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Archive for November, 2010


Manly!

Monday, November 29th, 2010
By La Petite Acadienne

Men and accessories…

It’s SUCH a fine line, isn’t it? I really feel kind of bad for men — their options for accessories are much more limited, and they can really only wear so much before looking like a cast reject from a 1970′s Vegas movie.

Of course, some men can get away with less subtle accessorizing, just due to sheer force of personality.

Other men wear little to no jewelry or accessories at all. Personally, I think that’s a bit of a shame, as there ARE some very, very handsome items out there.

So, whether the fellows in your life are totally minimalist, gaily festooned, or somewhere in between, there are plenty of options out there for gifting. (The delightful Mr. Henry at Manolo for the Men has also talked about men’s accessories on many an occasion, so feel free to pop on over and check him out).

1. Nice gloves.


Unless you live in a very warm climate (in which case, my freezing-cold self doesn’t really want to hear about it, thanks), gloves are a nice gift for even the most minimalist man. Getting the right size can be tricky, though. If they don’t already own gloves so that you can sneak a peek at the size label, you may need to estimate. Most guys I know don’t like tight gloves, so a size large is usually a safe bet.  These gloves are lined in cashmere, making them warmer and more luxurious.

2. A casual watch

Even completely non-jewelry guys don’t mind owning a watch. Some men even have an entire wardrobe of watches.  It’s pretty hard to go wrong with a classic style and a slightly retro feel.

3. A non-weddingesque ring

Ooh…this is a tricky one, isn’t it? Rings for men tend to fall into two categories: wedding bands, and bespangled large rings depicting the cab of an 18-wheeler. However, there are some other options out there. There are classic signet rings, funky rings, or birthstone rings. I like this wood and sterling silver ring, and The Stonecutter (a non-jewelry guy if there ever was one) admired it as well.

4. Cufflinks

I know. There are a lot of guys out there who will never take the opportunity to wear cufflinks, even if they do wear suits and dress shirts. And that is a shame, frankly, because there are some GREAT cufflinks out there. From elegant to kitschy to everywhere in between, cufflinks can really add so much personality to a basic dress shirt. So why not buy the man in your life a set of cufflinks (and the dress shirt that takes them, so that he doesn’t have to hunt around for one)?

Fun fact: a LOT of little boys dream of becoming pilots. And a lot of grown men dream of it as well. These cufflinks can help your guy mentally escape a boring meeting by envisioning himself as a cross between Chuck Yeager and Maverick.

So…what are your thoughts on men and jewelry? Should they just avoid it altogether? How much is too much? And what would you add to my list?

Bisous,

LPA


La Petite Acadienne’s Reality-Based Chrismakwanzikah

Saturday, November 27th, 2010
By La Petite Acadienne

Aaaaannnnnnddddd….back to Earth.

That was fun, wasn’t it?

Sure, I’d love to get all of those ridiculously lovely and extravagant gifts (from my prior post) for Christmas.  Will I? Heck, no. Am I upset about that? Of course not — hence the word “fantasy” in the title.  I’d also love to have a flat belly, a high, round bum, and the skin that I had at age 16. But some stuff just isn’t going to happen, and to be upset over it would be beyond silly.

However, the fun thing about the holidays is that there are all kinds of lovely and fun things to buy for others and to covet for yourself, at most every price point. So you can still have lots of fun wishing and hoping and giving, and in some ways, it’s even MORE fun, because these gifts can ACTUALLY happen!  So, without further ado, here’s my more realistic list of things that would be just delightful to find under one’s tree:

1. A pearl pendant necklace.

I adore the sheen and luminosity of pearls, but a full pearl strand is a little too buttoned-up for my current tastes. This necklace is less formal, but is still very elegant. And the chain, being rose and yellow gold, and silver, makes it a very versatile piece that can be worn with just about anything and worn by just about anybody, from you to your mother-in-law to your sister.

2.  Colourful little earrings

These are subtle and sweet, but add a nice pop of colour. And I love the shape: girly, but not twee. A perfect gift for your teenage niece, or for yourself as a reward for checking off your list!

3.  A pretty scarf.

My name is La Petite Acadienne, and I have a scarf addiction. It started out innocently enough, with just the odd scarf here or there, but now it’s starting to take over my life. I have some scarves that only go with one item of clothing in my closet. I do NOT, however, own an orange scarf. And I love orange. So I can TOTALLY justify adding this to my collection, right? Right? And if not, I know my mom would love it, and then I can borrow it!  Win-win!

4. A useful book.

If, like me, you thought that cleavage and girdles were something you only see in the mirror, then wouldn’t it be nice to have this handy-dandy reference book that gives you a nice overview of various gemstones, their characteristics and how to identify them? This is one of those books that I think most anybody would at least find interesting at worst, and utterly fascinating at best.

5.  I still want my housekeeper.

6.  Stuff that smells good.

I have absurdly thick hair. Seriously. Any time I’ve been to a new stylist, I can pretty much guarantee that in the first 30 seconds of the shampoo, I will hear the phrase,  “You have a LOT of hair.”  It goes without saying that my hair tends to take up a lot of room on this Earth. Anything that can make it less large is great. Anything that can make it less large AND make it smell so good that I want to spend all day with my ponytail in front of my nose? Even better. And this stuff definitely fits the bill. I got this stuff for my own sister a few years back. She loved it and used every single drop.

7. A funky little bracelet.
Monserat de Lucca Charm Bracelet

If you know (or are) a lover of all things steampunk, or if you just want something that is not “girly” but not too heavy, then this bracelet is something a little different from anything you may have seen before.

Happy shopping!!!

LPA


La Petite Acadienne’s Fantasy Chrismakwanzikah

Friday, November 26th, 2010
By La Petite Acadienne

We all have wish lists, right?

There are wish lists, however, and there are wish lists. The former is compiled of things that you would love to receive, and that you might actually receive. (More on that tomorrow…)

The latter is pure and utter pie-in-the-sky fantasy, compiled of things that you would probably only receive if you grew up in the kind of house that has servants’ quarters.

I’m convinced that I really DO have a rich, childless auntie out there who is unbeknownst to me but who has followed my progress since infancy and is just waiting for the right moment to announce herself.

Well, darling auntie, if you’re thinking of popping up this holiday season and are wondering what the perfect little cadeau would be for your darling niece, look no further.

(Note to The Stonecutter: this list also applies to you, if we are someday unencumbered by that little thing called “reality”. Just letting you know.)

1. This gorgeous Giorgio Armani bag.

Dark-sage pleated leather? Well, okay…if you insist, I suppose I could live with it.

2. A black diamond ring.

I love the hammered gold on this ring, and the way that it gives the look of stacked rings without visually shortening the finger. Plus, black diamonds are just neat.

3. Purple Ferragamo flats

I own no purple shoes right now. That is just not right, because purple makes me happy, and pretty shoes make me happy, so pretty purple shoes would be like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for my feet  — everything I want, and nothing I don’t.

4. A housekeeper.

I can only pay you in Lego. Is that okay?

Being a working mom with a long commute, it always feels like we are falling behind on the housework, particularly where The Stonecutter works 50 hours a week AND has a side business on the go.  I’m pretty good at tidying and keeping things organized, but please, please do not look closely at my tile grout. I would luuuuurrrrve for someone to do those icky but necessary jobs for me, like cleaning out the fridge, scrubbing the tile, cleaning the light fixtures, and all of the other jobs that are on my “I’ll Get To It…Sometime” list.

5. A vintage Chanel charm bracelet.

I love charm bracelets. My mom had one (I have no idea what she’s done with it, however, and did not want to ask for fear of appearing grasping). This one is just lovely.

6. A new car

They see me rollin';, they hatin';...

My aforementioned long commute means that my vehicle has seen better days. I would love to have something bigger, to more easily accommodate the Gigantic Car-seat of Awesomeness, plus all of the other assorted detritus that comes with having a young toddler. I would also like to have some bells, whistles, fireworks, fripperies, and doo-dads.  I think the Lexus RX 450h (“h” for hybrid) would fit the bill rather nicely.

7. This

Sunset by Harry Winston, Padparadscha and Diamond Necklace

When I saw this necklace, I just had to write about it. Actually, first I had to regain consciousness and pick myself off the floor, where I had been laying in a puddle of my own drool. And THEN I had to write about it.

May you all have a very sparkly holiday season!

Bisous,

LPA


Gobble gobble!

Thursday, November 25th, 2010
By La Petite Acadienne

Happy Thanksgiving to La Petite Acadienne’s American friends! And to you non-Americans, if you’re utterly bored due to most other blogs being pretty much devoid of comments today, feel free to come by here and hang out and chat!

So…for what item of jewelry are YOU most thankful?

Bisous,

LPA


Classy!

Monday, November 22nd, 2010
By La Petite Acadienne

Tonight I was rummaging through the box of jewelry that I no longer wear but that I hang on to for sentimental purposes, and I came across two class rings: my own from high school and my dad’s from university.

I don’t wear my dad’s, because it’s too big for even my thumbs. I hang onto it, though, as the Wee One might like to someday have his grandfather’s class ring.

I don’t wear my own, because I feel that I’ve outgrown it.  Not in size. In spirit.

It’s a simple design, rather girlie, with a faux garnet in the centre (my birthstone, which worked out well considering that red was our school colour.)

But is it the design that I’ve outgrown? Or do I just feel that I’ve outgrown it, due to the fact that I am a very different person from whom I was back in 1993?

Class rings, by the way, were thought to originate with the class of 1835 at West Point.  And according to etiquette, once you’ve graduated, you should wear your ring with the crest or insignia facing away from you, symbolizing that you’re entering the wider world outside of school.

I see some people my age walking around still wearing their class rings (usually they’re the ones wearing the uber-cool St. Francis Xavier University ring.)  I envy them their cool class ring, but also wonder if wearing your class ring is a way of hanging on to a younger, more carefree time, possibly preventing you from fully living in the here and now.

What are your thoughts on wearing your class ring? Do you wear yours? Why or why not? (And is yours as unspeakably nifty as the X-Ring?)

Bisous,

LPA


Designer Profile: Alexis Bittar

Thursday, November 18th, 2010
By La Petite Acadienne

In my last post, I featured a pair of earrings by Alexis Bittar, and also featured one of his cuffs in an earlier post. Looking at his entire line, I was utterly smitten, and so wanted to bring you more information about this talented individual.

Bittar was born in Brooklyn, NY to Bob and Helen Bittar, both university professors and antique collectors. At age ten, Bittar began selling flowers from a hand-painted cart near his home in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn. On his 13th birthday, his parents gave him a tangled lot of antique jewelry.

It was an odd gift, but it sparked a life-long fascination with the craftsmanship of jewelry.

He continued his entrepreneurial career throughout his teen years, selling antique jewelry and vintage clothing on the streets. While in high school at The Bronx School of Science, he discovered the New York club scene, where he developed an interest in fashion and design.

In 1990, using Lucite and semi-precious stones and metals, Bittar created two different collections, selling his one-of-a-kind pieces on the corner Prince and Green Streets in Soho. In 1992, Dawn Mello, the fashion director of Bergdorf-Goodman discovered Bittar’s work. A year later, began a relationship with Saks Fifth Avenue. In the following years, Bittar began to sell his collection in stores across the United States, as well as Harrod’s in London and Isetan in Japan.

In 1996, Bittar designs a collection of Lucite and steel furniture for The Cooper Hewitt Museum. The same year, Bittar designed a limited edition set of home wares for Barneys New York and Takashimaya.

Bittar opened his first eponymous boutique on Broome Street in New York City in 2004. The same year, his designs were featured in a worldwide Estee Lauder campaign.

Bittar opened his second store in New York in 2008. Later that  year, his designs were featured on the cover of French Vogue, styled by Carine Roitfeld.  In 2010, Bittar opened his third boutique on Madison Avenue. Actress Joan Collins was named the face of his 2010 national ad campaign. In 2010, Bittar was nominated for the CFDA “Accessories Designer of the Year Award” alongside Marc Jacobs and Proenza Schouler. Bittar was presented the award by actress Dakota Fanning during the June 2010 ceremony.

Below are a few examples of Bittar’s work. I urge you to go look at his entire collection. Bring a bib, however, because you may drool.

Alexis Bittar Woven Teardrop Earrings

 

Enjoy!

LPA

 


Drop Everything!

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010
By La Petite Acadienne

Sometimes, a girl needs an emergency kit.

No, I’m not talking about a medical kit, or about a kit of emergency supplies for one’s vehicle (although you SHOULD have those, by the way — self-reliance is superfantastic.)

I am talking about the emergency kit that you keep stashed at the back of your bottom filing drawer, that contains a few key items that can add a bit of evening sparkle to your daytime work look, should some unexpected social event land in your lap. We don’t always have time to go home and change. Nor do we always have the time/money/mental energy to go shopping for an entirely different outfit.  Having a workplace emergency kit of fabulousness helps keep you from that panicked, “everybody will look great, and I’ll look like an office drone!” moment.

It goes without saying that beautiful shoes should be part of this kit, but we’ll leave that category up to the Manolo, as he has recommended scores of mouth-wateringly beautiful shoes over the years.

It’s the jewelry I’m talking about.

Having one or two special, sparkly, lovely pieces stashed away for emergency events can make the difference between feeling confident and feeling invisible.

And nothing brings an outfit from day to evening like some drop earrings.

I’m not talking delicate little pearl drops here, folks. If you’re going to put this kind of responsibility onto a piece of jewelry, it has to have the broad shoulders for it.

These earrings, with their effortless mix of gold and silver, are strong but still somewhat airy, dressy but not TOO much so. I could totally see these becoming the workhorse of my evening jewelry wardrobe.

These are fun earrings that can add a shot of colour to a neutral ensemble.  Devastating with a smoky eye and pulled-back hair.
These remind me a bit of rock candy sugar lollies…and that’s not a bad thing.  They’re particularly divine this time of year: icy and gorgeous.

Any of these (or the fabulous drop earrings of your choice) would definitely make a staid outfit MUCH snazzier, and at least make sure that you have no regrets about how you look.  How you behave may be an altogether different matter, but we’ll just keep that between us, shall we?

Bisous!

LPA


Great Women in Jewelry: Liz Taylor

Monday, November 15th, 2010
By La Petite Acadienne

When we think about women with jaw-droppingly enviable jewelry collections, La Liz is often the first to come to mind.

As generous as she is beautiful, Taylor hosted an auction of donated jewelry that raised over $240,000 for The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. She even sold her diamond and emerald engagement ring from Richard Burton. Reportedly, Liz said,  ”Please know that it is not easy for me to give it away. It is only my commitment to AIDS that persuaded me to let it go. My love is inside that ring forever.”

Some of the most impressive jewels in Dame Taylor’s jewelry collection include the 33 carat Krupp Diamond ring, the “La Peregrina” pearl (a Valentine present from Richard Burton, and once mistaken for a chew toy by Liz’s puppy), the “Taj Mahal”heart shaped yellow diamond necklace (another one of many jewelry gifts from Richard Burton, who really turned gift-giving into quite the art, didn’t he?), the Duchess of Windsor diamond brooch, the pear shaped 69 carat Taylor-Burton diamond and the Grand Duchess of Russia emeralds.

In her book, Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair with Jewelry, which is definitely one of the books on my must-have list, she says, “I’m fortunate to have some very important pieces of jewelry. I don’t believe I own any of the pieces. I believe that I am their custodian, here to enjoy them, to give them the best treatment in the world, to watch after their safety, and to love them.”

So, um, Liz…if you don’t believe you actually OWN any of those pieces, then I’m assuming you wouldn’t mind terribly if I borrowed some of it this weekend? Thanks. You’re a pal.

Bisous,

LPA


Thank You

Thursday, November 11th, 2010
By La Petite Acadienne

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

- Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae


Shiny!

Thursday, November 11th, 2010
By La Petite Acadienne

There are definitely a lot of positives to this job: getting to interact with you, the lovely readers; working for the ever-kind and supportive Manolo; being on a team with such fantastic individuals; and getting to be my usual opinionated self.  However, one of the nicest parts is getting to spend (a ridiculous amount of) time online looking at beautiful jewelry.

So, “Shiny!” will be blog posts that result simply due to me seeing something online that makes me go, “Ooooooh!”

Because sometimes, being a freaking-fracking gorgeous bit of fantasy is all that’s needed.

Moonstones, diamonds AND emeralds? Oh, Mr. Clooney…you really shouldn’t have!

Bisous,

LPA












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