What's On the Brain

“What’s On the Brain?” May 2016 Edition: (Even More) Jewelry Fo Yo Momma

You know I couldn’t let y’all down, right? You know I’m not that kind of blogger. I’m here for you, people. I’m here to deliver the goods that you’ve been promised: the laughs, the cringes, the eye rolls, the smirks, and the occasional shocks to your system. I’m standing (technically sitting) here, guns (keys) a blazin’, fully prepared for backlash, but knowing that deep down, you really do want the stuff that’s bad for you. So I’m happy to be your fried food, your candy bar, your mistress, or your fourth martini. Maybe I won’t make you feel great about yourself later on when you step on the scale or notice the overabundance of middle-aged acne, but I sure as sh*t can handle being what makes you feel good right now. So with that being said, for the third year running (if you missed the previous two, go here, and here to read ‘em), I bring to you a non-traditional Mother’s Day Gift Guide in the form of what you should consider buying for the woman in your life who now pees her pants when she coughs or laughs because your head was so g*ddamned enormous at the time of your birth. This is the 2016 version of Jewelry Fo Yo Momma

Connected Mom

Altruis Gold and White StoneLet’s be honest with ourselves here, is there a mom out there right now who’s not a “connected” mom? Raise your hand if you’re a mother who’s slept with your cell phone under your pillow or taken your iPad into the bathtub. Yeah. Thought so. But the unfortunate thing about those instances is that being electrocuted not only makes your hair frizzy, it also causes your life to come to a halt, which is why Vinaya – a London-based technologies company – introduced an affordable line of connected jewelry called Altruis. And while there is no shortage of connected jewelry lines available right now, I was drawn to the esthetics of the pieces in the Altruis line, particularly the Cleopatra ring which is made in white ceramic and rose gold-plated metal. Now your mom can look uber-chic while knowing just how many times you never call her per day, per month, and per year.

Erotica Reading Mom

I know. I knoooooww. You don’t want to think about the fact that your mom has an original copy of The Story of O on her night stand. I know it nauseated you when you found her entire Lords of the Underworld series in a cardboard box next to the washing machine marked “BIBLES FOR THE POOR” (and they weren’t dusty). And I know marla aaron locksthat you nearly spewed your skinny chai latte across the table last Mother’s Day when your father tried to present her with the hardback version of Fifty Shades of Grey (though you secretly smiled when she responded to him with, “While I love you for the thought, dear, I wouldn’t own that sh*tty book if you hired John Hamm to act out each of the scenes that Hugh Jackman was hired to read to him. However, this silk scarf is lovely, thank you.”) But while you’re doing your best to deny the idea, your mom is still a sexual being, so why not give her a little wink and a nudge by gifting her with one or more of Marla Aaron’s super fashionable jewelry LOCKS. Available in everything from sterling silver to green gold, with gemstones or without, Marla’s LOCKS will give your mom not only the idea that she can somehow use them on your dad during “play time,” but will also provide her the variety she’s been looking for in life without having to visit LionsDen.com so often.

“My Kids Are Grown So I Adopted Nine Cats” Mom

fitzroy the cat necklaceOh boy. Okay, so, um, this is an interesting mom, to say the least. Yeah, she’s your mom, and she’s really sweet, and we get it, but dude, she’s bordering on f**king weird these days, I’m sorry. I mean, three cats? Okay, I see it. Four? Well, maybe she’s just really, really, REALLY lonely. But NINE?? Aren’t you afraid she’s going to ingest too many hair fibers? What if they all go into heat at once? WHO COULD STAND THAT SOUND FOR MORE THAN TWO MINUTES??? Plus there are an odd number of them! Do cats even have threesomes? Okay, fine. She’s not my mom so I’ll just go ahead and do my job of suggesting what you could get her as a present. Let’s see now, she already owns seventeen kitten sweaters, has a two-year subscription to Catster Magazine (formerly Cat Fancy), and had her name legally changed last month to Furball McFluffytail. What do you get a woman who has all of that and way too so much more? A-HA! I’ve got it! A FitzRoy the Cat necklace from designer Wendy Brandes would be PURR-fect! (Yeah. I went there. Sue me.) FitzRoy is not only an Instagram sensation, but this version of The Cat in The Bowl is made in 18K yellow gold with orange sapphires and he’s holding the most beautiful opal in his paws. Furball will think this is such a MEOWvelous gift that she may just wear it with that skullcap she knitted last December using what I can only imagine were remnants from the various pet brushes scattered about the apartment. No thanks needed, pal. I’ve got your back.

Rock Climbing Mom

Laurie Kaiser ear climberAh, the adventure mom. Buns of steel. Thighs of high. Abs of Fab. This is the mom I wish I had time to be. She lives in Colorado, and New Mexico, and Wyoming. She is naturally tan without looking like she’s been visiting the same salon as Donald Trump and John Boehner. Her hair is long and sun-tinted; her hands, calloused yet ultra-feminine. And man, does she know how to live life to the fullest. If this is your mom, don’t let the lack of rings and bracelets fool you; that’s only because they’d be in the way while she was free climbing the Black Canyon above the Gunnison River. She’s fit and fearless, but that doesn’t mean she can’t be fashionable, so I’m recommending this pair of earthy-feeling diamond ear climbers by Laurie Kaiser as her gift this year. She’ll love the fact that you got her something that not only “climbs,” but that will refrain from getting in the way of her helmet straps when she goes out snowboarding. Cowabunga, mama!

Just Got Engaged For the Fifth Time Mom

I kind of dig this mom. This is one non-settling mother. She’s ballsy, confident, and has been heard quoting Madeline Kahn as Mrs. White in the movie Clue: “Husbands should be like Kleenex: soft, strong, and disposable.” Yet while she’s Jane-Taylor-B923F-hook-bracelet-with-blue-topaz-and-diamonds-in-white-goldnever killed off any of her exes (that we know about) she’s accumulated plenty of spectacular jewelry pieces along her marital journeys, which is why you’ll need to be creative when thinking of a present to get her that she can wear on this wedding day or even on her wedding days to come. This blue topaz and white gold hooked bracelet from designer Jane Taylor’s “Rosebud” collection is as versatile as your mother’s wedding planner and costs a lot less money. It’s the perfect “something blue” for a woman who should absolutely not be wearing white, and I’m sure she’ll love it a lot longer than she’s loved any of her previous and possibly future spouses.

Legally Married Thanks To the Supreme Court Moms

hattie rickards flipWhile your friends all thought you were the coolest girl on the block growing up because you were the only one with two moms, you knew that the impending arrival of Mother’s Day meant that you had to work an extra shift at the Pizza Hut because you always had two bouquets of flowers to buy. But now that you’re grown up, well-adjusted, successful, and happily married to Tim (the podiatrist), Hattie Rickardsyou’re looking forward to this Mother’s Day since it’s the first one that your moms can celebrate as a married couple in the eyes of the law. Matching multi-colored sapphire kinetic flip rings by London jewelry designer Hattie Rickards would be a wonderful way for you to show your moms just how much you appreciate their love, still. The rings are made in 18K Fairtrade yellow gold and are a load of fun to toy around with as they flip and spin thanks to hidden mechanisms. They’re colorful, playful, and responsible… just like your moms.

Full Time Writer Mom

COOMIHey look, you know I usually throw in one for me, right? Not this year, though. All I’m hoping to get from my family this year is their continued support as I embark on this new journey and do the thing I’ve wanted to do since I was in high school. That, and one of those rad Antiquity collection necklaces by COOMI. But if they can’t do both, just the COOMI necklace will do. I’ll get the support I need elsewhere. Maybe Facebook or something.

That about does it, loves. Now go make your brunch reservations, call 1800-Flowers, and invest in some fine Swiss chocolates, but whatever you do, DO NOT FORGET THE JEWELS.

What's On the Brain

A Letter to the Editor: On the Matter of Your Fiftieth Birthday

(Warning: this is not a jewelry post)

Dear Editor –

I write this letter to you today, on the fiftieth anniversary of your birth, not as a love letter, but rather as a thank you.

Today is a day I know you’ve had mixed feelings about. On the one hand, you’re still alive. I mean, not that you wouldn’t be at this age, but you and I both know that the Scorpio personality/hot streak likely put you in more death-defying situations than most. You liked to party. You liked your women. And you were the first to jump up when a fight broke out. It’s part of what makes you so wondrous. It’s part of what drew me to you in the first place.

On the other hand, you’re no longer twenty-five. But let’s face it, do you really want to be? Sure, your hair was long and Thor-like, and your shoulders could balance three Argentinian acrobats at once (p.s. I don’t want to know if that ever happened or what they looked like.) But was life really all that great back then? Would you want to go back? Would you if you could?

I will never forget the first time I introduced you to my best friend. We got together for lunch at that little creperie on Bainbridge Street. “He reminds me of Frazier Crane,” she whispered, and I knew exactly what she meant. You were a mystery to women like us. We knew and dated and married the guys who could roll off hockey stats from the previous ten years. You knew those things, but could also name every one of Giuseppe Verdi’s twenty-seven operatic works. And you were tall. And you were handsome. And you weren’t even vaguely similar to anyone who either of us had ever laid eyes upon.

So today, I’d like to take some time to thank you for what you do for me, and for what you’ve given me, and simply, for who you are to me. I’ve written fifty thank yous below to commemorate your day, but please know I could pen fifty, a hundred, or a thousand more. I hope you know just how deeply grateful I always feel for these moments of grace.

  • Thank you for handing me your business card, and for returning my email several months later, and for asking me, at some point, if I was happy. I wasn’t then, and I think you knew that.
  • Thank you for the single red rose. You know when. And you know where.
  • editorThank you for kissing me at the stoplight on the corner in The City. And for taking the cab back with me, no matter how badly it smelled.
  • Thank you for not having a Southern accent, but for very much having Southern manners.
  • Thank you for every time you stand up when I leave the table.
  • Thank you for every time you stand up when I come back.
  • Thank you for Aida.
  • Thank you for never once making me feel like a high school education wasn’t enough.
  • Thank you for liking my grays. And my wrinkles. And my laugh lines.
  • Thank you for showing me your New Orleans. Over the years it has truly become my New Orleans, too.
  • Thank you for being as punctual as I am. This is huge. It’s actually huger than huge.
  • Thank you for each episode of The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and The Rachel Maddow Show; for every Republican/Democratic National Convention and every night of election coverage. I can’t wait to watch the next big event with you.
  • Thank you for your wine knowledge, and for growing with me as we learned more together.
  • Thank you for not being a Scotch drinker so that I know I always have the bottle to myself.
  • Thank you for agreeing to the names we named our children; I can’t imagine either of them named anything else.
  • Thank you for Germany and Austria and Switzerland and Italy and France and Belgium and wherever we go next.
  • Thank you for eating cheesesteaks with me while standing over a trash can at 2 am in the middle of a South Philly intersection.
  • Thank you for understanding that Italians really do things differently and for going with the flow even when you disliked the pizzelles.
  • Thank you for pushing me to be better at the things you know in your heart I do really well.
  • Thank you for never making me feel like what I do in this world is a joke.
  • Thank you for laughing as hard as I’ve ever seen you laugh when I finally told you I was a nuclear physicist.
  • Thank you for every prenatal vitamin you handed me because you knew I’d forget to take it on my own.
  • Thank you for flowers in my hotel room when I seriously needed flowers in my hotel room.
  • Thank you for always asking how my day is.
  • Thank you for being a guy I can throw in a tux and put in the middle of a room of five-hundred jewelry people, while never having to worry about whether you are doing okay without me.
  • Thank you for being the husband my friends now like more than they like me.
  • Thank you for every time you corrected my grammar. I know it may have pissed me off when you did it, but I’m grateful you did… trust me on that.
  • Thank you for not leaving when you probably should have.
  • Thank you for convincing me to stay when I thought about leaving.
  • Thank you for having faith in me, in all ways, for all of our days.
  • Thank you for being the Flash, Scarecrow, the Mad Hatter, a Christmas tree, Perseus, and Mr. Incredible. The last of the bunch is who you truly are.
  • Thank you for every appointment reminder for every single thing that matters in our lives. You’re The Great Organizer and I don’t know how I’d do it without you.
  • Thank you for the sacrifices you make to take care of our children and me. You make a lot. I know that you do.
  • Thank you for black-tie New Year’s Eves at the symphony. They are always my favorite evenings. Let’s do it again this year.
  • Thank you for speaking more than one language. It’s fun to show you off, in more ways than one.
  • Thank you for loving books as much as I do, and for teaching our children to love them, too.
  • Thank you for being the realist when I’m off in one of my fantasy worlds. You even me out. We’re quite the balancing act.
  • Thank you for never “wasting your gum.”
  • Thank you for keeping yourself fit and healthy; our children need you around. I need you around, too.
  • Thank you for helping me stay calm through every seizure, every needle, every test, every exam, and every ounce of pain our child suffered through. I will never forget your strength in those moments.
  • Thank you for still wanting to go on lunch dates.
  • Thank you for all the times you wished me a happy monthly anniversary. I’m sorry I took those times for granted.
  • Thank you for the pride you have in who I’ve become as a writer, but more importantly, who I’ve become as a person.
  • Thank you for thinking three steps ahead.
  • Thank you for providing me, and us, with this life, and this marriage. Strange circumstances brought us together, it’s only fitting our relationship be anything but normal.
  • Thank you for maturity. I didn’t know it existed before you came along.
  • Thank you for every time you laid down your sword when all you wanted was to fight to the death.
  • Thank you for telling me I’m still pretty. At my age, as a woman, you have no idea how much it means.
  • Thank you for being a shoulder when my tears are too much for my heart to bear alone. I know I bring sadness upon myself at times. I’m happy you’re the person who understands me best.
  • Thank you, finally, for being my editor on this blog. I’m sorry I couldn’t send this to you to edit, but I think you know why, and I hope I get a pass this one and only time.

Happy fiftieth birthday to you: my partner, my confidant, my teacher, my friend, and of course… my dear, sweet husband. May it be all that you hoped it would be and a hundred times more.

You made me better. You make me better. Don’t ever, ever forget that.


What's On the Brain

“What’s On the Brain?” May 2015 Edition: (More) Jewelry Fo Yo Momma

Oh, heyyyyyyyyy! Didja miss me? I’ve been busy, y’all! There’ve been conclaves to attend, and interviews to give, and podcasts to take part in, and trade media to piss off. Oh, that’s right, and there’s a little show called COUTURE coming up, so, you know, it’s practically a full-time gig trying to get ready for that, plus, there’s… um… this thing called MOTHERHOOD (which, by the way, is alcohol inducing) that’s kind of important, so, unfortunately the blog posts have had to take a back burner…


Remember what happened this time last year? You don’t? I don’t either because I was likely drunk but according to my WordPress stats, last year, right about this time, I wrote a post about what to get your moms on Mother’s Day, and guess what? YOU REALLY LIKED IT. I mean, it was one of my most popular posts in 2014, so I figured, what the hell? Why not give the public what they want? And when I realized that video of a shirtless Bradley Cooper eating ice cream in super slow motion was no longer available on YouTube, I decided to write a follow-up Mother’s Day gift guide instead. Read on, my minions. READ ON AND THANK ME IN THE MORNING.

Corporate Mom


momma1 - mikimoto pearls(Eh-hem [clears throat] ahem) Sorry. I had a brief moment there where I actually thought that mothers were allowed to hold executive positions. Aren’t I so cute and naïve? Actually, I’m messing with you, and if you’ve been following along to my #FiftyWomenofJewelry hashtag on social media channels everywhere, you’d have understood the reference and met it, likely, with an eye roll. ANYWHO, let’s get down to business, yeah? What would be a better Mother’s Day gift for the board room mom than pearls, right? I mean, pearls and power suits will win you a senate seat all day long, unless, of course, you’re someone with a brain who thinks critically, then you’re screwed. In any case, your “power mom” deserves a strand of black, South Sea pearls by Mikimoto like the ones you see pictured here. And if you can’t afford the 12,000.00 price tag because you’re a sophomore in college and had to sell your dirty underwear to the janitor in order to be able to buy yourself breakfast, just remember that you can always borrow the money from your super wealthy, powerful mother. She IS the CEO of her Fortune 500 company, after all.

Judgy McJudgerson Mom

momma1 - stfu necklace wendy brandesIf your mom spends too many hours posting scathing, anti-baby-formula rants on Similac forums, then she likely falls into this category. Still not sure if she does? Then ask yourself the following questions… “Does my mom make other moms feel guilty because their kids are in daycare instead of being homeschooled?” “Does the woman who breastfed me until I was nine remind me of that little morsel three times a week?” “Will my mother ever get over the fact that in 2011, I purchased a gallon of cow’s milk that wasn’t organic?” “Does my mom have a life?” If the answers to those questions are yes/yes/no/no, then welcome to Judgyhood, kid. Have I got a gift suggestion for you! This “STFU” necklace (and yes, it stands for exactly what you think it does) by writer-turned-jewelry designer, Wendy Brandes is the perfect thing to strangle surprise your darling mother with on her very special day.

Imma-Beat-Your-Ass-For-Throwing-Rocks-At-Cops Mom

Look, I’ve never been one to shy away from hot-button issues and this is no different. I will start this description by saying that I do not condone corporal punishment, however, having grown up in the projects of inner-city Philly, I definitely got my ass whooped by my mother once or thrice in my childhood, yet it was only when I did something stupid as shit, like, throw rocks at adults. Baltimore mother, Toya Graham, was caught on video recently teaching her teenage son some, let’s call them, “manners” via a few slaps upside the head. I’ve got to be honest here… momma1 - seaman schepps gold link braceletI saw the video, and while some in the media are calling it a travesty, I’m pretty sure his ego was more bruised than he was in the end. In any case, what I did notice was that Toya was sporting some kick-ass gold jewelry while swinging, which made me think about what her son could buy for her the next time he even thinks about rioting or looting while on camera. This classic gold link bracelet by Seaman Schepps is affordable as well as practical, yet it’s also solid enough that it won’t dent when being smashed into a face. Score!

Bestie Mom

momma1 - jen meyer piece of my heart pendantsIf you and your mom have had the same haircut since you were in the third grade and if she’s never missed an opportunity to hit the outlets with you, then face it… she’s your “bestie.” And hey, there’s not a damned thing wrong with that. These “Piece of My Heart” pave diamond pendants by celebrity jewelry designer, Jennifer Meyer, are elegant and understated, yet they show the world that you are loved by someone else just as much as you love them. So sweet. So nauseatingly yet adorably but still mostly nauseatingly sweet.

Rockin’ Six Pack Mom

momma1 - amrit jewelry body chainMoms today are NOT your mother’s mothers, I can tell you that. Not only are we moms hyper-focused on having it all, doing it all, and being it all, we’re also hyper-focused on all of that shit while still looking good naked. So if your mom (or wife, or baby momma) occasionally sports a midriff to the dismay of her offspring everywhere, think about buying her a sexy-as-hell body chain by Amrit Jewelry in Los Angeles. Now, I know you just cringed when you read the words “mom” and “sexy” in the same sentence, but you’ve got to get over it. Every single one of your college friends wants to do your mom right now, dude, I promise you. Just don’t ever walk into the laundry room if you hear strange noises while home on Spring break. Take it from someone who knows, it’s *not* the dryer.

Scotch Drinking Mom

Whaaat? Oh, COME ON! I had to throw myself a bone, here!

momma1 - jaeger lecoultre grand reverso ultra thinIf your mother drinks Scotch, she’s a badass. If she drinks it neat, she’s a super BAAAADDAAAASSS. Scotch-drinking mommas are in control; they savor the finer things in life. They know what they want and figure out a way to get it every freaking time. They don’t take “no” for an answer. They refuse to be afraid. They live for adventures and challenge the norm. But mostly, they want a new watch. Really, I swear! Scotch-drinking mothers always want a new watch. I did a report on it in college (editor’s note: that’s a lie. I never even went to college.) And because they drink good Scotch, they’re expecting you to get a good watch (see how I rhymed that? So clever.) This Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso Ultra Thin has a strap that’s the same color as an eighteen-year Oban. I mean, hello?? Could you get more appropriate? It’s kismet! And I better receive it. I mean, she better. Your mom, I mean. Unless I’m your mom, in which case, you’re way too young to be reading this blog.

For those who haven’t closed your browser by now, I thank you for reading today’s Mother’s Day Gift Guide, and I welcome you to stick around, because Jewelry Week is coming up, and I’ll be doing a “Tales From the Strip” series, version 2015.

See you in VEGAS!

What's On the Brain

“What’s On the Brain?” May Edition: Jewelry Fo Yo Momma

It’s that time of year again, kids. Have you made your overpriced brunch reservations yet? NO?? Ordered the floral arrangement to be delivered to her office so that her co-workers get jealous at how awesome you are as a husband and/or son and/or baby daddy? WHAT DO YOU MEAN, ‘NOT YET’??? You better check your Amex balance then, ‘cause guess who’s buying jewelry this year? You got it, Monsieur Procrastinator… that would be you. But never you fear, I’m in your corner this year, and I’ve broken it down below based on the type of woman (or women, for certain Utah residents in the room) your mom/wife/significant other is just to make it even easier on your sorry self. Don’t thank me just yet, at least, not until you see how much you’re in for. Oh, who am I kidding? Go on ahead and thank me. I deserve it. There you go. Didn’t that feel good? And you. Are. Welcome. But don’t let it happen again.

Rebel Mom

MOM ileana-makri-safety-pinsIf this mom doesn’t flinch when her kids’ friends ask her if the tattoo of the vampire Lestat de Lioncourt on her left breast hurt when she got it, then she’ll go nuts if you give her these Ileana Makri safety pin earrings in 18K gold and black diamonds from the “Punk” collection. Oh, this mom has ear discs, you say, so unfortunately she can’t wear earrings anymore? No problemo! The collection also offers a safety pin pendant necklace, so you’re not off the hook that easily, Champ. The ad for safety pins on Mother’s Day should be as follows:


They hold stuff together, they look fabulous, AND they’re badass… just like mom!

Stargazer Mom

For the annoyingly endlessly positive, dreamer mom who always sees the glass as half full (usually with a liquid suchElizabeth and James 22K gold plated compass ring white topaz as cherry soda or chocolate milk), I recommend this 22K gold plated Elizabeth and James “Compass” ring made with three white topaz stars and co-designed by none other than those adorable Olsen twins. Mom will be so overwhelmed by the cuteness that she may just put herself into a happiness-induced coma at which time you will be able to watch all of the Game of Thrones episodes she doesn’t normally allow you to.

Conservative Mom

MOM Mastaloni Oval Drop Cut EArringA mom who wouldn’t be caught dead in sparkly blue nail-polish or who is often overheard using adjectives such as “divine” and “simply darling” will likely think that these 18K white gold and diamond South Sea pearl earrings by Mastoloni are the “bees knees.” Be sure you mention to her how fabulous they’re going to look against her perfectly coifed bob and freshly pressed Talbots suit. She may even head to the kitchen to whip you up some sugar-free peach cobbler as a thank you afterward. Some simply divine, sugar-free peach cobbler.

Glamazon Mom

Did your mom/wife/baby momma have a lifetime subscription to Vogue until she cancelled it because they put KimMOMyg gallop Kardashian and Kanye West on the cover? If so then she’s my hero and I’m hoping she’ll adopt me. And to make it more appealing for her to do so, if she’s able to get the adoption completed before Mother’s Day, I will totally buy her this 18K yellow and white gold diamond bracelet from Gumuchian’s “Gallop” collection. I happen to “know” some folks who work for them so I get a pretty decent discount, and after all, who wouldn’t love to have me for their kid? I’m uber cuddly and smell like strawberries & good wine.

Tree Hugging Mom

MOMrose-gold-crescent-earrings-512px-512px kara danielThis mom grows her own kale, raises her own chickens (yet doesn’t eat them!) and is constantly on your back about recycling, but hey, that’s okay, because she’s in good standing with our other mother… Earth. What this mom needs, however, is decent deodorant. But since that makes for a pretty crappy Mother’s Day gift, I recommend these beautiful Kara Daniel “Crescent” earrings made from recycled 14K rose gold and sustainable blackened stainless steel.  She’ll be so proud to know that she had an impact on your purchase and I’m sure you’ll feel good realizing that you did your part by being environmentally conscious. OOOOoooooohhhhhmmmmmm.

Fitness Guru Mom

If you can catch this mom in between her Mother’s Day Half Marathon and the “Boot Camp for Mommies” class she’ll MOM puma ladies watch1be teaching immediately following, be sure you give her a gift she can wear that won’t get in the way. Puma, of all companies, makes a pretty cool ladies’ sports watch that sells for sixty bucks. Made with lightweight plastic, this thing was built for runners with a 1/100th-second chronograph timer, 50-lap memory, and a split-time counter.

PUMA… not just for mid-80’s rappers and Italian mob bosses any more. Or rather, PUMA… now for moms!

Urban Mom

THIS is a mom after my own heart. She was likely raised by her own urban mom MOM brandeswhich means she’s not afraid to ride public transportation with her kids, she knows how to defend herself against a mugger, and she’s already taught her daughter how to kick the boys’ asses at basketball. What this mom deserves is some g-damned Wendy Brandes bling. Wendy allows you to buy individual letter rings on her website so you *could* go all cutesy on her by getting the “M-O-M” initials, or, if the mom you’re buying for is a little, shall we say, forward thinking, you could break down and get her the “IDGAF” necklace or even a pair of the “I’m flipping you the bird right now” stud earrings. I’m sure she’ll love any of the choices. Or, maybe she’ll throw them at you. I really don’t know. She’s not my mother. But I wish you luck.

Cul-de-sac Mom

Silly you… this woman can’t live on vodka, Bunko, church, and gossip alone! She needs JEWELS, dangit! SomethingMOM - erica courtney wish that will make that b*tch Veronica at the tennis club and her Wisteria Lane cronies jealous over. This calls for something special. Oh yeah. This calls for something really special. I’m thinking this 18K gold and diamond Erica Courtney “Wish” ring containing a gorgeous seven-and-a-half carat pink tourmaline center will do the trick. Can you imagine the look on Veronica’s face? Oh, to be a fly on the country club’s wall, if only at that very moment.

This Mom Right Here

(Ahem) What the hell, right?

Hey! Kids! If you’re reading this, you’re too young, so get off of Mommy’s computer and go hand it to Daddy. Then go get his glasses because he’s going to ask you for them anyway. Thanks.

Hi! Hello! Hey, this is the mother of your two kids right here. It’s me. Your wife of ten years. How’re ya doin’? Good…listen… about my gift, all I’d like from you for this Mother’s Day is to not have to do the dishes, and a four carat natural pink diamond. That’s it. Just those two things. And if you can’t do both, just the diamond will do. Thanks. Love you bunches.

Happy Mother’s Day to you moms!

What's On the Brain

“What’s on the Brain?” April Edition: Sand, Surf, Sea, and Shore

This week is bookended by two separate trips to the coast, and while I’m not naturally a lover of the sun (WRINKLES! GASP!) or the sand (Who here doesn’t find that you’re picking that stuff out of your crevices for weeks?), living so far inland has given me a new appreciation of trips to and anywhere near a beach.


The interiors of Altier and Polo Jewelers.

The Gold Coast has its share of fabulous everything, I recently learned. From oyster bars to luxury hotels, the stretch of beach from just north of Miami up to Vero has some of the whitest sand and nicest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, not to mention fabulous (I just snapped my fingers – twice) jewelry stores. Altier in Boca Raton – a major Patek Philippe dealer – is worth the visit simply for the sheer beauty of the interior, and Polo Jewelers in Wellington is smack in the middle of Polo Country, U.S.A., so trust me when I say that the product (and in-store wine bar… {hiccup}) did not disappoint. All of this sand and surf had me on the hunt for interesting oceanic jewels to add to my ever-growing “Under the Sea” Pinterest board, but the handful I’ll be highlighting below are a whole new breed of special. Grab your towel and your SPF 60, ‘cause we’re going for a trip “down the shore”… 

Let’s start in Pittsburgh!


Paula Crevoshay and her piece, “Ocean’s Consciousness”

Whatthewhat? Hear me out… award-winning jewelry artist Paula Crevoshay’s mind-blowing works will be on display at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History starting April 13th. Crevoshay, who has created a plethora of aquatic-inspired jewels, is seen here holding her “Ocean’s Consciousness” piece at the museum. The center part of the necklace (which doubles as a brooch) is made from the mineral chrysocolla (a hydrated copper cyclosilicate with the formula Cu2-xAlx(H2-xSi2O5)(OH)4·nH2O (x<1) or (Cu,Al)2H2Si2O5(OH)4·nH2O… as if you didn’t already know) and gives the appearance of the head of an octopus. It’s magnificent. She’s magnificent. It’s wonderful to know that jewelry like this exists and will for a long, long time to come. 

Speaking of Octopodis…


Pieces by SICIS, Sorab & Roshi, Ateliet Minyon, and Shawish

And yes, (looking directly to my editor here,) that is a correct pluralization of octopus since the word is of Greek origin, not Latin. Merriam-Webster verified it. Anyway, speaking of octopuses (also correct!), here’s a treat for your oculi (plural of oculus!): an UH-MAZING 18K gold, Akoya and Tahitian pearl and diamond octopus necklace by Italian luxury brand, SICIS, who recently showed their wares at the BaselWord show in Switzerland. Next up, a diamond, coral, and chrysophrase brooch by Sorab & Roshi because, well, the world just needs more coral and chrysophrase combinations. And how about this 18K rose gold and oxidized silver ring by one of my favorite design houses, Atelier Minyon, eh? It contains .17 carats of diamonds and .49 carats of a variety of different colored sapphires and is real enough to scare your four-year-old away from your jewelry chest. Lastly, I’ve included what may just be the most daring and inspiring piece of jewelry I’ve seen in ages: an 18K pink gold, diamond, and pearl octopus bracelet by Swiss design house Shawish, which is made using technology that allows the bracelet to light up at night from within. No. Freaking. Sh*t. I beg you to visit their website and explore it more. Can you say “BLINGTOPUS?” One of a kind, indeed.

“Fish Are Friends, Not Food”


Fish jewels by Manya & Roumen, Aldo Cipullo, Stephen Webster, and Tiffany & Co.

That one was for the parents (or Pixar lovers) in the room. There are so many lovely fish-themed pieces of jewelry on this planet that it was hard to pick just four. I decided I’d start with a simple, 18K yellow gold and Swiss blue topaz goldfish ring by artists and animal lovers, Manya & Roumen because a.) Manya is a Philly native, b.) She writes children’s books, and c.) I just adore the piece. Next, I included this gorgeous 18K yellow gold, diamond, and rubellite fish brooch by Italian designer (most famous for creating the Cartier “love” bracelet) Aldo Cipullo. It is not a new piece by any stretch, but it’s a piece that caught my eye for obvious reasons. British designer Stephen Webster is known for his Hollywood-loved iconic adornments including his sea-themed items. This Jules Verne 18K white gold and diamond ring is only a sampling of what the designer has created, oceanically. Finally, where would we be without Tiffany & Co., am I right? This angel fish cuff is made in 18K white, rose, and yellow gold and contains diamonds, blue chalcedony, spessartite, blue (and green!) sapphires, and onyx. My head just exploded. Yours? Thought so.

Best of the Rest

The vast, ocean-sized array of sea-themed works are yours for the pinning if you know where to look.


More glorious works by Lydia Courteille, Wendy Yue, Verdura, and Roberto Coin

Designers like the exceptional Lydia Courteille, Wendy Yue, Verdura, and Roberto Coin have taken us on an underwater journey like no jewelry artisans have before. But it doesn’t stop with those four; Roberto Bravo,


Roberto Bravo, David Webb, Michelle Della Valle, and Sevan Bicakci ocean-themed jewels

David Webb, Michelle Della Valle, and Sevan Bicakci have breathed new life into the term “sea life” with pieces that would turn even the most die-hard land-lover into a Jacques Cousteau wannabe. This is jewelry at both its most creative and most joy inducing. Wearing any of this lot would transport my spirit to the Florida coast where it previously had found peace by simply listening to the water roll in as it sipped Sauvignon Blanc by a broken-down pier.

My spirit is looking forward to being there again. As is my soul, my mind, and my body.

Until then, at least I have my jewels…

What's On the Brain

“What’s On the Brain?” September Edition: Red Carpet Bigs and Smalls

For those expecting this to be a post solely about Sofia Vergara’s breasts, big or not, you’re going to be gravely disappointed, just so you know…

We all know the Emmys as sort of the poor man’s Oscars. I mean, it’s television, and not that television can’t be great or isn’t great or wasn’t great, but let’s face it, you’re not seeing a whole lot of George Clooneys (big) and Brad Pitts (biggity-big) on the Emmy red carpet (at least, not any more). That doesn’t mean that we still don’t love sitting around with a glass bottle of wine, an open laptop, and a brain full of snarky comments awaiting those more fortunate, however, and this year’s Emmy Awards provided the perfect forum for criticism galore. Don’t get me wrong, there were still plenty (not really plenty… a couple) of things to get excited about, which I’ll be sure to mention below, but instead of “Hits” and “Misses” or “Do’s” and “Don’ts,” this Emmy post will be broken down by size.

“Big” – Rings on the finger you flip people the bird with.Emmyringgrid

I imagine the area surrounding the Nokia Theatre on Emmy night must be pretty freakin’ crowded: limos everywhere; Hollywood residents trying to get home after a long day at the Scientology center; and undereducated tourists wondering why in the hell their taxi hasn’t moved more than six feet in three-and-a-half hours. It’s this scenario that leads me to believe that someone, at some point on Sunday – be it cab driver, member of the media, or Kardashian (I mean, they ARE everywhere) – had been flipped a big ol’ bling-dripping bird for cutting off an Emmy nominee’s chauffer. Don’t take my word for it – look at the pictures. Just about every huge ring on loan was worn on the middle finger of the right hand. How much would you pay for a group photo of Christina Hendricks, Alyson Hannigan, Kerry Washington, Aubrey Plaza, and Zooey Deschanel flipping off Ryan Seacrest? I’d pay lots. Oh, I’d pay lots. It would have to be an I.O.U. but I’d still pay, eventually. Fred Leighton, Jay Carlile & Company, Neil Lane, and Chanel could seriously benefit from THAT marketing campaign idea. Hey, Ryan, here’s 6.4 million dollars worth of ‘f**k you’ for ya! MAYBE THIS WILL HELP YOU REMEMBER TO ASK ABOUT THE JEWELS NEXT TIME!


emmydanesstudsWTF, television people? What is your p-r-o-b-l-e-m? Yeah, okay, the country is having a hard time financially, but so does Great Britain from time to time, yet you don’t see the Queen driving herself around in a Hyundai, do you? We need you people! We need to be reminded that while yes, we’re technically Britain’s biological offspring who sued their parents in order to live on our own, we need our version of royalty to make us forget about the fact that we haven’t paid the cable bill. Tiny stud earrings where chandeliers belong isn’t going to cut it. You may as well show up in your nightclub clothes, like Melissa Leo did. (Boos from the crowd.) What? Oh, stop. Win or not, she looked like she was just shot out of a freshly painted cannon. Fact is, I’m disappointed in all of you stud wearers. Every one of you. Except you, Lena Dunham. I try not to think about you at all when it comes to fashion so frankly I don’t care what you do or wear. Or you, L.L. Cool J (#studinstuds) because LAWDY LAWD you can knock this momma out any day of the week, child. But Cat Deeley, COME ON! You’re one of the most genuinely gorgeous women on television and you pair studs (albeit Forevermark studs, I mean, any other day of the week they’re fab) with a lackluster Armani gown? My heart hurts just thinking about it. Shame on you, Cat Deeley. The Queen must be so disappointed. Your Hyundai awaits, madam… your Hyundai awaits…

“Big” – Emerald everything.

As you may have read in a previous post, I’m a big fan of all things Beryl. Both of my kids’ birthstones are Beryl, emmyemerso I have a very special place in my heart for emeralds, but this year, I fear the Emmys gave me a case of Emerald Overload. Dresses in emerald. Earrings with emerald. Ridiculously oversized necklace-for-the-occasion made of emerald (looking at you, Maria Menounos). They were BIG and they were “big” and I was so very happy to see some opal finally appear. Here’s the deal: I don’t believe that in the history of red carpets anyone has done emerald as well as Lorraine Schwartz did for Angelina Jolie at the 2009 Oscars (except maybe Bulgari when they donned Julianne Moore in three-million dollar pear-shaped emerald earrings at the 2010 Golden Globes), and so I feel that everyone else – yes, even you, Sofia – pales in comparison in terms of what folks will remember down the road. Don’t be mistaken, Sofia’s going to be remembered, but it will be for the other big things hanging from her body, NOT for her earrings.


Use. An adjective. Other. Than. AMAZING. Try one. There are plenty, Giuliana. It can’t be that your one-million dollar cocktail ring AND Sofia Vergara’s Cover Girl manicure are BOTH amazing. That’s not possible. You know why it’s not possible? Because Louis C.K. said so, and he was nominated for an Emmy, which *may* be an acceptable reason for being called “amazing.”

Stop. For the love of gawd. Saying. “Like.” Before. Every. Sentence. Hey! You kids under twenty-five on the red carpet! STOP YOURSELVES. Pause and think. Get a speech coach. You’re not interviewing for the role of a Kardashian cousin (see a pattern happening here?) so take the usage down a notch.

HashtagACTGENUINE. You’re actors, people. Whether you want to be there or not, you chose this as your profession, so stop shrugging off the Ryans of the world and do your damned interviews, because twenty years from now when you’re making the sequel to “Liberace” you’re going to beg someone with a microphone to ask you who made your lapel pin. HashtagBdashLIST.

“Big” – Body Parts

65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - ArrivalsIt was wonderful this year to see the women of television showing off their beautiful curves and their four-hour-pilates-sessioned arms on the red carpet. While the dresses were on average a bit drab, there clearly were some stand-outs in the sexy-siren category, with grand prize going to – you guessed it – Sofia Vergara. But let’s face it, no Emmy awards would be complete without Christina Hendricks’ rack, Kerry Washington’s lips, Heidi Klum’s shoulders, Lisa Rinna’s implanted cheekbones, and John Hamm’s posterior, so let’s give a BIG round of applause to those things which we most adore!

I hope you enjoyed this Emmy 2013 breakdown. Until the next awards show, this is Adornmentality saying…

SEACREST, OUT. (One can only hope…)

What's On the Brain

“What’s On the Brain?” August Edition: Morganite

Welcome to another (another?? I mean, ANOTHER!) new segment of this here blog titled “What’s on the brain?” Each month I’ll be highlighting a gem or style or person (or look or phrase or color or song or pet) that’s being talked, tweeted, or blogged about by giving you its back story, and if you’re good, maybe a little full frontal on it as well.

This month’s centerfold? Morganite.

Ah, Morganite. Half 1980’s prime-time soap star actress/half mineral. There are so, SO many reasons I should love it and do. Firstly, her family is Beryl. (Yes, Morganite is a “she”; don’t you ever forget it.) Beryl, for those who never heard of Wikipedia, live under a rock, or are *so* hipster they refuse to use ‘the internets’, is a mineral composed of beryllium aluminium cyclosilicate with the chemical formula Be3Al2(SiO3)6. Take THAT eleventh-grade chemistry teacher who failed me! (Imagine you just witnessed a mic drop and were impressed.)

morgantite yael necklace

18K rose gold and 13.22 carat Morganite necklace by Yael designs

Now, for a change of direction I’m going to take Morganite to a place she rarely goes: the kingdom of Gondor. Imma ‘bout to get all nerdtastic on your asses, so for those who can’t handle it, you may want to skip to the next paragraph. “Beryl” has often mistakenly been used as the spelling of the name of Boromir’s second and youngest daughter when in fact the correct spelling is Beril. BUT! BUT! That’s not the only Tolkienesque connection. Beryl (the mineral, not the daughter), depending on the hue, is more popularly known by four other familial names: Emerald, Aquamarine, Morganite, and Heliodor (which, by rights, sounds as if it should be the name of the fifth son of Isildur alongside Elendur, Aratan, Ciryon, and Valandil), I mean, right??? DOESN’T IT? Hello? What the hell, gang? Tolkien’s eleventh volume of The History of Middle Earth IS titled “The War of the Jewels”… has no one read that? No one? Peggy Jo? Ahh, fuggeddit. Back to pretty speak.

With the popularity of rose gold hitting record levels, Morganite has become the “IT” gem for fashion jewelry and right-hand rings. Last year, I chose this Rose Water Morganite ring by Yael designs as my pick for Brittany Siminitz’s “Your Pick” feature on JCK Marketplace’s “On Your Market” blog. This marvelously designed ring reminded me of a warm summer day on the beach in Belize; breeze blowing through my long brunette locks whilst my jewels sparkled in the mid-July sunlight.

Maintaining the balance between nerd and fashionista can border on neurotic at times. In case you were wondering.  


A plethora of Morgantite at the Atlanta Jewelry Show in August

Recently I was able to see these uniquely colored gems up close at the Atlanta Jewelry Show, in a variety of different shapes, hues, and carat weights. What I love most about the look of Morganite is that it’s not really pink at all (a color I loathingly loathe), but rather more of a peach color. Salmon, even. Which is why it looks so heavenly when set in rose gold, particularly 18K. It’s become such an “accepted-by-the-masses” look (wasn’t that the original name of Depeche Mode’s 1987 album?) that even hugely successful e-tailers whose name may or may not rhyme with “Flew Bile” (it’s an inside joke, BN. Please don’t sue me) have included rose gold and morganite pieces in the fashion jewelry sections of their websites. Owe. Mah. Gawd, Becky. Look. At her. Ring.

In conclusion, no, I did not write this post while drinking a Glenlivet 12 AND a glass of pinot grigio, simultaneously. Maybe. But in further conclusion, if you’re a retailer, I suggest you get on the horn and contact some of the major jewelry labels doing wonders with this combination (**coughing** Yael Designs**coughing**) and ask what it would take to get it in your store, because you’re missing the boat if you don’t have it. If you’re a fashion jewelry wholesaler, I recommend playing around with the ol’ gal and seeing if her look fits with your look. Try out some Morganite in your collections. Go on. You can do it. She doesn’t bite. Much. And if you’re a fashionista, clearly you already own something containing Morganite because you are FAB.U.LOUS and because you are a WOMAN (or gay man, or gay man, don’t get offended gay men friends) and you can werk that sweet, salmony stone, baby!

My head hurts. Until next time, loves.