. Your Name Here Silk Necklace ($400 14K gold, $80 gold fill or sterling silver, COATT). I still think this is the most ingenious and stylish piece of “my kid’s name” jewelry — way better than any birthstone or silhouette concept. I’m too superstitious to ask for this before I even have the baby, but I would love to own it at some point — in fact, a certain somebody has a birthday coming up in August (*hint*hint*wink*wink*).

2. Vintage Kaleidoscope Locket ($65, Etsy). I love lockets. I don’t even put anything in them, but I love the idea of a piece of jewelry you put sentimental stuff in, and a locket necklace is especially sweet, with a visual memento close to your heart. This is a really stylin’ locket that would make any new mama look totally hip, even when she pops it open to show you a picture of the dreaded drooling babe. Bonus: a shiny toy to distract babe when upset/fussy/etc.

3. Kate Spade New York “Idiom” Ultra Thin Bangle ($32, Nordstrom). This is a really sweet way to get the new or to-be mama in your life a one-of-a-kind piece engraved with her child’s name or a simple phrase to remind her of all she means to you. It’s especially sweet that whatever you choose to engrave it hidden against her wrist, known only to you and her — and whomever she chooses to show.

4. Timex Weekender Strap watch ($53, Timex). I never wear watches, but I’ve been on a watches kick lately. I’ve been pinning awesome watches left and right — perhaps because the mama-to-be in me knows that there will soon enough be plenty of appointments and more reason to keep time than “I need to meet a friend at Starbucks in 15”? My hands won’t always be so free as to reach for my iPhone when needing to check a clock.

5. Enamel Locket ($90, Alder & Co.). Another amazing locket piece that is so simple and so chic.

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6. Bobbi Brown Beach Body Oil ($30, Bloomingdale’s). All I want to do is pamper myself, and after giving birth to another human being, I’ll totally deserve it. All I hear about is the postpartum period where all of a sudden you smell like blood and pee (yours and another person’s) and milk and spit up and your body odor changes and you barely have time to shower. Wouldn’t this be wonderful to slather all over after a quickie shower to make her feel totally special and pretty?

7. NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer ($42, Beauty.com). I am one of those chicks who can’t leave the house without makeup. It’s not that I’m vain (OK, I guess it is that I am), but I have had bad acne since I was 13, and so I’m a little sensitive about my breakouts and red marks. While my routine isn’t exactly in-depth — just some mineral foundation and powder, blush, mascara, and lipstick — I have the feeling there will be even less time for it soon. A beauty balm like this would be amazing and cut things into fractions.

8. Motherlove Sitz Bath ($14.25, Amazon.com). I love the idea of a postpartum kit for new mamas, a little basket of items they can use to make themselves feel so much better. Made from organic ingredients like sea salt, witch hazel herb, and yarrow, this is formulated to soothe the perineum, slow bleeding, reduce swelling, and ease hemorrhoids. Plus, it has a zero rating on EWG’s skin deep database. Isn’t that so much nicer than Epsom salts?

9. Clinique “All About Eyes Serum” De-Puffing Eye Massage ($28, Nordstrom). OK, so you might not want to give this as a gift if it’s not specifically asked for (it’s sort of like saying, “You look like shit, here, take care of that… please.”) but it is such a thoughtful addition to the new mama’s beauty repertoire. Because as much as I have no plans to leave the house for some time after birth and think I really won’t care all that much about my appearance, we’ll have enough visitors that I wouldn’t kick a product like this out of my cosmetic bag.

10. Drawstring Jersey Pants ($34.95, GAP). Yeah, I want to live in pajamas for at least six weeks after giving birth… but lounge pants are at least classy enough that you’re not welcoming close friends and family in your ratty jammies. Plus, I’m awfully sick of the same two pajama bottoms that have fit me for the past six months.

11. New Mama Bottom Spray ($14.95, Earth Mama Angel Baby). I live by the Earth Mama Bottom Balm for certain prenatal… um… *conditions*, so it stands to reason that this blend of water, witch hazel, cucumber, kosher vegetable glycerin, and lavender and peppermint oil will be just the thing a new mama needs to soothe herself without feeling like she smells like a pharmacy.

12. Maddox Zip Clutch ($75, Fossil). This isn’t really baby-related, true, but I really need a new wallet and I love the pop of color and mod design of this one. OK, maybe I can make it baby related — I need a bigger wallet to show off all those pictures of Bean when he comes. (Do people even carry pictures in their wallet anymore? Oh, well — I’m going with it).

13. Medela Sleep Bra (from $14, Amazon.com). I’m planning on breastfeeding, and if the experience of others is any indication, I’m going to be quite large and sore in just a short handful of weeks. These sleep bras come highly rated and would be the perfect little piece of soft sleepwear for that soon-to-be mommy.

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14. Handpainted Still Life Monogram ($48, Anthropologie). I’m always on the lookout for fun design pieces for the home, and I love how versatile these are. You could buy just the new baby’s initial, or spell out their name, or spell words like “Love” or “Home” — anything that might strike the new mama’s heart.

15. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Standard AutoFocus Lens ($104.99, Amazon.com). Known as the “nifty fifty,” this is a great, cheap little lens for taking indoor shots — like, oh, of a newborn baby? Since I just bought a Canon T2i a few months ago, I would love something like this to add to my camera bag — especially since we opted not to purchase a newborn photo session.

16. Felix Weekender Duffle ($137, Deux Luxe). How amazing would the mama-to-be in your life feel waltzing into the hospital with a bag like this to hold all her daily essentials? Birth is gonna be a big ol’ deal, and I would love to add a little sparkle to my stay.

17. The Graphic Canon, Vol. 3: From Heart of Darkness to Hemingway to Infinite Jest ($21.47,  Amazon.com). Along with a plethora of movies and television shows, I myself would love something to read — but who will have time with a new baby? Something like this that’s more visual and easy to digest might be just the thing that the literary mama in your life needs to distract her from the trials of early childhood.

18. Nursing Shawl (42, Seraphine). Most nursing coverups, to me, scream “I’m nursing under here.” And while it’s really not that big of a deal, I love something a little more sophisticated and soft like this bamboo/viscose blend. It can be used six ways — as a nursing shawl, a poncho, a scarf, a cape, a wrap, or a swaddling blanket — which makes it a huge bang for your buck.

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19. One Line a Day: A Five-Year Memory Book ($11.53, Amazon.com). I love journals, especially as gifts, and something like this is just perfect for the new mama with no time to jot down all of her thoughts. I adore the idea of taking down just one line a day and then being able to look back five whole years at how things have changed.

20. San Ysidro Hobo diaper bag ($299, Danzo). Diaper bags are either really crappy looking, or super expensive. I’ve found maybe one affordable one that I would be able to stand carrying around (I’m a snob, I know). This one totally would break my bank, but it’s so incredibly gorgeous. All of Danzo’s bags are amazing, but I love the lines and color of this one in particular. And since I don’t plan on carrying a purse in addition to a diaper bag, I need all my style in one.

21. World Map art print ($56, Famille Summerbelle). As different decor items catch my eye lately, I find myself thinking about how they tie in with a new little human. This beautiful print is great for adults and children, looking so modern but imparting plenty of education. It would look great in a living room and playroom alike.

22. Pendleton Eco-Wise Wool Washable Plaid Blanket ($118, Amazon). The baby’s already got plenty of blankets — swaddling blankets, receiving blankets, handmade blankets, hand-me-down blankets. What about mama? As I cozy up on the couch with Bean or cat nap while he naps (hopefully), a cozy Pendleton blanket is just the thing I’ll need to make me feel safe and warm — even if only for 5 minutes at a time.

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23. Luxury Plus Slippers ($32, Restoration Hardware). I love slippers, and I have none. We have two pets and I never get around to cleaning more frequently than once a week, so I always get dust and dirt on the bottom of my feet when walking around, which makes me feel gross (our house isn’t that dirty, but come on, we don’t have a maid or anything). I caught word that these are the most wonderful slippers around, and am now totally lusting after a pair to take me throw those postpartum days.

24. Kimono Style Robe ($65, Plum Pretty Sugar). Who doesn’t appreciate a pretty robe to lift the spirits? Again, since I’ll likely be living in pajamas and loungewear for an indeterminate amount of time come February, a beautiful robe from Plum Pretty Sugar totally fits the bill for helping me feel comfy but put together enough for company.

25. Tieks ($165, Tieks). The next best thing to slippers, these super-comfy flats are great for all occasions, from lounging around the house to grabbing the mail to taking a walk around the park with the new little one. They’re even great for those late third trimester days when nothing but flip flops fit (seriously, I had to buy a new pair of pumps for my baby shower just because none of my shoes fit, so I’m hoping this new size my feet have arrived at is a permanent deal, because even though the pumps were a $30 Target deal, I’d hate to have spent that money just for a few swollen weeks here at the end).

26. Lace-Waist Hiphugger Panty ($10.50, Victoria’s Secret). OK, here’s the deal: None of my underwear truly fits. I can make most of it work, but it’s just basically covering the barest of essentials. These are so pretty, don’t slip, and in cotton, are basic enough to comfily hug even the sorest of lady bits. Once the new mama in your life can transition from granny panties, a bagful of these would be much appreciated.

27. Netflix subscription (from $4.99/month, Netflix.com). OK, this wasn’t on my wish list because I already have Netflix, but you can bet your sweet bippy that I’ve saved pretty much every TV show known to man, from Cheers to Felicity to LOST, for viewing pleasure during those initial weeks of nonstop nursing and sleeplessness.

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Friday Five: Dot Dot Dash and Girlie Nurseries

It’s been a minute since I’ve done a Friday Five, but I’m not going to get all stereotypical and apologize. Instead, let’s just get right to it, shall we?

1. This pink-and-gray little girl’s nursery

pink and gray nursery

I k now we’re having a boy, and we’re THRILLED, but rooms like this really make me wish I could girl it up in that little baby’s room. Maybe we’ll have a chance someday, and I’m definitely keeping this on file for that eventuality. From the vintage touches and color combos to THAT PINK CHANDELIER, this room is so amazing and cozy. In fact, their whole house is awesome, and you can catch a tour of it over on Houzz.

Image by Sarah Greenman via La Maison Boheme

2. This living room from Lonny magazine

lonny

 

Lonny magazine made over this Brooklyn apartment with pieces from Restoration Hardware’s Big Style Small Spaces collection. I just love this room and this shot — the way the deer’s head looms over it all, the black pendant light, the abrupt modern leather chaise lounge set in front of the cozier, more cottage-y pieces. Just gorgeous.

Image by Patrick Cline, art direction and interior design by Michelle Adams

3. This entryway

douglas-friedman-gallery

This is another meticulously styled interior shot by Douglas Friedman Photography. I love the gallery wall, the black doors, the details in the bookcase and then that amazing spray of pink flowers.

Image by Douglas Friedman Photography via SF Girl by Bay

4. These DIY surprise balls

surprise02

 

I can just imagine being a kid and tearing into these to gradually reveal an assortment of cool little toys and candy pieces. By winding the crepe paper around and around while tucking the toys and candy into the strands as you go, you create this awesome little gift bomb that would delight any child — OK, or adult. I’m totally keeping this on file for when Bean is big enough to enjoy something like this.

Image via Honestly…WTF

5. This amazing morse code name necklace

morse code necklace

OK, really. If this wasn’t $400 (only $80 for gold fill or sterling silver) I would totally have asked for it numero uno without a doubt for Christmas this year. It uses a series of long and round beads to spell out the name or text of your choice, all strung on a silk cord in the color of your choosing. This is such a cool and understated version of the name necklace, I can’t even stand it.

Image via COATT

 

 

 

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Put Another Ring on It

I had a lot of ideas about what type of wedding band I wanted, but no clear direction and definitely no “hands-on” experience (haha…). Mr. Ladyfingers seemed more planted in the “white gold and simple” camp. So one weekend in June we headed out to the mall to “just look” at rings.

We first headed to a chain that starts with “Z,” and looked at a few rings there. I had settled on wanting something channel set, half eternity, with princess cut or otherwise square diamonds. All the rings the rep there showed me featured round diamonds, and many weren’t channel set. When I asked for a princess or similar cut, she said that would be a bit harder to find. She didn’t come up with much, but we wrote down a couple of product numbers and headed onto our next destination.

A chain that starts with “K” was right across the way. (That unintentionally rhymed.) Incidentally, if you’re open to just looking at as many rings as possible and not really married (heh) to a custom ring or something like that, definitely check out the mall. You’re guaranteed like three to five jewelery stores all under one roof, and if nothing else, can show you a bit about what looks good on you, what you like in person, what you don’t, and what direction you might want to head in.

At “K,” Mr. Ladyfingers immediately found his ring – a white gold 6 mm number with a brushed center and polished edges.

And I found mine! So much for “just looking.”

It’s taken this long for my ring to come in because they only stocked white gold – I wanted yellow gold to better complement my skin tone, and while I’ll just wear the band for everyday purposes, for special occasions I wanted to be able to pair the engagement ring, and I’m not the biggest fan of a two-tone look for me.

We brought Mr. Ladyfinger’s ring home with us that day and also purchased the white gold version of my band so we could secure the sale price. And just last week, the jewelry store called Mr. LF while I was out of town, and notified him that my yellow gold band was ready! He did the exchange, and when I came back home (he had since gone out of town himself for his bachelor weekend), there was my ring sitting in our “hiding place,” next to his.

I opened the two boxes side by side, and here you have it:

We decided to go with white gold for the Mister, because other metals would be more difficult if not impossible to resize. He’s done so well and lost so much weight working out and eating better, and has a goal to drop more, so he didn’t want to make things difficult in the ring department. There are warranties available that will allow you to just swap out for a new ring should you drop or go up a size… but then you’d be giving up your original ring! And he didn’t want that.

Now, about mine.

(Sorry about the big scary hand)

Just what I wanted! Channel set, princess cut, and just the right amount of carats to sparkle like a fiend but not look too blingy when placed under my engagement ring. I tried a carat weight up, but it was just too much diamond for me.

The wideness of the engagement ring band does make my finger look a little… um, swollen? When something else is placed beneath it. But this being a special occasion-only combo and all, I think I’ll be able to live with it.

I love how the ring looks beautiful and simple but sparkly on its own, and also pairs well with the e-ring.

Now I just have to be told over and over to NOT parade around the house wearing it and introducing myself as Mrs….. well, you get the picture.

Did you have trouble narrowing down your ring preferences? And did all that melt away when you finally saw THE RING?

You Can Ring My Bell

I’m having ring issues.

High-class problem, right?

My engagement ring is perfect. It was my mother’s, and while for a very long time I wanted my grandmother’s ring (also handed down to me) as my engagement ring, when Mr. Ladyfingers got down on one knee with this shiny wide yellow band and sparkly marquis-cut diamond, I knew it was meant to be. Me and the ring, that is – I already knew that he and I were meant to be. I’d told him all along to ask my dad for my grandmother’s ring, and he did, but my dad gave him my mom’s ring. Whether he heard wrong or what, I don’t know, but I love my unique ring, and the fact that it makes my mother a part of the planning process even when she can only be here in spirit, only makes it even more special.

Personal photo

Now, the wedding ring.

I have been all over the place with this wedding ring decision. First, I wanted a thin band. Then, I wanted a still-thin-but-a-bit-wider channel-set band. A plain band would just make too much gold on my hand, and anything too wide would make things a bit impractical on my ring finger.

Then, I decided I wanted a white gold ring and to simply store away the engagement ring as a keepsake.

But the more I thought about it, the more I love yellow gold. It looks best on me. I wear it in most of my other jewelry. It looks, to me, more “vintage” and “antique” than white gold. And I really do want to wear both my band and my engagement ring on the same hand. Forever.

I also like unique, obviously. My inspiration pics run the gamut from simple but one-of-a-kind to common but a bit flashier.

Turtle Love Co. Belmont wedding band

Turtle Love Co.

Turtle Love Co. Diamond Motif wedding band

 Turtle Love Co.

Catbird Blanca Morris Gomez

 Catbird NYC

After all this Internet research, I fully realized one important thing about myself: I am tactile. I need to be WITH my options, in their presence, looking at them in a store. I need to try them on and test them with my e-ring and without. Mr. Ladyfingers would be easy — but I might drive both of us a little nuts in our wedding ring search.

Do you have an e-ring that was not part of a wedding set? Was it difficult for you to envision what you wanted? And did you end up with something far from what you’d originally envisioned?