Pearl Jewelry For the Modern Day Woman

pearl necklace

When I think of pearl jewelry, I think “classic”. There’s something about the beauty of pearls that is so feminine and makes you look put-together instantly. I tend to gravitate towards pearl jewelry when I need to get a little extra dressed up– like for a job interview or special work function. You could say they are the “little black dress” in the jewelry world and are a must for every modern working woman. Most of us associate pearls with the pretty and pristine white version, but there are actually many more types, shapes and colors available.

Pearl-Lang has recently unveiled their spring collection, which features one-of-a-kind baroque pearls. Unlike the classic round shape that most people are familiar with, these non-traditional gems have noticeably irregular shapes and exhibit extraordinary luster with beautiful orient. Each piece is unique, which means you’ll never find two pearls that are identical. This collection features keshi pearl bracelets and necklaces in charming natural pastel colors as well as in elegant white. Keshi, also known as seed pearls, are completely free-form without the presence of bead nuclei mostly found in saltwater cultured pearls. To top it off, their luster is incredibly intense and long-lasting.

If you’re like me, you knew little about pearls before reading this post. Pearl-Lang has an awesome section on their website called “How to Buy Pearls“, which educates customers on the different terminology (luster, size, shape, color, surface, nacre quality, and matching. ) and the difference between quality pearls and the fakes. For example, the more lustrous the pearl is, the brighter its’ reflection is and the more valuable it is. After looking over all the different variations, I think my next set of pearls won’t be the standard white ones, but maybe one of the darker, Tahitian colored pearls.

purple pearl bracelet

Pearls are also gorgeous for weddings, and since I have one coming up, they’ve been on my mind. I haven’t looked at dresses yet, so I’m not sure if I’m leaning towards a dress decked out in diamonds, lace or pearl accents. Pearls are also nice for the bridesmaid’s jewelry– I wore dainty pearl earrings and a matching necklace for my cousin Monica’s wedding two summers ago where I was a bridesmaid.

Pearl-Lang is a London-based online boutique of high quality, exquisitely designed fine pearl jewelry. Buyers around the world can enjoy access to the world’s finest freshwater, Akoya, South Sea and Tahitian pearl collections crafted with 18ct gold, diamond or sterling silver. Pearl-Lang only selects the very best pearls from the highest quality harvests for their customers. All of their gemstones and precious metals are directly sourced from farms and manufacturers, and they only work with materials that are from an ethical and environmentally responsible production.

To coincide with the launch, Pearl-Lang offers an exclusive 10% discount on all jewelry until the end of April to those who sign up to their newsletter online.

This post was sponsored by Pearl-Lang, but all opinions are my own. 

Caress Forever Collection

caress fine fragrance

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people wear way too much perfume or cologne. This is for two reasons: I get headaches easily and it makes me wonder what you are really trying to cover up if you use that much of a scent. I don’t usually wear perfume on a daily basis, mainly because I always forget to put it on, but on special occasions I give myself a spritz or two. When I heard about the new Caress Forever Collection I was excited- a body wash with fragrance technology? I’m in! No need to remember to spritz myself before leaving the house– or worrying about my glass bottle breaking in transit.

The Caress Forever Collection is the world’s first body wash with Fragrance Touch Technology. The breakthrough technology of Caress Fragrance Release Pearls™ releases bursts of perfume with every touch of your skin. The collection combines sensual floral notes to create a fine fragrance for up to 12 hours.

caress perfume body wash

An award winning perfumer, Loc Dong has close to two decades of experience crafting more than 40 renowned scents for major fashion and fragrances houses. Inspired by the confident and sensual modern woman, Loc Dong captured the widely coveted scent of the mysterious scarlet red rose with breakthrough Living Rose technology for the Caress Forever Collection. In addition to Loc Dong, it took more than 25 scientists across 4 continents to come up with this technological breakthrough in beauty.

There are two scents to choose from:  Love Forever (Top Note: Mandarin Orange and Peach; Heart Note: Scarlet Red Rose, Peony and Freesia; and Base Note: Sandalwood and Vanilla Musk), and Adore Forever (Top Note: Raspberry and Cassis; Heart Note: Angel Face Rose and Muguet; Base Note: Amber, Honey and Vanilla). 

This post was sponsored by Caress, but all opinions are my own. #CaressForever #12HrTouchTechnology

American Diamonds Jewelry

They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, and they aren’t far off. I don’t consider myself a super girly-girl (I prefer shows like Workaholics over Pretty Little Liars), but one aspect of being a girl that I enjoy is all the pretty jewelry. I’m partial to delicate, silver pieces since I’m pretty fair-colored and petite. And although I already have a gorgeous halo engagement ring on my ring finger, that doesn’t mean I can’t keep browsing jewelry stores for other, smaller pieces, right?

American Diamonds Jewelry is an online boutique, featuring exquisite fine jewelry, premade or custom made as well as a large inventory of loose diamonds at very low everyday prices. Below are just a few of my favorite pieces of theirs- including a pair of amethyst earrings (my birthstone) and a cute bar necklace that adds a little sparkle to any outfit without being overkill.

american diamonds jewelry

Diamond Bar Necklace  |  Starfish Earrings  |  Amethyst Oval Studs  |  Twisted Rope Bangle  |  Micro-Pave Set Fashion Ring

Keep up with American Diamonds Jewelry on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, too!

Pantone Toasted Almond

pantone toasted almond

Formula X New Neutral in “Cocoa Bisque”  |  Selina Sunglasses  |  Reiss Marlin Skinny Leather Belt  |  Joie Kidmore Slip On Sneakers  |  Urban Decay Eyeshadow in “Easy Baked”  |  TOPSHOP Fine Gauge Lurex Sweater  |  Target Pleated Satchel Handbag with Bow Detail  |  Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in “Nude Almond”  |  Modcloth Trimming With Enthusiasm Top

Whether you call it taupe, tan or toasted almond, this Pantone Spring 2015 shade may look like it’s hard to pull off (especially on a pale chick like myself), but I promise it’s not. It’s far from off-white or a light tan, so it’s socially acceptable to wear to weddings and it looks great against a spring or summer glow. The timeless shade pairs well with most pastels and brights, especially a bright orange or cooler pinks and mints. To keep the shade from overwhelming you– since it can blend into your skin tone– look for thicker, structured fabrics like suede or faux leather.

I have a pair of work chinos that are in this exact shade and I wear them often in the spring and summer since they’re so versatile. I can easily dress them up with a lace top or dress them down with a basic striped tee (yay for work dress codes that aren’t too strict!)

How Vermont Maple Syrup is Made

2015 maple syrup

A few weeks ago while visiting my parents in upstate New York, James, myself and my parents paid a visit to a local maple syrup shack, called Dunn’s Leak-ee Bucket Sugar Shack. Founded in 2004, the seasonal, family-owned and operated business is located in Bennington, Vermont (a town over from my hometown in NY). There are three generations helping out with the business, including a father-and-son-team with the grandchildren helping out with the boiling and canning process as well.

According to their Facebook page,  “Jason Dunn started his maple syrup hobby in his backyard with some turkey frying pots and plastic buckets and jugs on trees. As his sugar bush grew and his desire to add more taps, he created an evaporator made out of a 50 gallon drum with an old oil barrel for his arch. Finally, in late 2006 he purchased a real evaporator with his father Ted and together they built their new sugar shack. They have successfully completed two seasons with 601 taps and with the addition of some new equipment it is sure to be a great season.”

The Sugarshack was having an open house, inviting members of the community to come see how the business operates, how maple syrup is made and to try samples of the most recent batch.

dunns leakee bucket sugar shack

maple syrup shop

maple syrup shack

So just how is maple syrup made, exactly? While I was paying attention during the tour, it was a bit complicated with all the machinery. But here’s what I remember, supplemented by some online research. Sugarmakers begin to tap the trees in mid-to-late February, as winter starts to exit. After the taphole is drilled, a spout with either a bucket and hook or tubing attached is placed in the hole and gently tapped in place. March and April are sugaring season– the warmer temperatures of spring coax sugar maple trees to turn stored starch back into sugar. Sap is made as the tree mixes ground water with the sugar. Did you know it takes on average 40 gallons of sap to make each gallon of maple syrup? A typical sugaring season lasts 4 to 6 weeks, which is why I mentioned the phrase “seasonal business” earlier in the post.

The freezing and thawing temperatures will build up pressure within the trees, which causes the sap to flow from the tapholes. The sap is drawn quickly back to storage tanks at the sugarshack using a vacuum pump. From the storage tanks, the sap is often put through a reverse osmosis machine, which takes a percentage of the water from the sap before boiling. The evaporation process sends clouds of steam billowing from the steam stacks. An evaporator is where the boiling takes place. Stainless steel pans sit atop an arch, or firebox, where wood creates an intense fire. There was a timer set at the shack we were in, which made sure that new wood was put in the fire every 10 minutes. As the water in the sap evaporates, the sap thickens and as the sugar caramelizes it looks like hundreds of golden bubbles in the front pan. The sugarmaker tests the syrup’s progress by looking for it to sheet off the edge of a metal scoop meaning it’s almost ready. When the thermometer in the pan reaches 219 degrees the syrup is ready to draw off.

how maple syrup is made

making maple syrup

In addition to maple syrup, Vermont is also well-known for their cheese. Although I’m not a cheese eater (yes, it’s crazy, I know), James test-tasted a few of each kind and let me know just how good they were. They had a spread of cured meats as well- maple venison sausage was a standout. We took “shots” of the syrup, which was delicious. Vermont maple syrup tastes entirely different than the store-bought kind. It’s thinner, lighter, sweeter and less artificial–a taste that’s hard to describe unless you try it for yourself!

vermont cheeses

maple syrup grades

For more information–or to order some real Vermont maple syrup of your own– shoot an e-mail to DunnsSugarShack@comcast.net.