March 23, 2017

The Three-Part Post: Princess Charlene’s Busy Week

Guys, this has been such a busy week for Charlene. And for me, too, apparently – it has taken me ages to get this post to you, and I send my apologies to all of you out there who were patiently waiting for it. On my end, things were so hectic that, a few days ago, I had to put writing this aside in favor of having a shower. And I love writing about Charlene…so let’s just say I needed a shower very, very much at that point. Ha!

On to the more pressing matters: Charlene’s busy week! (Photos courtesy of Facebook.) Our princess was hopping from one thing to the next lately, starting with preparations for the Sainte Dévote Rugby tournament.

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As the tournament itself is hosted in part by the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation, the day before the tournament included a series of water safety workshops in which Princess Charlene participated and instructed.

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We all know water safety and drowning prevention are issues near and dear to Charlene’s heart, so it came as no surprise to see her kick off her shoes and get to business in teaching the children. Actually, what I should say is that it didn’t come as a surprise to those of us who follow Charlene. To others out there, it may have been quite shocking to see a shoe-free princess squatting by the pool, or teaching CPR. Her ability to shrug off appearances for important issues is one thing that everyone can admire about her.

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The youngsters participating seemed delighted by her presence and central involvement in their education, and she seemed equally honored to pass some of her life-saving skills onto the next generation.

The next day, Charlene and Albert attended the Sainte Dévote Rugby Tournament at Stade Louis II in Monaco, where Charlene of course got onto the fields to meet the participants.

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Since I don’t particularly have feelings one way or another about rugby, I’ll just jump into the fashion. Charlene looked gorgeous! She wore an elegant, café-au-lait colored coat with a cabernet-colored scarf, looking regal and in her own style all at once – and sometimes, as we know, her own style can clash a bit with regal norms. But this time it was a win on both sides.

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While the coat is elegance and simplicity itself, I certainly would qualify it as edgy in its own right. The length of the back almost gives this a bias cut – though I wouldn’t be courageous enough to call it an actual bias. Just multi-length or tiered? I don’t know how to classify it, but it is not the norm. And the curled lapels give it just the twist of originality that Charlene loves. Other than those two things, the coat is quite unembellished and exquisitely cut.

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And look who made an appearance – little Gabby! Again, I laugh at myself for having a nickname for her, but I can’t help it. Her curls just get me every time. She actually reminds me quite a bit of my own child at that age: completely uninterested in making anyone’s acquaintance, and certainly uninterested in being the focus of attention.

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Still, so adorable in her perfect mini-coat, askew bow, and clinging hands. I love the smile on Charlene’s face and the comfort that Gabriella obviously gets from being in mom’s arms.

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And these two are also pretty darn perfect. Goals, guys.

And finally, the third part of this three part post: the Special Olympics!

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Charlene went to Austria to support – and walk alongside! – the Monégasque participants of the Winter games 2017. Fashion wise, she was of course perfect: I loved the textured jumper-style jacket, bright red scarf, and the white hat. She actually stood out in the group, balancing their white and red pattern with a sort of opposite white and red pattern, honoring their flag and their unity.

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One of my favorite parts of Charlene’s beauty regime is that, if she ever gets the chance to make her lip color a part of her ensemble, she does it with tremendously bold courage. This is an ultimate red that she is rocking here, and it matches the red on their outfits perfectly.

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She looked so proud to be there, and so proud to be alongside these incredible people. Clearly this was an important event for her and for her country, and she seemed to have a very full heart while participating. A win in every sense of the word.

March 14, 2017

Happy Birthday to Prince Albert II!

Today is Prince Albert’s birthday, and I keep wondering how the weather is in Monaco. My mind goes there only because of the weather around me, which is blizzard-like and quite magical. I assume that it’s not balmy in Monaco yet, but they’re probably more on their way to springtime than we are here in upstate NY. All I know is that I am certainly hopeful for Albert and Charlene, that they might be able to celebrate in temperatures above-freezing and a lot less dangerous. I have so much respect for Albert as an individual, but let’s be real: the most important part of his life is his family, and in particular, his wife. And since this is a Charlene-centered blog, that suits me just fine. (Photos courtesy of Facebook.)

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The look of love is one that these two do SO well. I could choose from so many different photos to demonstrate this, as these two are never stingy with their love-eyes toward one another. But since this is just a quick, little birthday wish for Albert, I will settle on just one photo, wishing him this level of happiness for another year ahead.

On a non-birthday-related note, I would love to share with you some photos published of the most recent sport Princess Charlene has taken up:

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Water biking! In the most literal sense of the word. A bike that floats on the waves, catamaran style. All honesty here: what do you guys think of this sport? I admit, it looks kind of ridiculous. Super fun, but ridiculous. Although I have to say, I did try a similar sport years ago, and it is way more difficult than it looks. Charlene’s quads must be solid, cause it’s no joke how much muscle this takes. These are Schiller S1 water bikes, which are quite different from what I used ages ago, but I suspect they carry an equivalent difficulty level.

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The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation will be hosting the Riviera Water Bike Challenge in Monaco this June, so stay tuned for more info in the coming months. There’s a gala coming up, I believe, so look for me again very soon (and cross your fingers for good pictures)! Once again, the happiest of birthdays to Albert today, and wishing him many happy returns.

March 2, 2017

Photos of Charlene and the Twins in Paris Match

A quickie today here on the blog: Princess Charlene and her twin babies have been photographed for Paris Match magazine. I have seen three photos floating around the web; however, I am only able to legally use one (and yes, Facebook has been scoured!), but this is the best one out of all three anyway 😉 The photo, obviously, is courtesy of Facebook, and is all sorts of cute.

The first thought I had when viewing this photo was, Hm, how lovely to see a children’s play room without its being overwhelmed with toys. I’m so used to kids’ play areas that are ghastly, filled-to-the-brim with boxes and bins of toys. It’s sensory overload, and my kid always panics when we go over to another friend’s house simply because of the intense volume of STUFF. That being said, I was so pleasantly surprised that these children are not crowded out of their playroom. They have ample space (at least in as much as we can believe from a photo!), a large rug onto which they can spread out their play materials, and the space seems to encourage imaginative play with its muted tones. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why Charlene is spreading a onesie onto the rug – is she trying to tell us something? Future baby coming? I doubt it. But still, my mind goes there. Maybe it’s a little homage to the most recent birth of the family – Beatrice Borromeo’s baby was born on the 28th – but either way, I wish it were explained somehow. And maybe it is in the magazine article, ha!

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I’ll quickly say that I love Charlene’s clothing here – the red blouse is super flattering, and I genuinely don’t have any criticisms of it. Love the jeans and the shoe-free perspective we get on Charlene as a mom, because what mom doesn’t get down on the floor with her kids? (Apparently the article also touched on her short-short hairstyle, which she has apparently stuck to for athletics. And probably also because raising twins is athletic in and of itself.) I also love Gabriella’s adorable turtleneck! I’ve been fixated on it now for a while, and I think the reason is this: I could totally see the Duchess of Cambridge wearing this in a grown-up size. I have no idea why this thought keeps coming to me, but it does! I love it, and that such a small girl has such impeccable sartorial taste. Also, and this is not fashion-related whatsoever, but what’s not to love about the sleepy, stuffed owl that is perched between the kids? SO adorable.

That’s it for today, kids – I couldn’t resist sharing this with you, even if it’s short and sweet!

February 25, 2017

Charlene Glitters in Gold for AMREF Gala

The last couple of days have been busy ones in Monaco, where Princess Charlene has been buzzing about with work for her foundation. Yesterday evening, Charlene was front-and-center at a gala in Monaco to support the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF), a cause near and dear to her heart, and today she attended the Charity Mile Race Event in France. It always warms me to see the princess not only supporting her causes, but giving her time and presence at their events – even if it means stepping away from her twins for a night or two, which is never easy for any mother! (Photos courtesy of Facebook.)

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For the AMREF gala, Charlene chose a jaw-dropping gold gown by Akris, a staple label of hers. I imagine looking into Charlene’s closet and seeing an entire wall devoted to Akris, she loves it so. And who wouldn’t?!

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Actually, many people wouldn’t. So far, this gown has gotten very mixed reviews from royal watchers. The criticisms I have heard thus far have ranged from just disliking the dress to disliking everything about the entire look, even going so far as body-shaming Charlene, which I would categorize as completely unacceptable and lurking into troll-territory. Critics have argued that this accentuates her too-wide shoulders, and that the scoop neck is too reminiscent of a swimsuit or tank-top. My personal opinion is quite different: I actually like this dress very much. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it blew me away, but I certainly thought it touched on Charlene’s edgy sensibilities and provided enough glitz to honor the event. Some of the other ladies went for more traditional, softer gowns; Charlene, as usual, went in a more daring direction. I love the detailing and the sequins, though I can certainly see how someone averse to sequins might be overwhelmed here. And as you all know, I have a fondness for Charlene’s strong shoulders and her lean build, and don’t see any problem with the fact that she wears what she likes, even if it highlights what other people might think of as “negative.” I wish more people would see their unique features as assets rather than obstacles to cover up, but alas, this is an unfortunate, cultural norm.

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Now, there was one aspect of this styling that I did not prefer: the earrings. Don’t get me wrong – I actually LOVE these earrings, just not with this particular dress. Had I been Charlene, with a gown that perfectly matched my hair tones, I would probably have reached for something gold, or bronze, to match. Diamonds do match everything, certainly, but something about this gown just begs for gold. To me, at least. But I certainly had no problem getting a close-up look at these diamonds. That part was a-ok.

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I don’t love this photo, but I show it to highlight another issue some critics have been torn on: Charlene’s hairstyle. I’ve been enjoying the pixie quite a bit, though it seems the least offensive commentators have more of a problem with the almost razor-edge cut on the sides of her head, rather than the short haircut in general. Once I saw that particular point made, I would say that I tend to agree. Something about this most recent cut is a bit top-heavy, and I think I preferred the pixie more rounded around her head. Her hair coloring is nearing ombre territory, and I am enjoying that very much. As I mentioned earlier, it certainly matched her gown!

Moving on! Today, Charlene attended the Prix Princesse Charlène de Monaco – Charity Mile in France, where she again chose an Akris ensemble. This time she went MUCH more casual, as it was a day event, yet still retained the chic quality for which she is so famous.

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Charlene paired an Akris short-jacket with one of their black jumpsuits, and the jumpsuit itself is positively stunning. I wish she hadn’t had to wear the jacket with this, but I assume that the weather wasn’t quite warm enough yet to make it possible. The jacket is nice too, but I wish we could see the jumpsuit full-length. Sigh.

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And to end on a very happy note, Charlene’s makeup was SO on point today! She looked positively radiant in the sunshine, and I have always loved how she can rock a bold lip color. It lights her up, and the black outfit balances everything so well – home run. I would actually put both of these events in the “win” column for Charlene: even though the gown from last night might not have been everyone’s flavor, it was definitely Charlene’s, and she wore it for herself. That’s the way to do it!

February 14, 2017

Princess Charlene Wows in Red on Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all! I am normally quite ambivalent toward this holiday, and in previous years I have always insisted on making it more film-noir at home, complete with silk stockings, roses, and wine, rather than embracing the balloons, construction paper crafts and conversation hearts that usually engulf v-day. But this year, I’ve got to admit that I’m getting swept up into the tasteless charm of it all! Maybe because my kid is getting old enough to understand and enjoy it, so I get to do the same vicariously? Who knows. I was actually so into it this year that I had planned to do a post on Charlene’s various red dresses. But that idea was scrapped last-minute, because little did I know that she would surprise us by making an appearance today in a brand-new, bright red dress! Be forewarned, folks: I am getting all the feels from this one. (Photos courtesy of Facebook.)

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This evening, Charlene and Albert stepped out to attend the Laureus World Sports Awards at the Salle des Étoiles in Monte Carlo. But I’m not wasting any time today – I couldn’t possibly care less about the event itself. My focus is purely on Charlene. And THIS DRESS.

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I am nearly certain that this is a Louis Vuitton creation, but I am human and could be completely wrong. UPDATE: This gown is Herrera, and I find it to be divine: the ample fabric in the skirt and train (a train!!!), the embellished empire AND dropped waistlines, the sexy cold-shoulderline, and the appropriate-for-Valentine’s-Day sweetheart neckline – I mean. It is regal, vibrant, daring, chic, romantic and elegant all at once.

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This shot gives us an idea of the back. The high backline is surprising to me – I would have expected a less conservative design – but I actually appreciate it. I can be extremely persnickety about balance, and the demure back of this gown seems to offset the plunging neckline just exquisitely.

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This is an unfortunate picture, I know. I only show it to you so that you can get a look at these shoes. We can only see the toe here, but it reminds me very much of the pumps she wore to the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters last year. Certainly not the same shoes – those had a bright yellow heel, and could you imagine if that accidentally popped out from underneath this dress? The clash would be hideous. But the similarity of the toe makes me want to pin these shoes as Dior. Though it’s hard to tell with just a toe 😉 UPDATE: These shoes are not Dior at all, but Jimmy Choo. And they’re perfect.

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Also worthy of note: while hair and makeup were impeccable – you know how much I love a red lip – has anyone else gotten the feeling that Charlene may be going a few shades darker with her hair? I’m not sure if it was the lighting or what, but it suits her very nicely. I would be so pleased if she changed it up with a different shade, even though the pixie-blonde has sort of become her signature style. This darker tone, combined with the bold, dark-red lip, certainly took me off-guard. But not in a bad way!

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And…these EARRINGS! I’m not sure if these are new or perhaps just making a resurrection, but I certainly cannot recall having seen them recently. To the best of my knowledge, anyway. These are some of the longest earrings she has – no? They almost graze her collarbone. I like them very much, and while I am quite sure the diamonds are as real as real can be, they don’t quite have a regal quality to me. Not that Charlene always has to dip into that category; au contraire, I rather like the fact that she has a modern, edgy twist to her style. I think Duchess Kate’s earrings from the BAFTAs have spoiled me on any other earrings in existence, at least for awhile. Ha!

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Happy Valentine’s Day, my friends! And if you’re not coupled up, do me a favor and practice some self-love today. You are beautiful, and you deserve chocolate. Get it!

January 27, 2017

The Feast of Sainte Dévote

For those of you who have been following for a couple years now, today’s celebration in Monaco will be no surprise to you. But for those of you who are new to this site, first of all, welcome!, and second, let me introduce you to Monaco’s patron saint, Sainte Dévote, whose feast day is celebrated today. Sainte Dévote was not actually from Monaco, but her martyred body drifted ashore there, guided by an angelic dove. When her body was discovered, she received a proper, Christian burial, and has since looked after the principality. The Monégasque people have always been fiercely protective of their saint, to the extreme of burning a theif’s boat after he unsuccessfully tried to steal her relics some 900 years ago. As a reminder of their loyalty (and as an invocation of her protection), every year the people of Monaco burn a boat in honor of Sainte Dévote. (Photos courtesy of Facebook.)

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The custom of boat-burning takes place on the eve of Sainte Dévote’s feast, where the Princely family proceeds from the chapel to set a boat ablaze. Charlene never fails to attend, even just after having given birth to her twins a couple years ago. This is one of my absolute favorite events of the entire year, mainly because of the spectacle of the whole thing. The bright yellow flames against the dark night sky, the glowing-white chapel in the background, the fully-robed priests bringing a sacred gravity to the ritual – it’s all so theatrical and mesmerizing.

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But I know y’all just came here for the fashion 😉 Just kidding. Sort of.

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I am always so thrilled to see what Charlene chooses to wear for the boat-burning. Last night, she looked so chic I could have cried. She chose a charcoal grey turtleneck – should I even be calling this a turtleneck? It’s high enough on the neckline, but that word doesn’t jive with me. Maybe just a high-necked blouson with a notched collar? Whatever it was, it oozed elegance and finesse.

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She paired the grey with an extraordinary, aubergine cape. The cape does have slits in it for her arms, but she opted not to use them. Why? I have no idea. Perhaps it was just slightly too chilly in the night air, and she needed the extra fabric. Whatever the reason, the draping of the cape made for a very dramatic effect, and you already know how much I love the wine color on Charlene. Yessssss.

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Hard to see here, I know, but she paired this with high, yet flat, black boots. A suitable choice for her ensemble and for the cobblestones, I think.

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Makeup, hair, jewelry, all on point. (As a sidenote, I’ve been looking through people’s opinions today just randomly on the internet, and many seem to be fixated on this idea that she may have had some plastic surgery done recently. I will definitely touch on that, but in a separate post.)

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Today, the festivities continued with a full Mass at the cathedral, followed by the necessary balcony appearance. In a drastic opposition to the choice of colors last night, today Charlene went completely beige. If I had to choose, I would opt for the evening tones on Charlene – something about beige seems to wash her out, just from my perspective. But she did look lovely, and didn’t put a foot wrong.

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The coat she chose had almost a mermaid flair to it, fitted through the hips and opening toward the claves. Very interesting. But I’ve got to be honest, my main obsession was the boots. These BOOTS, guys. I was in boot heaven.

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Is this family adorable?! I wish we had some better pictures of the kids, but none of the ones I found really were worth sharing. This photo stole my heart though!

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…these two. Look how cute they are. Insert little cartoon hearts all around them!

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A happy Sainte Dévote’s day to you all!

January 25, 2017

Happy Birthday, Princess Charlene!

A happy new year to all of you, dear readers! 2017 is off to a bang-up start here in the USA, with some of the most amazing women’s marches across the country having taken place last weekend. It has been empowering and uplifting to see so many women and men of all backgrounds coming together to celebrate women, and more amazing was to see this same spirit around the world: it brought tears to many of our eyes to witness likeminded humans across the planet joining together for women’s rights. Even though royals obviously have every necessity to remain mum about political agendas, I like to think that our royal women – Charlene, Kate, Letizia, Elizabeth II, Victoria, Madeleine, etc. – would have loved to shed their titles for the day and join us in our movement. Therefore, I dedicate Charlene’s birthday post to her role as a powerful woman in the world, and the stunning example that she sets for women worldwide.

Today, Charlene turns 39, and she has accomplished so much as a role model for women in her life. In her athletic career and in her public role, fashion-wise and mother-wise, speaking out for children’s safety and education: she is a slayer. She will, undoubtedly, continue to slay it for women of all walks of life, whether we’re stay-at-home mothers, executives, athletes, artists, or all of the above (yes!). Here are some ways she has worked it over the last year. (Photos courtesy of Facebook and Getty.)

2She sat at the table with the Dalai Lama, advocating for children.

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She got on the ground and taught kids how to perform CPR.

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She helped out at the Red Cross, multiple times.

She wore spiked high-heeled boots to a rugby match (another YES!).

3She led up water safety workshops for kids – again, multiple times.

She was awarded the Blue Ribbon Award, which is actually a HUGE honor, for her humanitarian work surrounding children.

11Oh, and she raised twins through their first two years of life and didn’t lose her mind in the process. That by itself could hold this post from beginning to end.

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Wishing Princess Charlene the happiest of birthdays, and sending her huge thanks for being a lovely role model for women and our young daughters everywhere!

December 24, 2016

Christmas Photos of the Princely Family

Merry Christmas to you all, dear readers! I come to you this Christmas Eve from the countryside of Pennsylvania, where I am visiting with in-laws and some very dear friends. This evening, as we all prepare to tuck our littles into their beds as early as possible so we can get the last of our wrapping completed, I thought we could take a break to view the Princely family’s Christmas photos. Paired with a hot toddy and a roaring fire, these are just the ticket for all of those Christmas feelings. The twins are the main attraction, of course, being two years old and full of merry cuteness. (Photos courtesy of Facebook.)

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Here is the family photo, which I suspect they used for their Christmas card. There is so much going on here to discuss! Charlene looks radiant, glamorous, and regal in gold – is anyone else out there just dying over her dress? It is much shorter than we usually see on Charlene, and my goodness, I don’t think I ever realized what incredible legs she has. Even though they are obstructed by Gabriella here (haha), her pins are completely enviable and gorgeous. I think what most struck me about this photo, though, is the fact that they took it in the Salon des Glaces at the Princely palace, right in front of the portrait of Princess Grace. It was a rather tender way of including her in the family photo. And Gabriella’s smile here…! She is cute personified.

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Speaking of Gabriella…this dress. She is such an adorable little girl, and the image of Albert – at least to my eye. I am once again so taken by her curls and the little bows holding them back.

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A better look at those bows, and a lovely shot of the princess coloring quietly. She seems like a joyful, and perhaps slightly reserved, little lady. I think she will channel the regal qualities of the women in her family without any difficulty whatsoever.

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And here is Jacques, looking rather serious himself…

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…but not too much 😉 His eyes get me every time. I love seeing the playful side of these children, it’s lovely that their parents want to share that with the public as well.

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And I know this blog is supposed to be focused on Charlene, but I had to share this one too. Albert and his babies. I think the look of mischief on Jacques’ face is a Christmas gift in and of itself. I would love to know what he’s thinking here. But really, all of them are just precious, and I am guessing this will be a favorite photo of Charlene’s for years to come. Merry Christmas, from my house (well, my mother-in-law’s house) to yours – I hope you all have a holiday full of joy, love, and peace.

December 22, 2016

Helping at the Red Cross for Christmas

I don’t know about you, but I personally cannot get behind the whole Santa thing. I appreciate the thought behind it, but I just can’t lie to my child. It’s hard to avoid, though, since Santa is everywhere: on people’s lawns, on a big golden throne in the mall, on ornaments, on trimmings, on trappings. Just everywhere. That, and we don’t want our kid to be the one who spoils it for all the other kids. We try to skirt the issue by instead suggesting that Santa is the spirit of Christmas, reminding us to give to those less fortunate than ourselves, and that if we do so, we might be rewarded with gifts of our own. It’s a tough road to navigate, but so far it’s working. (It’s hard to work around all of that chimney nonsense, though.) It certainly is the season of giving, and luckily for all of us trying to teach our children these lessons, Princess Charlene is an example of it every year:

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When the weather gets chilly in Monaco, the princely family makes more than one stop at the Red Cross to help hand out parcels, and it’s a lovely reminder of the true spirit of the season. (Photos courtesy of Facebook.)

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Charlene and Albert always spend part of their holidays giving back to their community, and it’s a humbling thing. To see royals making the time for this, and treating it with the same respect that they treat their other very high-end engagements, is a testament to their devotion for charitable works. But I overloaded on the sentiment already – on to fashion.

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Charlene chose a rather different ensemble for this occasion, chic from head to toe, though only the top half of it was a win for me. The entirety of the outfit was black, save for the red bird detailing on the shoulder line, and it was dripping with sophistication. Personally, I enjoyed everything from the waist up, and nothing from the waist down. I’ll get my gripes over with first: culottes – would you call these culottes? – paired with tights: no thank you. In my humble opinion, this did nothing for her. The shoes were good though!

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But that gorgeous jacket was absolute heaven! I loved the eastern-inspired neckline, the bird detailing, and the luscious material. It was pure grace and elegance, and seemed to bring ample attention to Charlene’s face. Glorious.

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Makeup and hair were breathtaking, too – even if the hair was a tad less voluminous than we’ve seen lately. I think she may have gotten a trim? The red lips, sparkly-gold eyes and the diamond touches on her ears were heaven-sent. She looks like a lovely Christmas bauble, and I mean that in the most flattering way possible!

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I must keep this short today, because even as I write this now, I need to do so much before the Christmas weekend is upon us. I have packing, baking, and wrapping still to do, and I need to do it all while keeping a 4-year old occupied. Wish me luck…and come back soon for a special Christmas post this weekend, full of Charlene, Albert, and the twins all decked out for the holiday! Wishing you much love and sanity until then!

December 18, 2016

Annual Children’s Christmas Party in Monaco

Here is the event we have all been waiting for this Christmas season: the annual children’s Christmas party at the Princely Palace! This year, the twins were old enough to partake in the festivities – somewhat. They still aren’t big enough yet to hand out parcels; however, they were able to delight in the Christmas decorations and the larger-than-life, costumed entertainers. And more fun was watching Charlene and Albert as they clearly enjoyed Christmas through their children’s eyes for the first time ever.

Upon arrival, the children did seem a little overwhelmed by all of the attention. The staircase itself was packed full with other kids, Christmas trees, decorations, and the – I’ll just come out and say it here – totally creepy, giant bunny and snowman. (Pictured in photos later in the post.)

The kids themselves looked positively adorable. I love, love, love how they both have such curly hair! The way Charlene pulls Gabriella’s curls into mini-ponytails is just so cute, and I think all women love little boys with longer, curly hair. I bet Charlene is waiting as long as possible before she has to cut off the baby hair and have Jacques look like a bigger boy!

Gabriella’s coat and boots are SO cute, too. Don’t get me wrong, Jacques always looks cute too, but there is nothing like dressing up a little girl. Her fur-trimmed coat is everything.

Jacques didn’t seem to mind the creepy costumed creatures, but Gabriella certainly did. I saw a photo somewhere – though admittedly I can’t seem to track it down now – of little Gabby just howling in tears to get away from that bunny. I don’t blame her. I would have done the same thing. (I still have that reaction to shopping-mall Santas. *Shudder.*) Also, I can’t show this pic without mentioning the adorable little girl who is peeking through the staircase. So cute!

Looking at Charlene’s outfit, I would say her theme for the day was dress-casual and billowy. From the outdoor photos, you can see that her bright red coat is a touch oversized, and she opted to leave it open and breezy. I absolutely love this coat, you guys! The crisp lines on it are divine, and the choice to leave such a coat as this open – well, it is very dramatic and unexpected. I loved the choice of red for the holidays, as overdone as it is by everyone, because it is still so festive and jubilant.

The pants were also quite lovely. Charlene is one of those women who doesn’t always cling to the skin-tight leggings, and I appreciate her for that. The wide-legged look is very chic right now, and while most people under this much sartorial scrutiny tend to veer away from anything too haute couture and stay in safe-zones, Charlene runs toward it with vigor and success. These particular pants appear to be a lovely tweed, and they are billowed from waist to ankle. Roomy, comfortable, and chic.

I suppose my only issue with the entire ensemble came when she removed the coat. While this blouse is absolutely gorgeous, I felt that the “billowy” theme was a bit overdone by the blouse. With the coat and trousers being roomy, I fully expected a more fitted blouse, and was surprised to see this. I suppose it is saved by being tucked into the waist, thus accenting Charlene’s gorgeous figure. Bottom line: the outfit is a win, but I would have preferred a slimmer top.

Oh, and the shoes didn’t do anything for me, personally, but I can see how people might love them. I, for one, do not.

But her makeup, hair, and jewelry did not disappoint! Lips were red (love), hair was bright and gorgeously voluminous (love), and these pearl-drop earrings almost looked like glimmering snowflakes. Absolutely exquisite.

I loved seeing Charlene around children again. Since becoming a mother, she has completely transformed into being everyone’s mother. There were children actually reaching out for hugs and holding her hands. She is the epitome of maternal instinct, and I love how she can’t seem to turn it off when the kids in question are not her own.

But my favorite part of the day was seeing the princely family together. The way they both light up when looking at their children, and sharing this day with them.

And…the way Albert can’t stop beaming at Charlene. Did anyone else notice this? He is besotted with his wife.

I half expect him to be gathering up his nerve here to ask her for a date. Cue the heart eyes!

And this one is for Beth, our dear reader who noticed Albert’s tie a few posts ago. Look at his tie today, all sorts of Christmas kitsch and cheer! He is all about the goofy charm and expression in his ties, and I am starting to love that part of his personality. Indeed, the whole day was charming all over, and the photos are a lovely celebration of the Christmas season.