February 13, 2018

Valentine’s Love from the Princely Twins

A little early Happy Valentine’s Day to you all! With Ash Wednesday falling on the same day as Valentine’s this year, some of us are indeed celebrating early – like me, for instance. Truth be told, Valentine’s isn’t my favorite holiday, but I do enjoy the chocolate. That’s really the only redeeming feature, though, since otherwise I’m cutting out paper hearts and helping my kid write 5,000 valentines for school (ok, maybe more like 23) for kids toward whom she only feels lukewarm at best. Sigh. It’s just a lot of energy for something that ultimately ends up being a waste of construction paper, you know?

I digress. Enter the princely twins, and I end up forgetting much of that eye-rollingly dull “chore” of Valentine’s Day. In fact, these two actually make me remember the love part. And who doesn’t love love? (Photos courtesy of Facebook.)

8

Charlene shared these adorable photos of the twins just a couple days ago, and they are so sweet. It is so lovely to watch these siblings grow together, and to know that Charlene has facilitated their close relationship from so early on (as Myriam mentioned in the comments on a previous occasion!). They are clearly one another’s best friend, and it’s a good reminder that this holiday should always include family love. Romance is nice, but all love is celebration-worthy.

9

THIS KISS. Hold the phone. This might be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. I admit to being the Grinch of Valentine’s, and this photo goes a long way to breaking that tape measure around my heart. (This, and the afore-mentioned chocolate. I haven’t forgotten that.)

10

Also, Charlene included some pics of the kids at an aquarium. You can’t really see their faces, but it’s still sweet to see them so entranced by the under-the-sea magic.

In other news, more pictures were revealed from the princely family’s vacation in Courchevel (thank you Imke!), and it appeared to be a winter-wonderland sort of adventure.

6

Though I have to admit, my favorite part is how normal these vacay pictures look. The kids look nonplussed (though still cute), Charlene is having to pull Jacques up onto his feet, Gabriella’s squirming out of Albert’s lap to be done already with the photos, etc. They’re three years old, and acting like it from the looks of these photos. Have a look and see what I mean. (The humorous quotation-captions on the below photos are my own whimsical interpretations. The cuteness just overtook me!)

1

“Yes, I get it. I sit here and you pull me around. Can I go now?”

2

“Ma, I’m cold. Can we go inside?”

4

“I’m playing jelly-limbs with you because I think it’s funny.”

5

“Ok got the photo bye-BYEEEE!”

These photos be replicated by almost any family with three-year olds. This is just one of those things I love about this family. They’re lovely and normal, which makes the rest of us feel just a little more lovely as well.

3

Charlene, of course, was gorgeous even with three-year olds and surrounded by snow. She looks so contented. And what better way to end the post? Our lovely princess spreading love to us all with the help of her beautiful kids. Happy Valentine’s day to you all – I’m sending you chocolate through my brainwaves…!

February 2, 2018

Princess Gabriella Learns to Ski

Happy February, friends! I hope this post starts your month off right, and it should, because it consists of a three-year old on skis. I mean, you can’t get much cuter than that, right? I always enjoy starting off anything – the year, the month, the day, whatever – with an “awwww” moment. Somehow it gives the right perspective for life in general. And to that end, this week Princess Charlene shared some photos of Gabriella learning to ski for the first time. (Photos courtesy of Facebook.)

2

That little face. All pinched an adorable! The one thing this expression seems to tell me is DANG, it’s cold out there. No clues as to where Charlene and the kiddos are for this winter trip, but it doesn’t look balmy. Those cheeks look like they are numb. But what’s cuter than a toddler who’s maybe a little worn out by a fun day in the snow? (Parents, myself included, probably love that look because it means naptime will be on point!)

1

Also, anyone else dying over the fact that a little princess has Frozen-themed skis? I always wonder how it is for these young princesses to grow up with the princess movies…only to learn later on that they actually ARE princesses. Don’t get me wrong, I know there’s a lot about those movies that’s cliche and completely unrealistic even for actual royalty, but still. I loved those movies growing up, and yet I literally remember a slight twinge of disappointment around the time I was 5 when the realization hit that I wasn’t a princess. It was all the more confusing because sometimes my parents called me “princess.” Talk about a false sense of security, you know? How thoughtless of my family!! (HA, kidding of course.)

Anyway! Hope you’re all having a great day, and here’s to Charlene getting some awesome naptimes with all the ski instruction going on!

January 27, 2018

Boat Burning for Feast of Sainte Dévote

Happy Sainte Dévote’s day, everyone! In case you are new to this blog, allow me to explain: over January 26-27 every year, Monaco celebrates the feast of Sainte Dévote, the patron saint of Monaco, who is believed to protect the principality from harm. Per tradition, the princely family burns a boat on the eve of Sainte Dévote’s day, and then attends a special Mass in her honor the next morning. The whole event is terribly theatrical and fun, and we Charlene watchers look forward to it every year. (Photos courtesy of Facebook and Getty.)

5

This year was particularly exciting, because the royal twins were in attendance at the boat burning! I wasn’t expecting them for at least a few more years, simply because it’s such a late-night ceremony. (My kid is a couple years older than the twins, and certainly wouldn’t be able to stay up this late.) My guess is that Charlene and her nannies conspired to get the kids down for a super-intense nap during the afternoon, thus explaining their not-so-droopy eyelids.

4

Charlene looked beautiful at the boat burning ceremony, clad in a black and white plaid jacket. It’s funny, because this jacket reminds me so much of the Duchess of Cambridge’s Zara cape…and usually Charlene is the one who dons the capes! But Charlene’s here is a jacket, and I don’t love it, but I like it. I think my dislike comes from the fact that it’s not as fitted as I’d like it to be, and for something so busy, I would enjoy some more contoured tailoring.
Embed from Getty Images

Aside from my nitpicking, though, Charlene did look fresh-faced and elegant, and the simple black slacks with black heels *did* polish the ensemble quite well.
Embed from Getty Images
I rarely focus on Albert’s outfits, but look at him here! So perfect! I love his coat. It is so stylish and the high-quality is just emanating from it like an aura. I also love the scarf, which almost has a pashmina-like style about it. He is a fashionable man. No doubt an influence from his fashion-forward wife! Embed from Getty Images
Gabriella’s little boots are killing me. I LOVE them. So chic for such a young age! It was so nice to see them involved in the ceremony for the first time, and doubtless they found all the drama very exciting. 1
They even got to help set the boat on fire! So fun. 3
I see that both kiddos brought some toys to keep them occupied during minutes of boredom…and Gabriella has a bunny from the Calico Critters collection! We have these in my house, too, but my kid refers to them as “new bunnies.” I have no idea why. But when I saw this, I immediately showed my husband and he gasped, “Ah! She has a new bunny!” Haha.
2
These TWO and their little hugs! Such a sweet moment, and I’m so glad it was captured on camera. Embed from Getty Images
This morning, for the Mass and balcony appearance, Charlene looked particularly chic in a tartan-style jacket, which certainly echoed last night’s plaid jacket. She paired it with a knee-length black skirt, and again, the black high heels. Embed from Getty Images
I am so iffy on this outfit. What do you think? On the one hand, the jacket is simply gorgeous and the 3/4 sleeve complements her black leather gloves so deliciously that I love it. On the other hand, I feel like combining it with this skirt somehow cuts her off and makes her look less polished. I think long, slim black slacks, like from the evening event, may have made the look a bit more streamlined and less choppy.
Embed from Getty Images
I think the best part about this styling, though, was her face. My goodness, how beautiful the makeup and hair were for this daytime appearance! She hasn’t worn her hair with this kind of soft, elegant flip in such a long time. Makeup was strong, very finished, and flatteringly neutral, and her earrings were the perfect complement for a daytime event of this magnitude. I loved it. Embed from Getty Images
Just beautiful. Happy Sainte Dévote’s day to you all, and don’t even think about going out and burning a boat!

January 25, 2018

Happy Birthday to Princess Charlene!

Today we’re keeping it short and sweet, wishing Princess Charlene a very happy birthday!
Embed from Getty Images
Today, Her Serene Highness turns 40 years old – a milestone for sure, and hopefully one she gets to spend with family and friends. And hopefully the kids will be in good spirits and not give her any tantrums!
Embed from Getty Images
She wears 40 so well, and I am very much looking forward to see what this year is going to bring. Her last few years have been so much fun to document, and watching the twins grow has been an added bonus. Here’s to Princess Charlene and wishing her many happy returns!

January 22, 2018

January Fun for Princely Twins

You know, I’m not sure if it’s just where I live, but January is a crappy month. I was talking about this with a friend just recently: the weather’s unbearable (again, this may just be a location issue), kids are coming home from school with things dripping out of their noses the likes of which I have only ever seen in science fiction movies, the holidays are gone, we’ve all gained unwanted pounds because of said holidays, and there seems to be a permanent blanket of clouds blocking out any hope of sunlight. I’m over it.

But then I see photos of those princely twins in Monaco, and my heart is happy. Folks, these two kids have had such a good January so far! It makes my spirits go a little higher to see them having a good time, and almost makes things better around where I am. Almost. Not really. Just a little…for like a minute. Ha! (Photos courtesy of Facebook.)

7

Earlier this month, the whole family headed to the Caribbean, where the twins looked to be enjoying the warmer weather so much in their cute little outfits. I’m dying over that dress on Gabriella – how is it possible to make elegant toddler clothing? I don’t know. But Gabriella has all of it, seemingly.

8

I decided to include this photo from their trip, even though the twins weren’t in it, because look how FIT Charlene is on that board!! Also, I have pants almost exactly like these, so I got excited over that. Perhaps I have good taste after all 😉

6

Back to the twins, though. Charlene took some photos at the playground with the kids, and besides the fact that they were (once again) better dressed than any kids around me, I loved how over-the-top normal this was.

2

Even though they were in coats – and again, Gabriella’s is swoon-worthy – the sun was shining so brightly that it seemed like a perfect day at the park.

1

Gabriella had a date with this slide, as you can see. This photo has great composition: I love how you can clearly see her reflection in the metal. But how much do I want to yell “Turn over and don’t ruin your coat!!!” Ha!

4

And however Charlene managed to get her little Uggs that match this pale pink so perfectly is beyond me. I love it from head to toe.

5

Jacques was equally cute, obviously, and just seems so chill about everything. His short hair is really growing on me, too. I love how it still insists on keeping the curl. I wonder what kind of mischief he gets up to…because you know the more that boy looks chill, the more he’s probably up to something.

3

And most recently, the twins were treated to a visit to the circus by their dad and their aunt Stéphanie! I know Albert and his sisters very much love supporting the circus every  year, and it is SO fun that the kids are now getting old enough to enjoy it.

Alright loves, have a great Monday. I’m sending you any sunshine that’s evading me right now – I hope it’s with you instead. Enjoy!

January 16, 2018

Visit to Burkina Faso

This past week, Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene made a visit to Burkina Faso, where they met with everyone from small children to nurses to the President and First Lady. Though quick, the entire visit was wholly successful, and solidified the friendship between the two countries. (Photos courtesy of Facebook.)

1

Princess Charlene met her sartorial match in the gorgeous Sika Kaboré, am I right?! This stunning first lady is very beautiful and elegant. Charlene also looked quite regal – I particularly enjoyed her choice of makeup, so soft and natural, and not a hair out of place.

2

Charlene’s ensemble was noteworthy: a very chic blazer, offset by equally chic, wide-legged pants.  I hope I don’t disappoint anyone out there, but this was not my favorite look of all time. By any stretch of the imagination. Both pieces are oozing with elegance, but for me, they just don’t go *together.* Does anyone else feel that way? I think I love each individual element, but not as a united outfit. Hmm. And the shoes I hate, but that’s only because I have very specific taste in shoes.

More important than fashion, though…

3

…schoolchildren! Charlene got to spend some ample time at the education center in Ouagadougou, where she interacted with all the kiddos. The kids and princess seemed equally smitten with one another.

4

Later, the Princely couple attended a banquet, and here is where I can applaud Charlene’s fashion to the heavens! I absolutely loved this dress. I also know that many people will hate it, the “wings” in particular are quite unique and distracting. But, for me?! The pattern is simple, the red border is striking, and she somehow was able to give a nod to the fashion surrounding her in Africa without losing her own style in the mix.

5

The next day, Charlene and Albert spent the day working on projects for the Princess Charlene of Monaco foundation, where Charlene got down to work. Some critics out there have not enjoyed the fact that Charlene came into this day in a polo shirt, khakis, and tennis shoes, while her husband wore a suit and tie. However, a picture can be worth a thousand words…

6

…she was working! Charlene wasn’t going into today to teeter in high heels and have people curtsey to her. She was on her knees, outside, showing people how to administer CPR. I can agree that she wasn’t dressed the way that one would expect a princess to dress during a state visit.

7

But she was there to work, not to be pretty, and not to buy into how people expect a princess to behave. I give her all the apples for this one. (Even just in a logical sense, you can see here how much more sensible it is of her to be in sneakers than in high heels.)

9

Like I said, I DO understand how people can come away from this feeling let down by her outfit, especially when surrounded by such beautiful women in their absolute best ensembles. And if the above photo was the only one we got to see, then yes, I would be saying the same things. But luckily, we know better, and we can appreciate that she gave up caring about the cameras and cared more about the work.

8

Back to the work side of things, though! She visited the new hospital with its own maternity wing, and donated pediatric incubators with warming lamps. This comes as no surprise: Charlene loves babies. :)

10

And children love her! Can I stop for a minute and talk about the beautiful dress that this little girl is wearing?! I mean. I’m over the moon here.

11

A delightful visit from the Princely couple and such a warm welcome in Burkina Faso. I enjoyed this visit so much, and I hope we see these two countries visiting one another again in the future.

January 12, 2018

Charlene Models for World Class Magazine

Happy new year, friends! I hope your entry into 2018 has been smooth, kind, and encouraging. On my end, we’ve all been sick again – quelle surprise – and the temperatures here have gone from -17 to 60 in the span of 6 days. But! It has still been a gentle and rewarding new year, full of resolutions and hopeful prospects. Speaking of resolutions, if you are like most people, you’ve given yourself some sort of health/fitness goal for 2018, and Princess Charlene is here to provide motivation. Her photos for World Class magazine have been released (taken by photographer Gil Zetbase), and while the actual magazine came out awhile back, we are able to share the photos at this point – and they are glorious. (Photos courtesy of Facebook.)

9

In these photos, Charlene looks glowy and strong, and she appears particularly beautiful. Her sportswear is so cute! I am dying for the pants she is wearing in the later pics, though I do admit that I had a workout top/sports bra like this once and hated it when actually using it. But it’s cute for a photo, I guess!

4

One of Charlene’s most significantly unique features, at least among royal ladies, is her incredible fitness and physique. It’s not usual that we see royals posing in workout gear, though, so we hardly ever get to see how toned her muscles are unless she is wearing a skin-tight dress. I was so grateful to this photo shoot to allow her a chance to show off how hard she has worked – this kind of tone takes mega dedication, and it is super inspiring.

5

Talk about motivation for 2018. Plaster these photos on the fridge, am I right?! (Ha. Maybe I’m right, but I’m also just kidding!)

1

Most of the shoot was highly stylized and heavily made up, which has had some criticism: after all, we are talking about fitness here, and who goes to the gym with a full face of makeup? Personally, I do not feel critical of this aspect of these photos, as this was a modeling situation photo shoot. Makeup and stylizing are part of the game here.

8

And honestly, who can be angry with this kind of gorgeous makeup? BEAUTY, my friends, beauty. This is an art.

And this photo is for all those haters out there who love to say that she never smiles…

10

See? Happy! May we all find the joy in the workout, the joy in the journey. It’s not all about the transformation, it has to be organic, sweet, gentle, encouraging, steady, consistent. And joyful.

7

Charlene is quoted on the front of the magazine: “I prefer oldschool fitness. The more basic and natural, the better.” Amen. It doesn’t have to be fancy to work. Happy new year to you all! (Now hop into your yoga pants and get movin’!)

December 21, 2017

Annual Children’s Christmas Party

Happy Winter Solstice to you all! Is anyone out there celebrating the shortest day of the year? For my family, we are hunkering down old-school style, ultra-cozy in thick socks, blankets, and yes, I’ll admit it, video games!, while a curried sweet potato-carrot soup simmers on the stove. While it cooks, I will share some photos with you from yesterday’s Children’s Christmas Party at the Princely Palace. (Photos courtesy of Facebook.)

4

As you know, this is an annual event in Monaco, and I have no doubt that the Monégasque children look forward to it every year. They get to see Santa, get some presents, and hang out with their favorite princess.

1

Charlene looked ultra chic in this gorgeous Akris coat/poncho/cape. I’m not sure what to call it. It closes like a coat, drapes like a poncho, and has little arm holes like a cape. For simplicity’s sake, though, I will call it a coat, and I will not leave you hanging here: I love, love, love this coat. The red is dynamite, and the cut is elegant. She looks so regal. (Sidenote: anyone else out there rolling her eyes at Albert with his Santa hat and awful tie?? I know I am. But once again, I can’t be too mad – it’s pretty cute how he really gets into the spirit of the season, especially for the kids.)

2

And these Jimmy Choo boots are killer! I love the combination with the red, and the khaki pants are just simple enough to let the two leading elements of the ensemble shine. Under the coat, you can see that Charlene is wearing a ribbed, grey turtleneck, and while I wish we had a better view of the turtleneck, I can’t be mad because I love the coat.

3

Charlene’s hair and makeup were, once again, soft and natural. I loved it.

6

And she certainly seemed to enjoy handing out gifts to the kids! Probably not as much as the kids enjoyed receiving the gifts, though. Gotta be real about that one.

And my favorite photo of the day:

5

These two. Heart eyes!!! Have a wonderful solstice, everyone – and stay warm!

December 17, 2017

Princess Charlene at the Red Cross

As per tradition, Charlene made her yearly appearance at the Red Cross parcel distribution this week, and the annual visit was highly successful! As usual, she distributed the parcels to the elderly, and even included the Christmas snapshot of the twins (the same one we shared in the last post). The recipients of the gifts seemed delighted, and who wouldn’t be?! (Photos courtesy of Facebook.)

9

Charlene, of course, looked nothing short of striking. She chose a charcoal-grey Akris jumpsuit, pairing it with a black coat, and both pieces were exquisite in both quality and beauty. Personally, I would  have preferred to see more color in this ensemble – outside photos are fine, but inside the lighting made the whole look so dark.

7

You see what I mean about how the interior lighting changes the look? It bothers me. But she certainly does look good in black, so I can’t argue the issue too much.

4

Charlene, as usual, looked so happy to celebrate the Christmas season with these lovely people…

3

…and she seemed delighted to share the twins’ photo with them, too! You can see that she was proud to distribute this photo, just as millions of parents do with their own children’s photos at Christmas.

1

Let’s take a moment to discuss Charlene’s hair and makeup. I loved it! She went soft for her hair, which has really been lovely this season, and her makeup was delicate and feminine. I could see how she might have chosen a red lip here, and to be honest, I think I would have preferred that. But this was quite lovely, beautifully done, and balanced out the edgy black outfit, where red would only have intensified it. It was a solid choice.

2

Overall, this one didn’t send me over the edge in either direction. It was lovely, but I didn’t fall in love. You know? Either way, it was delightful to see her at this event once again – she never fails to disappoint!

December 15, 2017

Christmas Photo of Twins

Earlier this week, Princess Charlene shared a gorgeous photo of her twins all decked out for Christmas, and I couldn’t wait to share it with you! Of course, I have been up to my elbows in gingerbread cookie dough, wrapping paper and ribbons, and trying to stay warm in 7 degree weather. So it has taken me a day or two, but I’m here now with this adorable Christmas treat! (Photos courtesy of Facebook.)

4

I mean!! I don’t think I’ve seen Jacques with such a big smile on his face…well, ever. He is adorable! And at this point I am starting to really see his resemblance to Charlene. Gabriella is equally cute, though she does favor her father. And doesn’t she look like such a mischief maker with that sideways glance?? Their parents are probably so proud, so tired, and so eager to celebrate the holiday with these two.

In other news, more photos have emerged (and I have access to them, yes!) of the twins at the Christmas market outing from just before their birthday.

1

Jacques must be in a Mickey Mouse phase. (Isn’t it nice how these kids are just normal kids! What is better than Mickey Mouse for a 3 year old? Other than Donald Duck, nobody.)

3

And as we mentioned previously, he holds tightly to his mama’s hand while Gabriella is Miss Independent. LOVE it.

2

And Gabby’s coat is the living end. The faux-fur collar is precious as can be, and seems to be keeping her nice and warm. I hope they are getting excited for Christmas…and maybe helping the parents stay calm during this stressful season? Can I get an amen?!