Interview

Interview with Belle

I am thrilled to introduce you to today’s interview subject Belle – who is truly one of the loveliest and most genuinely sweet and gracious women out there. I really wanted to have Belle on here for a variety of reasons – she has a beautiful closet,  and is also incredibly accomplished with a fascinating background (former VP who also danced for years, anybody)?

Belle also happens to have a really spectacular jewelry collection. I adore jewelry and always am happy to have the chance to pick the brain of someone with a collection and eye for beautiful pieces like Belle. I know that you will all adore Belle as much as I do – enjoy!

A first peek into Belle’s lovely closet: Bottega Veneta Ostrich and Karung bags, Louis Vuitton stole

Who are you? What do you do, and where do you live?

Let’s just call me Belle!  I am a stay at home mom (or Family CEO as I call it) with two beautiful daughters.  I currently live in the Northeast, and have been here five years.  It snows from November until March, which is way too long for me, so I hope I won’t be here in another five years.  I live in a rural area, but it is bearable because we have a Target!   I do most of my shopping via telephone and online or when I travel.

I know you used to be a VP at a large international company, and later on made the decision to leave to be more involved in your children’s lives. How was that decision for you? 

I worked in a very specialized area that required me to travel all around the world – Asia, Europe, and South America.  It was an incredibly exciting time in my life; my job was challenging but I loved it.  My husband traveled a great deal too, and with two very small children at home we were lucky to have a full-time nanny.

For quite a few years everything was great, but as my oldest began to navigate through elementary school, she experienced first-hand some mean girl issues.   I had an “ah-hah” moment (as Oprah says) when I came home after the first event and heard what our nanny had advised my daughter.  It was so very different than what I would have said it took my breath away.  Right then I knew this wouldn’t be an isolated issue and there would be more and more times where we’d have our differences.   As sometimes happens in life, the situation resolved itself a few weeks later when we heard that my husband was getting transferred to another state.  I felt like the universe was whispering to me that I should not seek employment with that move.

I now have the luxury of hindsight and enough years have gone by that I know it was the right decision–the right decision with the right timing.  My daughters have absolutely benefited from me being at home.  As kids get older, the problems they deal with get bigger.  The issues that were popping up in my daughter’s life weren’t things that could have been solved in a 30-minute talk after I got home from work.  I’ve never regretted my decision, though that doesn’t mean I haven’t missed my old life.

Deciding whether to continue work or stay home was scary for me because so much of my identity was tied up with my job.  I loved the work I did. I loved being the company expert in my area. It was hard to imagine not being that person any more.

What would be your advice to women looking at making either a similar decision, or staying at work?

I really don’t have any great words of wisdom for someone grappling with this decision, because it is so personal.  Just follow your heart.  And if you do make the decision to leave work, make sure you plan your own activities that give you an identity outside the home.  The first year I stayed home, I set four goals for myself:

1) Take a class at the local college

2) Take on a PTA leadership role, (the PTA’s are full of women like me, who left work to stay home with the kids)

3) Get involved in the Board of an organization that does good in the community, and

4) Become a good photographer.  I accomplished all except the photography, as you will soon see through some the pictures I’ve included!

I know that you love jewelry and I think you have such a beautiful collection. What are some of your favorite pieces?

I am a big, big Van Cleef and Arpels (VCA) fan, and have an assortment of VCA bracelets, necklaces and earrings.   Not only is VCA beautiful, it is so wearable — I find that I can wear most pieces at any occasion from soccer games to formal parties.   I love to throw on a necklace with a t-shirt and jeans and run out the door!

A Van Cleef & Arpels treasure chest!

My all time favorite VCA piece are the Frivole earrings.   I love that the flowers are three-dimensional and sit up on your ear.  It is an earring that looks gorgeous on anyone.   When something works well for me, I tend to get “enthusiastic” about it and I buy more than one.   I am crazy about the Frivole earrings, so it isn’t a surprise to people who know me that I have three pairs!

Van Cleef & Arpels earrings

Outside of VCA I have pieces from many different lines – Cathy Waterman, Penny Preville (LOVE!), Kwiat, Roberto Coin, Gumuchian, Charriol, Ivanka Trump, and the list goes on.   I don’t tend to stick to any one brand, but buy pieces that attract me.

Here are a few of my current favorites:  1) Hermes Torsade bracelet, 2)  Verdura Curb Link bracelet, 3)  Bottega Veneta Torcello earrings.

from left to right: Hermes Torsade bracelet, Verdura bracelet, Bottega Veneta earrings

What jewelry brands do you love that you think aren’t as well known? Any specific pieces?

I really love jewelry brands that have a handcrafted look and three of my favorites are Elizabeth Locke, Coomi, and Gurhan.  All three brands use high karat gold – Elizabeth Locke – 19k, Coomi – 20k, Gurhan- 24k.

Elizabeth Locke and Coomi necklaces

Gurhan makes wonderful earrings!  The 24k gold is a little soft, but the color is amazing.   I recommend that any jewelry lovers get their hands on the Gurhan magazine and spend some time with it.  It is my all time favorite designer publication–I look at it so often I keep it on my bedside table.   (I actually have a second copy on my office!)

Gurhan earrings

The Splash earrings are my favorite Gurhan earrings.  They are also called the “Angelina Jolie” earrings because of this beautiful picture.

What goes into your buying jewelry buying decisions? 

I try not to get too caught up in trends.  That’s not to say that I don’t buy trendy pieces, I most certainly do.  I like having pieces that are fun and “now”, but I try not to spend a lot on them.  I try and focus most of my jewelry budget on brands and pieces that I think will last me the rest of my life.

I also try and focus a large percentage of my buys from brands that I know will retain a great deal of their value – like Van Cleef  and Arpels, Verdura, and Hermes.

What have you learned over the years in your jewelry shopping?

I have learned a lot mostly by making mistakes.  As James Joyce said, “Mistakes are the portal of discovery”—I’ve certainly made a lot of discoveries over the years!

Here are a few things I’ve learned (not in any particular order):

1) Find a good sales associate and stick with them: I can’t say this enough.  Find someone you like at a store you love and stick with him or her. When you consistently use the same great person, you will get great service.  And that’s what we all want – great service.  I have used the same jewelry sales associate for over 10 years and she has done some truly incredible things for me.  She looks out for things she knows I will like.  She makes sure I’m aware of sales, special orders, special events, and limited items.  Most importantly, she goes to bat for me whenever there is a problem, and there have been more than a few problems over the years.

2) Tastes change over time: One of my biggest lessons I’ve learned is that tastes change over time—in two ways, individual taste and societal taste. What I loved in my 20’s isn’t what I love now.  I started buying jewelry in the early 1990’s when Neiman Marcus first introduced John Hardy.  I was crazy about John Hardy and bought everything I could afford.  I still have all those pieces, but haven’t worn them in 15 years. It never occurred to me when I was buying them to consider whether these would be pieces that I could see myself wearing in 10 or 15 years.  It is very hard to predict what your future self will love, but now I at least go through the exercise.

I also know what is loved by one generation is very often not valued by the next.  I just have to look at the jewelry pieces I inherited from my mother and grandmother to validate that!  I have some of the most beautiful teeny-tiny diamond watches and brooches, but I have never had an interest in wearing them and will never have an interest in wearing them.  So, even though I have two beautiful daughters, I do not buy my jewelry thinking I can pass it down to them.  I know that it is very likely that they won’t be interested in my collection.   So I just buy the pieces I love and that I think I will love in 10 years.  If my daughters end up loving them too, then that’s just an added bonus.

3) Consider estate (pre-owned) pieces: In one of my careers (I’ve had several!) I was a CPA and one of my big clients was a family-owned jewelry store.  I had never thought about jewelry before, but seeing the passion that family had for jewelry got me interested.  In those days I couldn’t afford much, so they introduced me to their estate case.   It was a wonderful way to start buying jewelry, but not pay full retail.  That was over 20 years ago and to this day I always walk first to a store’s estate case.  My most recent find was a Rolex Submariner for about half of current retail.

4) Don’t settle: I think we’ve all found ourselves in this dilemma.  We want something, but can’t afford exactly what we want.  So the question is do you scale down your purchase and buy what you can afford, or do you wait until you can buy exactly what you want? In my personal experience, I’ve found that when I settle on something less than I wanted, I almost always regret the decision.  I’ve learned that I need to wait until I can buy exactly what I want.  My latest example of this is my Verdura curb link bracelet.  I am so happy that I waited for it and didn’t buy something else!

5) If you are a good customer (meaning you buy, you don’t just look!) prices can be flexible: This is not something I knew when I first started buying jewelry.   If you develop a relationship with a sales associate and a store, there can be some flexibility in pricing.  Not on all pieces, not on all brands (I’ve never had a discount on Chanel or VCA), but it does happen.   It is dependent on the price of the piece (the higher the price the more likely it can be discounted) and the line.  I always ask if there can be an accommodation on the price.  All they can say is no.

6) Jewelry is not meant to be worn 24/7: Very often I hear people say “I want to buy something I can wear all day, every day.  Or “Can I wear this necklace in the shower?”   This always baffles me!  I believe the first thing you should do when you walk in your home at the end of the day is take off all of your jewelry.  Your jewelry will last longer and look better if you take care of it!

You clearly adore jewelry. How about accessories and clothing? What are some of your favorite brands, and favorite items?

I love handbags and accessories, so I find I spend more money on them than I do my clothes!  I especially love small leather goods.  For bags and small leather goods I buy mostly from Hermes, Bottega Veneta, and Chanel.  I do buy from other brands when something really wows me.   Right now I love Reed Krakoff.

As I mentioned previously, I tend to get enthusiastic when I find something I love and works well for me.  I feel that way about the Chanel Luxe Ligne flap.  It’s such a beautiful bag I felt the call to have more than one.

Chanel Luxe Ligne Flaps

I love, love, love Valextra small leather goods—the wallets, the cases, the iPad covers.   My friends and family have grown tired of me saying, “BEST WALLET EVER!” every time I pull out my beautiful Valextra wallet.

I am also enthusiastic about Louis Vuitton stoles!  I am thinking I might have maxed out my capacity to wear them all, but we shall see!

Louis Vuitton stoles

For my clothing, I mix from all over.  I tend to wear a lot of basic pieces from brands that are classic, with clean lines, well cut, and simple.

I know you’re a Bottega Veneta lover. What is it about the brand that you love?

Bottega Veneta (BV) is one of my favorite handbag/accessory brands.  I love the artistry, creativity, and craftsmanship that permeates everything they do, whether it is a handbag, a piece of furniture, or jewelry.  There is a section on BV’s website called “Hand of the Artisan” where you can watch videos of the craftsmen making different products – knot clutches, cabats, jewelry etc.  It is fascinating to see.

I especially love the craftsmanship that goes into the making of the exotic leather bags and small leather goods.  The pieces are incredible, especially BV’s crocodile.  It is truly heavenly.

Some crocodile Bottega Veneta items (and a VCA goodie)

One Bottega Veneta item that I am enthusiastic about is the document case.  (You might say that I have gotten carried away.)  I use them as clutches and carry them anywhere I don’t feel like carrying a full handbag.

Bottega Veneta Document Cases

For the BV woven handbags, I think the cabat is the queen.   My favorite cabat was the “Asian cabat” that was only sold in the Asian market and Hawaii, but it was discontinued a few years back.    I haven’t quite figured out why, but whenever I really love something there is a very good chance it will be discontinued (I am still campaigning to get back butterscotch whey protein powder!).

Bottega Veneta Cabats

In 2009, Martha Stewart featured Bottega Veneta and Tomas Maier (the Creative Director for BV) on her show.  On her website there is a link to the video of their discussion.  Near the end of the video you can see two craftsmen onstage weaving cabats.

Beyond loving Bottega products, I love the shopping experience at the Bottega Veneta boutiques.  They are such quiet, comfortable, inviting places.  It is easy to spend 2-3 hours in one!

What are some of the items in your closet that get the absolute most wear?

I have a very casual lifestyle, but always strive for a classic pulled-together look.  It’s winter half of the year here, so I wear lots of sweaters. I adore cashmere, so I have a wide assortment of cashmere sweaters—crew necks, v-necks, and cardigans.  Much of my cashmere is Ralph Lauren because I love the quality and the colors.

Although I don’t spend most of my budget on clothing, I do spend a lot on shoes.  I love a beautiful shoe, but unfortunately I can’t wear all the gorgeous heels that are popular now.  I was a dancer for many years, and have ended up with a variety of foot problems.   As a result, I now only wear loafers, flats or low heels.  I wear lots of different brands —  Tods, Thierry Rabotin, Chloe, Reed Krakoff, Ferragamo, Lanvin, Manolo Blahnik (yes they make flats!), Robert Clergerie, and Gravati.

Belle’s favorite shoes

How would you describe your style?  Who are some of your style icons?

I grew up in the South and as a result have some “old-fashioned” ideas about dressing.  (If my daughters were reading this, they would vehemently agree!). Style for me hasn’t ever been about been drawing attention.  It is about being tasteful and refined.  When I was growing up it was called “dressing like a lady”.

Some of the women that exemplify that look for me:

1) A generation before me, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

2) My generation – Kelly Rutherford

3) A younger generation – Reese Witherspoon

What do you scrimp on and what do you save on?

Beauty items.   I find that many times an inexpensive brand works just as well for me as the expensive.  I do buy some expensive products, but I buy the ones that work for me and I don’t experiment the with every latest and greatest new products way I did when I was younger.

Can you share some advice about shopping/budgeting/style that you’ve learned over the years?

1) Don’t get caught up in the “IT’S ON SALE!” frenzy: I think everyone learns this eventually, but it bears repeating.  When I first ventured into designer goods, I bought a lot of things just because they were on sale.  I would always buy something, and most of the time it was not an item that I had wanted prior to the sale.  Those things would just sit in my closet.  I’ve heard this advice from many others before me, but only buy an item on sale if it is something you would have bought at full price.

I will occasionally buy sale items now, but only if it is something that interested me before the sale.  I let my sales associates know what I like so they know what I might be interested in if it did go on sale.  This leads into my second piece of advice.

2)  Find a great sales associate and stick with them: I said this earlier, but it is important.  The way you are going to hear about anything going on at the store is from your SA.  If a SA knows that you are loyal to them, they will be loyal to you.

How about one piece of life advice?

Always remember that every day is a gift.

You’ve lived in quite a few places.  What have been some of your favorites? 

I met my husband when we were both getting our master’s degrees, and we got married very soon after graduation.  We moved immediately for his job and have moved about every 5 years since.  We’ve been in our current location for 5 years now and as much as I’d like to get away from the snow, I’m happy that we aren’t facing a move in the near future.

My favorite place to live by far was the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  It was such an easy place to assimilate into because they are so many people moving in and out all the time.  There is so much to do there – museums, sports, theater, restaurants, kids activities, and of course shopping!!  On top of all of that, we found it one of the most affordable places that we have lived both in terms of housing and general cost of living.

What are some of your other passions and hobbies?

I am a knitter, although I wouldn’t say that I am a great knitter!  I love the whole experience—going to a yarn shop, picking out the yarn, choosing the pattern, casting off, and then gifting the item.  My kids love to point out that I have enough yarn to open a knitting store! Most years, I focus about half of my knitting efforts on “prayer shawls”.  Our area has a number of organizations that ask for shawl donations – churches, hospitals and nursing homes.   I love the idea that something I make might give someone that I’ve never met a bit of comfort.

As my daughters have gotten older, I have tried to volunteer my time and efforts where they make a difference.  The past few years I have concentrated my time on their schools, spending a day in each school each week.  Additionally, I am on the Board of my daughter’s high school.  It is a small private school that has a number of challenges, so the work is not easy.   It is extremely satisfying.

I also am an avid antiquer.  I started antiquing with my grandmother when I was about ten years old.  She loved to comb antique shops for celery vases, china, and sterling flatware.  I have loved antiques ever since and never miss an opportunity to go to a show or a store.

The thing I always look for when antiquing is Flow Blue china.  I’ve been collecting Flow Blue for over 20 years.  A little on its history can be found here.

Some of Belle’s Flow Blue china and celery vases

Finally – please share something surprising about yourself!

I am a Civil War history buff.  Where I grew up the Civil War was something that people still talked about.  It seemed normal to me.  It wasn’t until I went to college and started meeting people from all over the US, that I realized that most people didn’t know anything (nor care) about that period of time in American history.

As I grew older I became more and more fascinated by Civil War history–the people, their beliefs, their lives, and their sacrifices.  People and their lives were so different from today.  As my interest grew, so did my library and I now have almost 200 books on the Civil War ranging from historical fiction to reference books.

One of my favorite gifts from my husband was the ten book series “The Photographic History of the Civil War” published in 1911 for the semi-centennial (50 year) anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War.

Some of my favorite Civil War books are “Confederates in the Attic:  Dispatches by the Unfinished Civil War” by Tony Horowitz, “A Stillness at Appomattox” by Bruce Catton, and “Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War America” by William Gienapp.

 

How amazing is Belle? I read this interview multiple times just because I wanted to make sure I absorbed everything. I know that I’ll be re-reading her advice on selecting jewelry for years to come. Belle’s collections of jewelry and accessories are lovely but it’s her beautiful personality that really shines through here. Thank you Belle for taking the time to share some of your life and learnings with us!

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  • latkesanddimsum
    July 25, 2012 at 6:58 am

    This was such a lovely interview. The eye candy was gorgeous as well …. thank you for posting it!

  • Kira
    July 25, 2012 at 7:45 am

    Loved this interview! Katherine, how do you find all these people to inteview? I noticed that not all of them have their own blogs.

    As a side note on the last interview with Vicky Tsai, I got the beauty sampler, and I love it. I just wanted to thank you for introducing the new skincare line. Their products and service are exceptional!!!!

    • Katherine
      July 25, 2012 at 8:08 am

      Hi Kira! So glad that you liked the sampler, it’s very high quality and a great way to try it out!

      Some people I know directly through other channels, some are “real life” friends, some are recommended to me, etc. I try to go through every possible channel to find a good variety of people 🙂 If you have any recommendations let me know!

  • Sonya
    July 25, 2012 at 8:02 am

    This may be one of my favorite interviews yet. I collect Verdura myself and it’s wonderful to see another collector out there. Belle has a beautiful collection, thank you for featuring her!

    • Katherine
      July 25, 2012 at 8:56 am

      Hi Sonya, no problem! I love Verdura (I’d love to have a piece one day) , you are lucky to have a collection!

  • Anonymous
    July 25, 2012 at 8:32 am

    I recognize the Hermes necklace & Bottega earnings from the other channel! Belle is fascinating! Thanks, Katherine for such a juicy interview!

  • Inés
    July 25, 2012 at 8:56 am

    Another great one! I do love some of the VCA pieces. Classic but interesting.

    I relate to her dressing aesthetic (living in Eastern Canada myself – it is winter from November to April pretty much) – and her foot problems as a dancer. I’d save the heels for the tango hall and wear comfy flats to work with ankle pants or such! Some of the more doctor-recommended brands have cute styles now (Naturalizer, Clarks, Hush Puppies etc. – a BIG improvement in recent years), that don’t hurt the sensitive spot in the balls of my feet that resulted from years of wearing dance shoes.

    I found that opting for lab-grown stones over natural/earth-mined ones has given me a budget-friendly option for my love of colored gemstones. I don’t skimp on the metals, I buy eco-friendly gold or platinum, but for the stone, I go for lab-grown.

    Added bonus: you know some poor child in Thailand or India or Botswana or wherever wasn’t working for $2 a day to give me a silly thing I want to wear on my hand, and that the mining process killed off thousands of local animals and trees. I also love that they are essentially flawless, and cause less of a heart attack if you lose a stone or what have you!

    • Inés
      July 25, 2012 at 8:57 am

      It should say “hasn’t killed off…” in the part about mining, big emphasis on the hasn’t.

    • Katherine
      July 25, 2012 at 9:19 am

      That’s fascinating! I’ve been interested in lab created gemstones but haven’t taken the plunge – most of my pieces like Belle’s don’t feature that many stones – more just gold and semi precious stones I think.

      I have a friend who feels very strongly about this and wanted to get a lab created diamond for his friend. Apparently he had a tough time finding a well priced white diamond – it is pretty cheap to get fancy blue/pink etc diamonds but much much more to get white!

      • Inés
        July 25, 2012 at 9:47 am

        Here’s my mini-essay on lab stones – I researched this a LOT when I started shopping for colored gemstones (my favorites are blue sapphires & rubies :))… Hopefully this helps you!

        Notes on lab stones:
        1. For sapphires/rubies/alexandrites/emeralds: Chatham Labs make some of the best stones. However, most genuine lab created corundum (sapphires in all colors & rubies) do not need to be Chatham branded to be good quality. These are EXACTLY the same in hardness, chemical composition etc. as natural stones. You can get some pretty cool colors too – I have a 2ct. color change sapphire that is a tanzanite color (violet-blue) in daylight and orchid pink in artificial light, for example. If you want simple, daily jewelry, I would recommend looking into “Cavalier Creations” based out of Connecticut on Etsy and MacFarland Designs among others – they have silver, gold (upon request) and palladium from eco-friendly sources.

        2. The lab-created diamonds (colorless) are just as expensive as naturally mined ones. Apparently we don’t have a cost-effective technology for this. DON’T get confused between lab-created diamonds and a synthetic diamond substitute (brand names: Asha, Diamond Nexus Labs/Better Than Diamond etc.), which is CZ coated in a carbon coating. The substitutes are worthless and will become cloudy and ugly with time (in my experience anyway). Very few vendors specialize in lab-created diamonds.

        3. For colorless stones – I would recommend going with moissanite (or a “space diamond” – they are found in meteorites, but we synthesize the silicon carbide crystals in a lab now) – super sparkly, and they now come color-enhanced. Beware though, they are double-refractive, therefore MUCH sparklier than diamonds (although most laypeople can’t tell the difference). You could also go with white sapphires, although this will need to be cleaned more frequently (simple cleaning in hot water with baking soda dissolved in, or regular palmolive, water and a baby toothbrush), and do not shine in a “rainbow” way – more icy or cool would be the way to describe it. I don’t recommend other colorless gemstones, such as topaz or quartz, which are softer and don’t hold up to daily wear as well (although, for pieces such as earrings they should be fine – I’m more concerned about rings & bracelets as they tap more things throughout the course of the day).

        4. One last note on treated colored gemstones – be it natural or lab created: heat treatment is permanent and is pretty much standard. This treatment won’t wear off or change color. However, some gemstones, such as topaz, undergo other treatments (diffusion/chemical treatments) to give them color. This MAY fade with exposure to light, so I don’t recommend these stones for daily wear. They can also fade if the jeweler needs to repolish the stone after an extended period of time. There are some gemstones that don’t need heat treatment, for example, the various types of garnets (rhodolite and spessartite garnets are super pretty), and some types of tourmaline. Sometimes, brittle stones such as emeralds might be filled with wax or another type of filler – this is fine, but don’t wash them in the ultrasonic. I personally don’t mind heat treated stones (improves color and clarity permanently), but I stay away from filled and diffusion or chemical treated stones.

        I basically love lab stones for the ethical/economy factor, and the science and technology that goes behind it. I think it’s ingenious that people can grow beautiful stones – the nerd in me really loves that part!

        • Katherine
          July 25, 2012 at 9:53 am

          Wow, thank you Ines! I read through this quickly but need to come back and read everything in depth and check out those etsy sellers. I nearly bought some loose gem rubies in Thailand but a friend brought up that I had no guarantee there and I could get a lab created for a fraction of the price and top quality. I hadn’t taken the plunge yet but may think about it more after your post! Thanks again!

          • Inés
            July 25, 2012 at 9:58 am

            PS – I have found some very beautiful lab created pieces in real 14 and 18k gold at COSTCO, of all places. Check it out. I know that makes me sound cheap, but their return policy and prices make it too tempting.

            And I apologize for the deluge of verbosity 🙂

  • adele
    July 25, 2012 at 9:20 am

    What a truly interesting woman, I really enjoyed reading about her.
    Vote intotheblonde BEST LIFESTYLE BLOG in the Cosmo Blog Awards 2012
    http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/blog-awards-2012-vote
    Happy Wednesday Hun xoxo
    http://www.intotheblonde.com/

  • DSK Steph
    July 25, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Her VCA collection is amazing!!!

  • laura
    July 25, 2012 at 9:52 am

    what a lovely interview – she seems like such a great lady!

  • Miss K
    July 25, 2012 at 11:03 am

    Fabulous interview, great words of wisdom and what a fantastic accessories collection!

  • chocolatecookiesandcandies
    July 25, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Belle is a fascinating and multi-faceted individual. She clearly has wonderful tastes! What I’d give to be able to see her jewelry and handbag collection in person. As for the VCA, I’d love to own a necklace. I’ve been eyeing one for the past 5 years!

  • Phoebe
    July 25, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    This is one of the interviews that hit home for me. Recently I started entertaining the possibility of becoming a stay at home mom if I do have kids (hopefully in the near future) but struggled a bit b/c so much of my life and identity has become tied to my work. Thanks for such an informative and great interview with Belle.

    • Katherine
      July 25, 2012 at 1:37 pm

      Yes – I have the same struggle and and that is why I so appreciated Belle’s honesty!

  • hera
    July 25, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    OMG – all these VCA pieces together in all kind of colors!!!! Love~

  • belle de ville
    July 25, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    What a wonderful interview.
    Belle is not only a savvy shopper with superb taste, she’s a lady with diverse interests and I especially appreciate the fact that she is a Civil War buff.
    And I agree that finding a great sales associate is key to getting great jewelry at the right price.
    Finding the right jewelry dealer is essential too.
    So now, we just need to introduce your Belle to Beladora and moi!

  • LTB
    July 25, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    I am fortunate to know this amazing WOMAN! She is a wonderful Mother, Sister, Wife, and Girlfriend!
    Love you Belle and I loved learning a few new things about you. Your collections are gorgeous and you know how to enjoy them. Thank you Kat for another amazing interview.

  • Amy
    July 25, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Thanks for introducing us to Belle! She sounds like such an interesting woman, and her insights on careers, family, and purchasing are all so valuable and true. I’ve always wondered how women can want and have it all – and then I realize, it’s about fine-tuning what the wants are and finding a balance to achieve that.

    Cheers!

  • Ammu
    July 25, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    What a lovely, honest woman – I so enjoyed reading this interview. And her jewelry collection is marvellous – especially the Gurhan pieces. Beautiful.

  • findmeamuse
    July 26, 2012 at 2:01 am

    What a brilliant interview! I was captivated the entire time. Love the quote of being the Family CEO. Some really nice insight and good advice as well.

    xx Mandi

  • Mrs C
    July 26, 2012 at 5:32 am

    BIG RESPECT FOR THOSE WHO LEFT BIG CAREER FOR THE FAMILY..

    KISSES FROM :
    A SMALL BLOG WITH A BIG HEART
    MRS JACK OF ALL TRADES DAILY where Fashion and Food collide!
    http://mrsjackofalltradesdaily.blogspot.com/

  • Chic 'n Cheap Living
    July 26, 2012 at 5:51 am

    She has had quite a life! I was looking at a fashion photo spread of a woman in powerful positions and also thought of this article written by a professor on working women and choosing work or family. I have no idea what I’ll do when the day comes. But as I climb up the food chain, I do wonder what path I will choose!

    xoxo,
    Chic ‘n Cheap Living

    • Katherine
      July 26, 2012 at 9:35 am

      I think I read that same article by the former dean right? Fascinating!

  • lin
    July 26, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Another great interview…I actually found your blog because of your George R R Martin interview. As a mega Song of Ice and Fire fan, it was such a pleasure to hear him in his own words!

    I don’t know how you keep up with all these interviews and asking all these great questions but keep them up because they’re such great reads and somehow more “real” than what you get from traditional media.

  • Brownie
    July 27, 2012 at 1:08 am

    Thanks for the interview Katherine.. what a lovely collection of bags and jewellery Belle has. I’m so envious. It’s great that she shared her decision and the advice for people thinking about giving up a job to become a stay at home mum.

  • The Wild West » Feather Factor | Feather Factor
    July 31, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    […] since Belle’s interview I’ve been really rethinking my jewelry collection. I would like to build a collection of […]