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La Vie Boheme


I love a good accessory as much as the next woman. More than some. And I find myself wildly drawn to the work found at Lo Behome, a designer of fabulous flights of bridal fancy like the Cleo Fascinator, shown here. It can be worn in a variety of ways and attaches to your updo of choice with alligator clips.

But wait, there are other great accessories at Lo Boheme!
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Get Rid of Engagement Rings?

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Bling bling!

Tell me ladies, do you have a big fat diamond engagement ring on your finger? Maybe a giant sapphire? I personally don’t, not for any particular bias against them (when they’re conflict free) but rather because I am a ring snagger so I do best with low-profile rings that aren’t going to rip out my hair and destroy my delicates. I do have a surprising number of friends sporting big bling, some of whom I think must still be paying it off after a few years.

No matter. Whether you’re partial to something like Twistie’s silver frog or the 10 carat estate ruby I do occasionally wear (snag snag) or a huge honkin’ diamond set in platinum, there’s one thing most most engagement rings have in common. And that’s that engagement rings are given to women by men. Which is fine and dandy – who doesn’t love presents? – but it does have this weird way of tipping the scales, making people feel inadequate, and switching on the materialism in nice people who aren’t typically prone to that sort of thing. Plus, according to Slate’s Dear Prudence writer Emily Yoffe:

It turns young women — otherwise independent, successful strivers — into passive recipients, waiting for their prince to rescue them from their single state. In what other aspect of their lives do young women so totally turn over their future to the decisions of others? I get letters from women who regularly scour their beloved’s sock drawer, hoping to see a ring box, evidence that marriage is in their future. The ritual of the engagement ring means he decides, he buys, he proposes. Throwing the ring out of the equation encourages the progression toward marriage to be more of a continuing discussion, a joint decision.

What do you think? Should engagement rings go the way of the dodo or should things get back into balance with the introduction of an engagement gift for men trend?

I Hadn’t Really Thought About It That Way

via Cristiano Ronaldo (WARNING: Many images NSFW… or the faint of heart about boobies and other ladybits)

So. I was watching Four Weddings the other night (Fridays, 10:00, 9:00 Central on TLC) and was quite intrigued with one couple: Rachel and Brad. They were actors who put together a rather gloriously OTT wedding. There were bagpipes and air horns at least one acrobat, and handfasting done with sparkly ribbons, and the groom vowing never to smoke another cigarette. In fact, Mr. Twistie and I both agreed it was one we wished we could have gone to… and when Mr. Twistie gets as enthusiastic about a wedding as to want to be there, well, you know it’s a party.

Anyway, one of the less than conventional decisions that Rachel and Brad made was to have their wedding rings tattooed on rather than going the more common route of buying metal bands. Fair enough. Not my thing, but then needles wig me out on an epic level. Mr. Twistie, too. We would happily live in a universe where needles never, ever, ever get inserted into human flesh. But it wasn’t our decision to make. It was Brad and Rachel’s decision, and they chose to have ink on their hands.

In the opening interview, Rachel talked about how much more practical this is because you can’t accidently lose your ring. After all, a marriage is supposed to last a lifetime. She called it ‘more functional.’

Okay. Of course I know a lot more couples who have gotten divorced than have lost their wedding rings, but I can see where she’s coming from and have no beef with her reasoning or her reasons. It’s her finger. She gets to determine whether it bears a ring, a tattoo, or nothing at all.

When I started getting it as a cool thing was during the ceremony. The happy couple was asked to explain their choice to their guests. So what did Brad say?

It’s a blood oath, and the only tattoo that will ever adorn my body.

Dayum! Now that’s the sound of a committed groom!

How could Rachel top that? One simple declarative sentence:

You’re in my flesh forever.

Will Rachel and Brad live happily ever after? Will they always be happy with their decision to opt for ink over gold? Those are questions I cannot answer. All I know is they’re going in expecting forever and refusing to be anyone but themselves.

And you know what? I think that gives them at least two and a half legs up on people who don’t enter marriage precisely that way.

Manolo Jewelry

Manolo says, please allow the Manolo to present to you the latest addition to the Manolosphere: Manolo Jewelry!

Edited by our good friend, and the long-time commenter at the blogs of the Manolo, La Petite Accadienne, who will be certain to provide you with much jewelry-based entertainment.

Manolo Jewelry!

And now you must go and leave our friend La Petite Acadienne the comment welcoming her to the world of blogging.

Eight Carats Not Enough?


I’m sure everyone here wishes the greatest possible joy to tennis star Maria Sharapova and her fiance, basketball player Sasha Vujicic. I know I do. I wish that to all couples in love.

And I certainly hope that she loves the purportedly eight-carat diamond ring she’s been sporting in honor of the engagement.

Now, with that out of the way, I clearly need to send a copy of Miss Manners to writer Chris Chase for penning this ‘whimsical’ piece on how Mr. Vujacic has cheaped out on the ring by not spending Chase’s estimate of Vujacic’s two-month salary. Chase estimates that two months worth of Vujacic’s salary comes out to $912,000.00, making the mere $250,000.00 he’s reported to have spent a pittance.*

Sigh.

We’ve been over and over and over this point here at Manolo for the Brides. Two months’ salary for an engagement ring is not etiquette. It was an advertising slogan for DeBeers. You know, the people who sell diamonds. Etiquette considers it painfully rude to even enquire as to the price of someone’s jewelry, let alone a piece so imbued with symbolism. Etiquette would also be appalled at estimating someone’s salary, even when it’s a matter of public record, for the purpose of shaming them into spending more of it. Seriously, these are things over which etiquette has a painful attack of the vapors.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: when choosing an engagement ring, the gentleman should consider the taste of his lady and the state of his bank account (and credit rating). The lady, given the choice, should be thoughtful of his wallet. Everyone else in the universe should just butt out. Er… with the possible exception of the jeweler who is sort of required if the ring is being bought new or adapted from a not-so-new source.

Besides, if Mr. Twistie had followed the two months salary ‘rule’ I would never have gotten the engagement ring I wanted. It didn’t cost nearly that much.

*(I know the article is meant to be humorous, but it’s still based on a crass assumption that needs to be deflated at every possible opportunity. Way too many people think that ‘rule’ is a real one, so I continue to tilt at this particular windmill.)

GIVEAWAY: Win a Polli Ring Pendant!

In honor of the fact that it’s the first anniversary of my 30th birthday – thank you, Tiffany, for the perspective! – I thought it would be fun to have a little giveaway. The lovely gals at Polli, a super cute all-female Australian company that has been certified Low CO2, have graciously agreed to participate!

Isn’t that adorable? When Polli got in touch, I was just squeeing my head off. Why? More often than not, when I wear my engagement ring, I wear it on a chain around my neck! But I hate the way it sticks out – I look at this pendant and see the perfect, though admittedly cheeky, solution to my problem.

Win it!

Polli is offering Manolo for the Brides readers a chance to win a gorgeous and fun “diamond ring” pendant! To enter, visit Polli and tell me what you’d choose if you could have anything at all from their sweet jewelry, accessories, and housewares. I, for example, would love to get a Fractal Eco Clock for my birthday! So just let me know what Polli product you dig, and you’ll have one entry to your name.

For additional entries, do any of the following (and leave a comment for each additional entry):

1. As always, you can score one additional entry when you add Manolo for the Brides to your blogroll or let us know we’re already on your blogroll so we can link back to you

2. Score two additional entries when you sign up for the Polli newsletter

3. And you can pick up a whopping three additional entries when you tweet this giveaway or post about it on your own blog!

This giveaway will end at 11:59 p.m. EST on Sunday, October 31, and the winner – chosen via your friend and mine, the trusty random number generator – will be announced the next day. Good luck!

Ring Around the Groom

Once upon a time, when marriage was more likely to be a financial arrangement than the joining of two hearts desperately in love, rings were pretty much only for the bride. She might or might not get a betrothal ring, and she wore the wedding ring. After all, he was the one with earthly goods to endow people with. Hers were… not hers. They were her father’s and the groom had probably already gotten that milk cow, interest in the family shipping business, or strategically important tract of land.

Of course, times change and symbols with them. Marriage became a more equitable and less businesslike proposition. Around World War Two, wedding rings for men became popular. Since then, the majority of men do wear wedding rings.

In fact, there are some parts of the world where men wear engagement rings, too. For instance, last month singer Michael Buble announced that he was wearing a ‘man-gagement’ ring, as is the custom in his bride-to-be’s native Argentina.

But neither an engagement nor a wedding ring is actually required on anyone. There are some professions where wearing a ring could be dangerous on the job. There are some men – and even some women, but it appears to be more common among men – who just plain don’t wear jewelry of any sort.

For instance, Mr. Twistie doesn’t have a wedding ring. When I asked him if he wanted one, he look about as though I’d just suggested he expose himself to my grandmother. For the record, I never suggested any such thing. Still, one look at that face and I told him not to worry about it. If he didn’t want a ring, that was fine by me. One less thing to buy suited me fine. And considering he doesn’t even wear a watch, it wasn’t a huge surprise to me.

But different people obviously feel differently on the subject. What are your thoughts on rings (engagement and wedding) for guys? Does your man wear a ring? Will he? Voluntarily? Whose choice was it? Does it matter if they match?
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