Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday Fun Days: An Update from Vegas!

Our two jewelry gurus, Vickie and Leslie, have been tirelessly scouring the showrooms of the largest jewelry show in the world this week, looking for the best product to bring home to Austin.

Vickie just sent us this fun pic from Vegas, and we wanted to share:

The word from Vegas is that: "Anything goes!  Mix gold with wood, diamonds with wood, yellow metal with white metal...."  You name it, they're seeing it this year.  We can't wait until they get home - we'll be sure to let you know when all the new jewelry has arrived!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wedding Wednesdays: Give Her a Gift She'll Never Forget

Whether you exchange gifts at the Rehearsal Dinner, the day of the wedding, or on your wedding night, be sure to choose a gift that is as special as she is.  Here's one of our favorites: the diamond huggie earring.  Classic, timeless, small enough to wear every day but sparkly enough to make an impression, the diamond huggie will become one of her favorites too!

Diamond Huggie Earrings shown in White Gold, 1/2" long x 1/16" wide

Call or stop by to view a beautiful selection.

Tabletop Tuesday: What's New

Perfect for Iced Tea or Summer Lemonade, by the pool or at the table, the Federica Pitcher is one of our new favorites:

Having family to visit this summer?  Planning large parties by the pool or on the deck?  Make sure you have enough flatware on hand with this 45 piece place setting of Italian-made stainless steel flatware by Ricci:

Order online or call The Menagerie to order today.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

“When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep?”
-          George Canning

Thank you to all of the men and women who have kept us free throughout history.  It is your sacrifice which makes this country such a wonderful place to live.  Thank you.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sparkling Saturdays: Look What's Coming

While we don't normally use our "Sparkling Saturdays" series to focus on the jewelry industry, this week we want to make sure y'all know about what's coming: the largest jewelry market in the world!

At the end of this month, The Menagerie's owner, Vickie Roan, will travel to Las Vegas to meet with old and new vendors, diamond dealers, and other industry insiders to learn about product trends, the state of the diamond industry, and more.  She'll attend JCK, Luxury, and the Antique Show.

With her focus on customer service, Vickie always loves to shop for specific, hard-to-find items for customers when she's at Market.  She can frequently be heard in the store or on the phone: "I'm going to Market; what do you want me to bring back?"  No focus groups for Miss Vickie!  She just opens the door each morning, asks her customers for their feedback, and builds her success on meeting their needs.

Looking for something special?  Give her a call at the shop to let her know about your heart's desire!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday Fun Days: Initialize

You've probably (hopefully) seen them around...the new monogram necklaces gracing the necks of everyone from starlets to suburbanites.  Well, we have them (of course!  We're always on trend like that at The Menagerie), and we're pleased to present them to you for today's installment of Friday Fun Days.  Behold, the monogram necklace:

Super cute for tweens, bridesmaids' gifts, or just because, we love these for gifts and gifts-to-self alike!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Lifestyle Thursdays: Get Your Juices Flowing

We're a fine jewelry, tabletop, and gift store, but that doesn't mean that we don't have to (and like to) focus on things beyond our own little world of retail.

Today we'd like to recommend something called The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.  It's a how-to book and workbook for artists of all types, but we've found it useful for life in general, whether you consider yourself an artist or not.

In retail you have to make decisions every day: do I bring that product in?  Should I display these products in the window?  Do I phase out that line in favor of another one, since floor space is limited?  All of these decisions are, inherently, about creativity.  It helps to have a mind whose creative juices are flowing before you come to work to tackle whatever will show up each day.

One of Julia Cameron's suggestions is called Morning Pages.  Essentially, she instructs us to 'unclog' our minds each morning by writing three pages of stream-of-consciousness thought first thing in the morning.  She has had lawyers adopt this practice to great effect - seeing more productivity and efficiency in their law practices because they bring clearer minds with them to work each day.

So, for today's Lifestyle Thursday post, we thought we'd point you toward Ms. Cameron and her Morning Pages, in the hopes that you will find the practice as useful as we have.

Happy writing!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wedding Wednesdays: Bridesmaids Gifts

You've asked them in the most thoughtful way possible.  They've said yes.  You've shared countless memories, both pre-wedding and during the wedding festivities.  The Big Day is approaching.  And, you need to say thank you.

How can you tell these wonderful women who have stood by you through so much just how much they mean to you?

Here are a few of the many wonderful items we have in our store to help you say 'thank you.'

Who doesn't want something personal and memorable?  This initial necklace from The Menagerie is the perfect way to express your gratitude for all of the help and support your bridesmaids have given you.
100" of baroque pearls for $100?  Yes, please!  These pearls are such a fun, modern take on a classic.  Wear them wrapped, wear them long, wear them as a double-strand, or wear them as a bracelet.  Whatever way your bridesmaids decide to wear them, we promise they'll look fabulous!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tabletop Tuesday: Summer is Coming!

With all of the end of school year madness, we thought we'd focus on the soon to be here lazy days of summer.  You know, to give you something to look forward to.

Long days at the pool, family vacations that will create lasting memories, boating on the lake, running around a splash park...these are some of the ways we like to pass the HOT summer months in Austin, Texas.

Wherever we are, we like to eat and entertain.  So, for the summer, we recommend putting away your formal china and pulling out something fun and practical (that won't break by the pool!).

Our #1 pick is Beatriz Ball.  We LOVE the way it looks (as do our customers!), and, because it's made out of aluminum, it never tarnishes (no polishing!).  Easy to clean - simply wipe with warm water and soap.

Soho Organic Oval Platter by Beatriz Ball
Soho Taxco Bowl by Beatriz Ball, available in large and medium

Monday, May 13, 2013

Happy Birthday To Me!

Some people give me a sympathetic look when they find out my birthday always falls on or near Mother’s Day.  You know…the look that communicates, “I’m so sorry your gifts and special times aren’t spread out.”  I understand that.  It would be nice to have a spontaneous celebration in, say, November I guess, but I actually really love how both of the days I get to celebrate are tied together.  It reminds me how much of me is about being a mom.  And, I use it as an excuse to turn the whole month into a celebration!

To mark this auspicious occasion (I’m 39 years young, of course), I thought I’d leave you with my all-time favorite birthday present.  Not the best present I’ve ever received – that would be too hard.  I’ll tell you my favorite present to give.  (For the sake of this blog, I’m picking one that’s a little generic.  Just know that I usually prefer to make it personal.  And that’s definitely the advice I give to all my customers!)

My all-time favorite present is (drum roll please): a small, glass vase in the shape of a bird with a single white rose sticking out of it.  The note should read: “a little birdie told me it was your birthday today; have a great one!”

In closing, I want to thank all of you who have already sent well-wishes my way.  I often say, and I truly mean it: I have the best job in the world!  Thanks for letting me be a part of your lives!

-- Vickie

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sunday Brunch: Mom Style

Let us be the first to say: Happy Mother's Day!

Now, stop reading and start cooking!  We know you either are a mom or have a mom or know a mom to celebrate today!

Recipe - from Martha Stewart's Spring Recipes


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, plus more for skillet and serving
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Maple Syrup, for serving


Cook's Note: Freeze cooled pancakes in an airtight container, up to 1 month.

Step 1: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, flaxseed, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add buttermilk, egg, and butter, and whisk until just moistened (batter should have some lumps; do not overmix). Fold in blueberries.

Step 2: Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet or griddle with butter and heat over medium-high.  In batches, drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls into skillet.  Cook until bubbles appear on top and a few have burst, 2-5 minutes. Flip pancakes and cook until golden brown, 2-5 minutes.  Repeat with more butter and remaining batter (makes about 12), wiping skillet clean between batches and lowering heat if necessary.  Serve with butter and syrup.

Our suggestion for the perfect way to serve Mom pancakes on Mother's Day:

Pile this Queen Victoria Chop Plate high with steaming pancakes.  Because it has handles, you'll easily be able to carry it to the brunch table while the food is still hot!

Give Mom her own Herend Miniature Creamer filled with Maple Syrup (no reaching across the table at this brunch!).  She'll feel like a queen!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Sparkling Saturdays: Mom, You're a Stud

In one more homage to Mom before the big day, we thought we'd highlight the classic gift any mom would be thrilled to receive: the diamond stud earring.

At The Menagerie, we always have a few pairs in our case.  They are high quality stones of varying sizes.  We keep them in the store for those occasions when someone forgets an anniversary or has to have a pair for a black-tie affair that night.

But, we also create custom diamond stud earrings for many of our customers, finding the perfect Cut, Clarity, Carat Weight, and Color to suit each client's particular wants.  Three-pronged or four?  Platinum or white gold (or, even, yellow)?  It's up to you.  Your wish is our command.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday Fun Days: It's a SALE!

In honor of Mom's everywhere, we're having a SALE!  In-store & online.

20% off everything except bridal orders & purchases PLUS

50% off select jewelry (in-store only for 50% off jewelry)!

Sale ends Saturday at close of business (5:30).  Call or stop by today or tomorrow!!!

Or, visit us online!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Lifestyle Thursdays: A Tribute to My Mom

“It’s easy to be an angel when no one ruffles your feathers.”
-          Hanny

My mother, known to the girls as Hanny, used to say that to me during my growing-up years and my adult years and all the years between.  After my divorce, when she and my dad came to live with us, she even had it written on a sign and placed up in the kitchen, the roost she most definitely ruled.

She helped me so tremendously during those years, my first taste of single motherhood.  She cooked and cleaned and babysat while I created this amazing gift called The Menagerie.  With two little ones under foot, there were most definitely many attempts to ruffle her feathers.  But, for the most part, she remained unflappable.

I think of that – of her and her saying – when stress creeps in and circumstances feel overwhelming.  Can I still be an angel when the feathers are flying?  I hope so.

Since on Sunday we will once again have our Sunday Brunch post up, I wanted to write this tribute today.  Mama, I miss you.  Thank you for those and all the many other lessons.  I can only hope I’m worthy of them.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wedding Wednesdays: A Site We Like

Today might be our shortest blog post ever!  We just wanted to share the online love and point you to a cute site/resource for before the wedding:


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tabletop Tuesdays: Topsy Turvy

About ten years ago I sent my youngest daughter, Jenny, to etiquette school.  She learned about the history of fine dining, etiquette surrounding the table, and even etiquette for tea and dessert courses.  She loved doing it and came back with a lot of useful information.  One of the things we enjoyed practicing upon her return was the European style of eating.

Did you know that most sterling silver patterns still carry decoration on the back of the fork?  This is because, in Europe, where eating with utensils originated, the fork is laid tines down.  When you eat, you have the fork in your left hand the whole time, and you place the food in your mouth with the tines facing down the whole time.  You never switch handsand you never flip the fork over.

For a few more detailed explanations, click here and here.

In many ways it's a much more elegant style of eating, with less complication.  It takes some getting used to for those of us on this side of the pond, but we highly recommend it!  Another added benefit?  You're forced to slow down and take smaller bites, always a good thing!

To view beautiful Old World forks with decorations on the back, stop by the store today!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sunday Brunch: The Cheese Plate

Earlier this week we pontificated about the difference between a salad and dessert plate, as well as the tradition of a separate dessert course (a meal in its own right).  Today, we're going to deviate from our normal brunch fare to continue this theme.

In many bistros across France, the dessert course includes a selection of cheeses, possibly accompanied by nuts and dried fruit.  For more on this fun take on a meal's finale, read about suggested cheeses to serve at the Cheesemonger's blog.

Now, what to serve these cheeses on?  We thought you'd never ask.  Here are a few ideas, from your friendly neighborhood tabletop shop:

Happy cheese-ing everyone!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Sparkling Saturdays: The Cross Necklace

At The Menagerie we always have a wide selection of diamond Cross necklaces, in white and yellow gold, because many of our customers love to give (and receive) them as gifts.  For birthday, anniversary, or 'just because', these necklaces make a meaningful keepsake that can be passed for generations.

For more information on these necklaces or to view more of our selection, contact us at 1-800-778-4644 or stop by the shop in Jefferson Square.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Friday Fun Day: The Vase

With Mother's Day only a week away, we wanted to highlight one of our favorite gift items: the vase.

At The Menagerie, we have vases starting at $12 and ranging on up.  What makes them unique?  Each one carries a hallmark of beauty, craftsmanship, and design to make it a gift worth giving (even without the flowers!).

Here are some of our favorites.  Fill them with flowers, candy, or notes to Mom, and she's sure to be delighted on Mother's Day!

Soho Bud Vase by Reed & Barton

Wisteria Trumpet Vase by William Yeoward Crystal

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Lifestyle Thursdays: To All the Men We've Loved Before

We recently came across a funny and somewhat inspirational article at Esquire's online home.  It's a directive to men on the fine art of fine dining.

The article includes 39 tips.  Our favorites?

#14 A gentleman never has his cell phone on the table.
#17 A gentleman always orders after his guests do.
#20  A gentleman takes his mother out to dinner four times a year.

Some of them made us smile.

#6 A gentleman never talks about golf with women present.  (Thank goodness!)
#11 A gentleman does not use sugar substitutes.  (Huh?)

For more fun tips on how to be a gentleman at the table, read all of Esquire's tips here.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wedding Wednesdays: To Tell Them or Not to Tell Them?

Some people think we're crazy when we say that it's still traditional not to include registry information on any printed wedding items.  The age-old thinking is that it's rude to ask for gifts; that, instead, one should graciously receive whatever well-wishers want to give, whether it's on your registry or not.

We often get asked: "if that's the case, then, why register at all?"  Valid point.  And that kind of thinking is definitely turning the tide on tradition.

Today, it is much more common to receive a wedding or shower invitation with the registry information printed on an inserted card or on the invitation itself.  While it sometimes feel uncomfortable to let go of old traditions, we do acknowledge how this new tradition has its advantages.

To that end, The Menagerie is pleased to offer complimentary registry cards with your personalized registry information.