SP*: Monday Vintage Find: Weston Antique Engagement Rings!

Jan 31, 2011

I can't help but consider myself a very lucky girl. And everytime I look at my engagement ring, I'm reminded of one of the smaller reasons why ... my sweet ring highlights a lovely antique European-cut diamond from my father's side of the family flanked by two precious diamonds from my husband's family. I know! The combined heritage makes my heart melt.

And that's the same feeling that washed over me as I was browsing through Weston Jewelry's catalogue of ridiculously gooooorgeous vintage engagement rings! I compiled a board of a few of my favorites below ... just in case you might be looking for that perfect one ... I mean, Valentine's is coming up, right? ;o) Maybe you could "accidentally" leave this post up on your laptop for honey to sneak a peek ...

Featured in the board {clockwise, from top left}:
Vintage Antique Style Diamond Engagement Ring Solid Platinum Filigree, $13,499
IKUMA Canadian Diamond Engagement Ring Solid 14K White Gold, $3,999
Antique Engagement Ring Transitional Cut Diamond Solitaire Solid 18K White Gold Filigree, $1,499
GIA Fancy Yellow Diamond Engagement Ring Solid Platinum, $17,999
Natural Fancy Pink Pear Cut Diamond Engagement Ring Solid 14K White Gold, $21,999
Antique Engagement Ring Old European Cut Diamond Engagement Ring 18K White Gold Filigree, $1,899
Bezel Set 1/2 Carat Genuine Diamond Engagement Ring Solid 14K Gold, $1,449
Antique Engagement Ring Old European Cut Diamond w/Accents Solid 14K Gold, sold
Estate Engagement Ring Bridal Set Princess Cut Diamond w/Accents Solid Platinum, $4,899

Sigh ... that yellow diamond is calling my name! And I do so love the idea of playing against tradition with a vibrantly coloured diamond or a sapphire engagement ring, a la Kate Middleton and the legendary Diana. Which would you choose? :o)

Weston Jewelry also has an amazing collection of vintage jewelry and estate jewelry - I promise you're sure to find the perfect addition for that rehearsal dinner, bridal shower or brunch and the best part is that unlike your bridal attire, these vintage beauties can be worn again and again and again. They are investment pieces and will someday become heirlooms, much like my beloved ring. :o) Isn't that something worth celebrating? Below are a few of my cocktail-worthy faves:

Featured in the board {clockwise, from top left}:
Vintage Natural Aquamarine & Single Cut Diamond Cocktail Ring Solid Platinum, $7,199
Natural Emerald & Diamond Ballerina Cocktail Ring Solid 18K Gold, $19,999
Vintage Turquoise & Pink Sapphire Ring Solid 14K Gold, $429
Antique Red Coral & Old European Cut Diamond Ring Solid 14K Gold, $1,999
Estate Blue Sapphire & Diamond Dangle Earrings Solid 14K White Gold, $2,799
Natural Paraiba Tourmaline & Diamond Ring Solid 18K White Gold, $899

Gahhh, wouldn't all of those be perfect with a LBD, colorful tights and ankle boots?! I'm especially keen on that coral beauty! Happy shopping!

*Sponsored Post

Fashion Find: Wear your heart on your ... shoes!

Jan 27, 2011

Loving these sequin heart shoe clips {left} and dual hair clip/brooch {right} from ban.do! They remind me a teensy bit of these fun Vivienne Westwoods! Wouldn't they be darling for a Valentine's wedding ... okay, or a wedding on any day of the year ... or for any event ... or just for fun! :o) Love.

Wedding Trend Prediction: Cozy Scarves

Jan 25, 2011

One of my favorite cold-weather accessories is the scarf ... it's warm and cozy and it can add an instant pop of color or pattern to your ensemble. I've really taken to wearing them with dresses in the fall and winter months and it got me thinking ... wouldn't a glammed-up scarf be a fabulously sophisticated twist on the winter bolero or sweater?

Here's a few that I'm thinking could make the cut but I'm also loving the idea of an infinity scarf over a simple slip dress ...

I think the metallic choices would look magical against a snowy backdrop ... maybe pair them with a vintage fur stole? Thoughts?

{Images, clockwise from top left: DIY scarf dress; golden mohair scarf; sparkly gold scarf; silver shimmery scarf}  

Monday Vintage Find: Parisian imagery

Jan 24, 2011

Could this image be more fantastically fabulous??!? And that grey Christian Dior dress ... loove. Can't wait to be back in Paris next month! Wouldn't this be a great pose to re-interpret on a couple's love shoot?
ps. You can buy a print here.

{Image by photographer Mark Shaw for LIFE Magazine in 1957 via Paris Hotel Boutique}

Proposal in Paris followed by a surprise engagement session! {+ a CB legacy!}

Jan 21, 2011

A romantic weekend in Paris is lovely but a surprise proposal whilst in the City of Light? ... well, that's just sublime! And to top it off, Kim's darling groom-to-be, Phil, arranged a fun photo session that very afternoon so they would have {authentic!!!} engagement photos to document their radiance of the day. Isn't that the sweetest thing?

To make things even sweeter, I got to know Kim more than a year ago when I was selling my wedding day attire. She was the lucky girl who "inherited" my divine {if I may say so myself! (o;} ensemble and I'm so glad she has kept in touch with me since and is now allowing me to share her envy-inducing engagement! She and her hubby-to-be have also set a wedding date for the summer so get ready for a CB dress legacy to take center stage! ;o) Congrats to you both and I can't wait to see what a beautiful bride you'll be, Kim! xox. I'll turn it over to the glowing bride-to-be now so she can share a bit about the shoot ...

Phil knew that I loooooved engagement photos, so he had sweetly already asked One and Only Paris Photography to meet up with us on Saturday, a few hours after he proposed! It was so romantic and wonderful.

Phil and I told them that we definitely wanted the photos to feel French but we didn't need anything really obvious, like the Eiffel Tower, in each picture.

They did the perfect thing -- taking us to little cafes and down Parisian streets -- it was so great.

Of course, he had some hints! He knew that I wanted to travel together, and that I really wanted to go to Paris. Also, he knew I wanted to get married, haha!

I looove the Valentinos - aren't they just Paris perfection?!

Here's what Kim had to say about those lovely red heels: It was the biggest splurge ... but now that I love the pictures so much it seems worth it! What I decided was that I would splurge on the shoes, and then wear them when Phil and I went out on dates back home, thinking they would remind us of our trip to Paris! Little did I know they would not only do that, but remind us of getting engaged. It's been a really fun splurge because we relive our trip! And they look so great against the city -- it was a little bit rainy which gave the city such a magical, sparkling feeling.

ps. Check out Kim's stunning WEDDING (donning my former wedding dress!!)

{All photos by One and Only Paris Photography}

Wedding Trend Prediction: Ankle boots

Jan 20, 2011

Ankle boots long ago stole the spotlight on fashion runways and they've quickly become a mainstream wardrobe staple for the everygirl but I have yet to see many booties showcased alongside wedding gowns ... Perhaps that will change this year? Well, that's my prediction! ;o) Much like we saw the cowboy boot take over rustic-chic weddings in 2010, I'm forecasting ankle boots to take over luxe, fashionista-inspired weddings in 2011. There's already been a little buzz on the net over in the UK ...

Paired with nude fishnets or colorful leggings for a more daring bride, I think booties would add a welcome and surprisingly modern twist. Who's with me? Here's a few that are getting my bridal vote of confidence:

Obviously, a pair of slouchy leather booties isn't going to do the trick ... but employ a sparkly or metallic pair ... or even a soft grey suede and voila, it's magic! Those blue Chloes {above} are divine but I hear they're fetching upwards of $2K on Ebay ... you can always use them as inspiration! Happy shoe shopping!

First board, clockwise from top left: Louboutin; Jimmy Choo; Louboutin, Jimmy Choo
Second board: Chloe ankle boots
Third photo via Perfect Bound blog by Natasja Kremers

NYC's The Wedding Party WINNERS!

Jan 19, 2011

Congrats to the following readers - you'll be receiving an e-mail soon regarding your prize!

Becky, the gracious gaze, an aqua juel, Amy L and Prippy Handbook!

Darling At-home Garden Wedding

Cowboy boots and a cute pup are just two of the perfect details amidst this sweet intimate fall wedding. Rory and Angela chose to host the ceremony under an ancient oak in the garden of the bride's childhood home in Paso Robles, Calif. And the backyard pool was a perfect gathering spot for the cocktail hour!

Says the photographer, "Rory and Angela met at the gym where Rory was a personal trainer. The two hit it off and became good friends and things naturally evolved into a romance story. And natural is one of the best words to describe their relationship.They are an amazing fit. Both very genuine, and loving. They had a small gathering of about 60 guests who were all thrilled about the union and ready to celebrate. They also have an adorable little boy- Augustus, "Gus."

Congrats to you both and thanks for Sophie for sending over these lovely images!

{Photos by Mike Larson}

NYC's The Wedding Party ticket giveaway!!!!! CLOSED.

Jan 18, 2011

How exciting! The Wedding Library & Martha Stewart Weddings are co-hosting The Wedding Party this Saturday in Manhattan where they will be showcasing the new year's top wedding trends & top vendors - just see the details below for how amazing the event will be ... Darcy Miller, Sylvia Weinstock, Lela Rose ... need I say more?!?

And guess what? I have kindly been given 5 sets of 2 tickets to give away to my sweet NYC-area readers!! For your chance to win a set of highly-coveted tickets {value of $150}, just leave a comment on this post including your e-mail address {so I have a way of contacting you!} and I'll choose 5 lucky winners this evening so make sure you check back to see if you won! Good luck!!!

Here are the yummy details:

WHO: Martha Stewart Weddings’ editorial director Darcy Miller, Kleinfeld’s fashion director Randy Fenoli, bridal gown designer Lela Rose, master wedding cake baker Sylvia Weinstock, The Wedding Library’s event planners Claudia Hanlin and Jennifer Zabinski, plus the top florists, photographers, stationers, and more!

WHAT: The best in the wedding industry gather at the gorgeous New York Palace Hotel for one day to make wedding planning simple for brides-to-be. Hear tips and inspiration from Martha Stewart Weddings’ Darcy Miller and gown designer Lela Rose, visit the booths of over 100 vendors, and see the latest styles in bridal gowns during a couture fashion show from Kleinfeld.

WHEN: Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 10:00 AM

WHERE: The New York Palace Hotel, 455 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10022

MORE: Giveaways including a $3,500 wedding gown from Kleinfeld and two honeymoons!

Monday Vintage Find: Romantic New England Equestrian Bridal Shoot

Jan 17, 2011

Oh, do I have a treat for today's Monday Vintage Find! I'm so excited to share another incredibly gorgeous shoot from Heidi of White Loft Studio. {click here to see her lovely Maine wedding shoot I shared just a little while ago} For this shoot, Heidi teamed up with Bluelime Photography and the talented duo came up with a menagerie of splendid props and exquisite styling ... I'll turn it over to Heidi now so she can share a bit about the process:

The premise of this submission is what I call an "encore shoot" ... when the bride wears her wedding day garb again, without the fear of dust-dirt-wrinkles or time constraints, as the wedding has already passed. Additionally, I added another layer to this premise - it was a “1-year anniversary encore shoot" complete with bouquet & boutonnière; signature drink; top tier of wedding cake; a vintage crystal chandelier hung from a lone oak tree; with many more vintage details woven throughout.

The location was an old estate in Newburyport Massachusetts. The rolling fields made for a striking backdrop especially with the addition of a beautiful dappled gray mare. Our color palate included shades of white & cream with hints of blush & celery green finished with an antique teal.

Sourcing all of the small components for the shoot was time consuming but so much fun! I spent many hours hunting on Etsy for all the perfect little details and many more hours scouring antique stores up the Maine coast for a pin for the cake, crystal decanter & the antique books.

An interesting side note - one of the antique books came from a little shop on Route 1 in Wells, Maine {just outside Kennebunkport}. While shopping, I met President Bush {H.W.} who was shopping with his grandson and small team of secret service.... and I did have that moment of being a bit "starstruck"! He was so incredibly kind, by the way.

Thanks for sharing such a fun background on the shoot, Heidi!

Credits: bliss banner - t. hein originals / bracelet - All Things Tinsel / cake - Eat Cake -
cake stand - Snug Harbor Farm / calligraphy tag - Astrid Elizabeth Calligraphy & Design
dress - J.Crew / flowers - Cymbidium Floral / horse ribbon - Vintage Market Place /  
ribbon - The Ribbon Store / vintage chandelier - Nantucket Stock Exchange, Nantucket & Newburyport Massachusetts / vintage glassware - Passages Vintage / rolling fields - http://www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/northeast/maud.htm / horse farm - private estate

Additional details from Heidi: The "bliss" sign is made from silk seam binding, vintage flash cards + glass glitter ........ the bracelet is composed of many different vintage parts - metals ribbons & pearls......... I've been a "horse girl" since childhood so the the horse's tail was my project, the flowers were provided by Cymbidium Floral but I braided and wired in the blooms - it took a couple of hours but so worth the effort. And the patient mare "Lucy" was a star through the whole process {it was warm & "fly season" so standing still was a challenge for her!} Heidi also crafted the drink flags and the hearts hanging from chandelier {cut from the pages of an antique book & hung with seam binding}. And the distressed drink table & velvet chair; porcelain and vintage wedding bands & earrings all come from the private collections of White Loft Studio and Bluelime Photography.

{Photos by White Loft Studio and the horizontal cake image  Bluelime Photography}

Rome Honeymoon Essentials

Jan 14, 2011

Extending on yesterday's travel post, I thought it would be fun to share a few ideas on my recommended packing essentials for a stylish honeymoon to Rome! After just experiencing the finicky weather and the general style vibe of the city, here's the style board I came up with for a weekday romp in the Rome {scroll down for details}:

Grey was the color of choice while I was in Rome so I decided to make that color the central theme of this board. As always, I think it's incredibly important to pack a mixture of highly-versatile accessories ... I love the Felix Rey Amour piece because it can be worn either as an edgy belt or a sweet necklace ... the suede boots are equally great with a pair of skinny jeans or over leggings with a sweater dress ... the Pucci scarf {and seriously, you have to have a Pucci scarf for an Italian vaca!} adds a great pop of color and is great for layering or as a fab headwrap ... and the clutch carries enough sass for an evening out or simple sightseeing ... and finally, the shearling vest adds warmth and a bit of pizazz, whether it's paired with jeans or a LBD!

Want to shop the look?
{clockwise, from top left}
Ugg Abilene boot in Sand, $198.99
Pucci Scarf via Nieman Marcus
J. Crew Electra Vest, $498.00
Felix Rey Flapper Mesh Clutch, $450.00
Skinny Denim Jeans from Barneys New York by Resin, $138.00
Felix Rey Amour Necklace/Belt, $195.00

A few other items that would be great to pack:
J. Crew Starry Night Cardigan to add a little glitz for a night out.
A trench or anything in black leather will always be in style and great for layering on chilly days!
Loving this Asymmetric Anorak by Jil Sander, too!

Happy packing!

Looking for more European honeymoon style advice? Check out my Parisian honeymoon essentials list here!

European {Honeymoon-Inspired} Travel Journal: Rome, Italy

Jan 13, 2011

Continuing with CB's European Honeymoon-Inspired Travel Journal series, remember how I told you I was heading south to Italy for Christmas? Well, I finally have the photos edited and I'm ready to share! It was so wonderful to travel with a friend that I hadn't seen in awhile {T, I already miss you! xox.}. We had a fabulous Roman adventure together and I'll always look back on it fondly.

And I can't wait to take J to this beautiful city. Rome oozed romance with every step ... the soft pastels of the painted buildings and the muted grey/green of the Tibere river seemed to melt together in harmony. And the food, gahhhh, ... after enjoying the freshest bruschetta, the most amazing pastas and the divine array of scrumptious gelato {I adooooored the Coco!}, I honestly didn't want to leave ... And everyone was so friendly and accomodating - I can't imagine a better place for a romantic getaway, honeymoon or not.

Enjoy the eye candy and scroll down for some of my top tips for visiting beautiful Roma, Italia ..

We enjoyed several heavenly scoops of gelato every single day we were in town. It was too good not to! ;o)

We came across a Christmas-themed market/festival in the Piazza Navona. As the sun slipped away, the dusky haze looked amazing against the bright lights of the carousel. The colors of the buildings never ceased to amaze me, either ... each looked like a chipping fresco ... colors that could only come to be by the graceful aging of time.

You know I'm a sucker for adorable vintage cars ... pitter pat pitter pat ...

Our first evening in the city, we walked from our houtel down to the Colosseum ... It was hauntingly beautiful with a full moon in the background.

One of the first things I noticed upon arriving in Rome were the cool, bonsai-like trees everywhere. I couldn't figure out what type of tree they were but after a little research, I found that they are simple pine trees that were heavily pruned to achieve their current look. I love.

The Trevi fountain was glorious.

We visited St. Peters' Square and the Vatican Museum ...

Built in 1932 by Giuseppe Momo, even the staircase is a piece of art in the Vatican Museo.

On Christmas Eve, we returned to St. Peter's square and waited for a few hours in a very long line ...

... so we could gain entrance to St. Peter's Basilica for midnight mass with the Pope. {That's him on the left} It was more than magical and I couldn't believe how close we were to Pope Benedict! When we left the basilica, seeing the crowd in the square was incredibly powerful, as well:

We were able to re-visit the Colosseum during the day and went inside. Wow.

Wish I would have been able to see the Damien Hirst exhibit ... ahh well.

I jotted down some of my tips in case you plan to visit Rome, too ... {and tune in tomorrow for a special style edition on Rome!}

CB's Top Tips for Rome, Italy:
-- If you live somewhere that gets chilly in the winter, plan a winter escape to Rome! We left snow and ice in Germany for sunshine and 50-60 degree temps {with a bit of rain but I'm not about to complain}. I relished every moment and made sure to rub it in when I got home! ;o)

-- If you're in Rome for Christmas, make every effort you can to attend midnight mass with the Pope. You won't regret it!

-- This may sound rather silly to most of you but while you're in Italy, eat Italian. Please do not be one of those American tourists who seeks out the Hard Rock Cafe for a burger and greasy fries. I enjoyed some of the most delicious courses of my life while in Rome and can't wait to go back.

-- If it's raining and you just want to stay dry or warm up {or maybe in the summer cool down}, head to the Roma Termini {train station}. My friend and I waited out the rain for a bit inside and enjoyed shopping with locals ... we found some gorgeous scarves and enjoyed some of the best {and least-expensive} gelato at one of the quickie-stops inside.

-- Get a stack of movies that were filmed in Rome and watch them with your honey either before you go or after you return. It's always fun to recognize places you've been! I recommend Roman Holiday and The Talented Mr. Ripley but there are many more from which to choose. Make it a corny {but fun!} themed night by lighting candles {the drippier the better}, making pasta and sharing Tiramisu together.

-- Soak up the street fashion. It's Italy - fabulous for people watching!

If you have any tips, insights, suggestions or comments, I'd love to hear them! Hope you enjoyed this installment of the European {Honeymoon-Inspired} Travel Journal! Up next is Luzern, Switzerland! ;o)Happy Honeymooning! And to catch up on my other European travel entries, just click here.

{All images by me}