Why Engagement Rings Are Kind of Silly

Photo by  Lauren Weissler

It’s the month of love. Even though statistically more people get engaged over Christmas and New Year’s, Valentine’s Day is the next most popular time to pop the question. And with that comes the timeless tradition of the diamond engagement ring. Or maybe not…

Have you guys seen this video? If you haven’t, go ahead and take a couple minutes to watch it. It’s pretty crazy. I remember feeling pretty duped when I saw it. Not that I had always had my heart set on a diamond engagement ring by any means but just because I was a part of a collective society that was hoodwinked by an ad campaign then let it become sacrosanct.

Watermelon Tourmaline Engagement Ring

Today I wear a white gold band with a watermelon tourmaline stone custom made by D Street Designs. If you believe in the whole ‘metaphysical properties of crystals’ thing, watermelon tourmaline helps to get rid of any energetic blockages in the heart. It also balances male and female energies and helps resolve issues in relationships. Seemed pretty apropos for an engagement ring stone to me!

So, just like in the video, even knowing the whole idea was a scam, we went ahead with the whole engagement ring thing anyway—albeit sans diamond. (Notice the title of the post… Why Engagement Rings are Kind of Silly!) I guess I do like the idea of a symbol. It doesn’t need to be a flashy or expensive one, but a widely recognized symbol that I’m spoken for doesn’t seem all that ridiculous to me. And hey, if it gets me a little more uninterrupted conversation with my girls while I’m at the bar, that doesn’t hurt either.

My husband and I had an interesting conversation one time about engagement and wedding rings. I kind of jokingly lamented that sometimes my ring doesn’t go with my outfit. Maybe every once in a while I’d like a flash of gold or something that would match better with my mom’s wedding ring that I wear occasionally when I want to feel fancy. He replied that because I didn’t need some crazy expensive ring, maybe he would get me a new ring every once in a while, perhaps every few years, and that I could just switch it out whenever I felt like it. That felt pretty cool to me. It’s not traditional, per se, but as we’ve seen here, what does traditional really mean?

If you’re in that teeter totter of a place with engagement rings like I am, maybe think about a non-traditional vintage ring or a custom one with a less expensive stone. They’re unique, relatively inexpensive and give you more options to find a ring that resonates with you—not just some iteration of a diamond ring that deBeers has marketed the crap out of to make you believe that you need so you can keep up with the Joneses.

Here are some of my favorites in the shop…

Where do you stand? Diamond/no diamond? Ring/no ring? What resonates with you when it comes to the idea of engagement rings?

David + Alexandra Wise // Vintage Wedding

When my friend and one of my favorite photographers Lauren Weissler said she wanted to collaborate on a bridal shoot for her portfolio, I said, “meh, no thanks.” HA! Just kidding! I said heck yes, and I have a beautiful couple who would be perfect!

Putting together styled shoots is exhausting. But when they come out like this, it’s worth every second of planning, pulling together outfits, hauling them around and the general franticness (is that a word?) of chasing the golden hour. Lately, I’ve been pretty blasé about styled shoots. Yes, they’re beautiful, but when they’re styled they sometimes tend to lack the presence and soul of something that is caught candidly.

That’s why I knew I had to have David and Alexandra as our subjects. They’re not two models posing together for a photo. They are a young couple who has survived more trials and tribulations than most mature couples, and because of it, they still look at each other with hearts in their eyes.

The Wises live just down the road from me and are great friends. I met them when I knocked on their door one day to see if they would let me do a photo shoot in the creepy, awesome deserted barn behind their house. Alexandra not only granted us permission, but she also offered to help us carry our gear. It was instantly apparent that she is as beautiful on the inside as the outside—and ever so humble as well.

They came over to dinner at our house one night, and after feeling like he was skirting the topic a bit, we pointedly asked David what he did. He casually responded, “I’m a professional skiier.” After quite a bit of prying he admitted that he wasn’t just any pro skiier, he was the 2014 Olympics Ski Halfpipe Gold Medalist. And now, of course, he is a 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist after his win in PyeongChang (a down-to-the-last-run performance that almost gave us all a panic attack might I add…) and the only man to win the event.

Creator: Ian MacNicol Credit: Getty Images Copyright: 2018 Ian MacNicol

Creator: Ian MacNicol Credit: Getty Images Copyright: 2018 Ian MacNicol

When I say that they have been through many trials and tribulations as a young couple, you must realize that being an Olympic gold medalist or being married to one is no cake walk. Aside from all of the glory of standing atop a podium, there are many sacrifices this family must make. Alexandra often spends long periods of time wrangling two rambunctious but absolutely adorable kids (Hi, Nayeli and Malachi!) by herself while he is away training and competing, and being away from a family that you adore for that amount of time must be very difficult as well.

Anyway, to bring it full circle, shortly after we met, they put together this super creative video as a wedding vow renewal, and I had the pleasure of lending a vintage Nest wedding dress for the occasion. I thought it very fitting to now have them on my turf for this wedding-inspired photo shoot.

So here they are gallivanting around our ol’ stomping grounds of Verdi, smooching under grand pines with the golden hour sun filtering through. We switched up locations and wedding dresses, but the same lovey dovey look in their eyes for one another remained. Read more about David and Alexandra’s journey, their wise-beyond-their-years musings on love and marriage as well as their wedding renewal vows here.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a video worth? Check out the behind-the-scenes action of our photo shoot with the Wises…

Fantastically filmed by Eddie Vigil V

8th Annual Getting Dirty On Valentine's Day Terrarium Class

The Nest Getting Dirty On Valentine's Day Terrarium Class

We have been Getting Dirty on Valentine’s Day with our annual terrarium class for 8 years now! We’ve never been your traditional ‘it’s Valentine’s Day so here’s some flowers and let’s go to dinner and a movie’ type of people. We roll up our sleeves, play in the dirt and create unique and lasting terrariums, all with a glass of wine and a delicious locally made dessert in hand. If you’re over ‘traditional’ this year, please join us!

WHEN: Thursday, February 14th. 7pm

WHERE: The Nest

PRICE: $45 per person in advance/$55 day of

This class is great for couples, singles and groups alike. If you’re looking for something fresh, fun and affordable to do with your S.O., you want to sidestep the pressure of a more formal date or you just want to kick it with a group of friends and make new ones, come get dirty with us!

Not hip to terrariums? They are living works of art! We supply a variety of vessels and let you loose to fill them with succulents, air plants and vintage baubles we have collected over the years to personalize them.

More of a black thumb than a green one? Don’t fret. I am good at killing plants, and I still have my terrariums from our very first class! Maintenance is minimal, and the succulents even propagate themselves. Boom! Way better than a bouquet of flowers you have to throw out in a week!

Not quite convinced yet? Check out photos from past classes or find yourself some inspiration on my Pinterest Board.

The Nest Getting Dirty on Valentine's Day Terrarium Class

History Lesson: Victorian Era Sleepwear

Victorian Era Sleepwear

What did ladies wear to bed back in the Victorian era?

Victorian Dressing Gown
This Victorian era (1837-1901) dressing gown would've been part of a set of three. It would've had a matching nightgown and chemise to be worn underneath the corset. Sounds a bit uncomfortable for sleepwear, doesn’t it?

The lady who originally owned this piece may have only been seen in it by her husband and lady's maid. She may have worn it for warmth in her home or when having to go out to use the facilities. Today, we may think of it akin to a robe or house coat. It is rare to find these still intact as they were often cut up to make dresses with in later decades.

We were lucky enough to come across one of these Victorian robes in the shop! Now, we don’t plan on wearing this to bed, so in true Nest vintage-meets-modern fashion, we would give it a contemporary twist and wear this open as a duster of sorts with some jeans, heeled booties and a colored top.

If you’re curious to learn more about Victorian Dressing Gowns and Tea Gowns, this is an informative blog post!

Glad you get to go to bed in sweatpants and a comfy tee now?

Before & After: Blue Velvet + Floral Sofa

Newly Reupholstered Blue Velvet + Floral Vintage Sofa

The newest gem in our newly reupholstered collection.

I absolutely adore this sofa. I knew its potential from the moment I laid my eyes on it (‘before’ photo at the end of this post). It was drab, yes, and definitely showing its age and wear in the fabric, but that has never deterred me! I love reupholstery projects because you can completely change a piece with a little vision. Plus, the frame was in great shape, and it was surprisingly comfortable!

Don’t get me wrong. I love to maintain a piece’s original character when possible, but if the previous owner had cats or the fabric was ripped beyond repair, then I have no qualms about giving it a facelift with all new fabric and foam in a show-stopping combination of color and print!

Newly Reupholstered Blue Velvet + Floral Vintage Sofa Back

After this delightful sofa was finished, I spied this Architectural Digest article on 2019 Design Trends and realized that I hit the mark on a lot of their bullet points with this one. It’s custom, it features bold colors and patterns and there is a vibrant mix of design periods.

Here’s the ‘before.’

Would you have passed this beauty by?


If you have a vision for a drab piece of your own, send a photo to tessa@thenestreno.com to get a reupholstery quote. But first check this blog post for some helpful advice!

Alternatively, you can swing by the shop to pick out a piece that I’ve already chosen that’s just dying for an upgrade. I only select high quality, well-made items to be reupholstered so you can be sure that it’s a good investment.

Cheers to 2019

For the love of God…I mean vintage.  And it really can be that big, that spiritual, that all encompassing.  And for Tessa Miller it really is.

I recently spent 3 days with this boss lady, taking pictures, talking life, sorting through the oft frazzled, frantic and chaotic corners of ourselves and her shop.  And I left with a better understanding of why I should be spending more time with her (and shopping in her store for that matter).  Tessa Miller is quirky.  Not pseudo quirky, not mainstream cool quirky, not ‘I run a vintage store because that’s what people like’ quirky.  But real, authentic ‘I own a needlepoint puppy dog foot stool because I totally love it’ quirky.  She breathes it, sweats it, talks-the-walk-and-walks-the-talk vintage-to-her-bones kind of quirky.  And we all need that.  We all need something unique to pull us through the trenches of the homogeneity of the American mainstream.  We need a strong dose of real life people to bring out the best in ourselves.

Over the course of a few days, I saw this woman in multiple different scenarios—from complete strangers’ homes picking up vintage furniture, to her own home playing with her kid, and to her store interacting with customers and I can’t say I saw a difference at all.  She oozed dignity.  She was personable and loving and treated everyone like her best friend.  And I loved every minute of that.  Because we all want—no, need—to be treated like that; to be listened to and touched on the shoulder and smiled at.  To be valued for no other reason than that we all are human, and being human means we need to be connected to other humans on whatever level we are capable of.  And, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with all of that, until today.  Because today, I resolved to spend more time with people like her. 

I’m typically not one for New Year’s Resolutions, especially not the type that involve strict lists of ‘to do’s’ and ‘not to do’s’.  But, I do place a lot of value on analyzing the past and letting it inform the future. And on that note, what better time for that than a new year?  It’s been a crapshoot of a year for me.  Maybe a little—no, a lot—like a pinball machine, running into and reacting to bumpers and hazards and circumstances with blinging lights, loud outbursts and sometimes even that weird jolting thing those machines do.  I’ve let too many things slip right between the flippers and haven’t had enough energy to make it up the ramp for the bonus ball.

After a good long weekend with Tessa, though,  I realized most of that is because I was playing alone in an empty arcade, feeding quarters into a machine that couldn’t spit anything back out but noise.  And with that, I’ve resolved to spend more time with the incredible people in my life.  To fill myself with the depth of interactions that come from real, authentic and quirky friends.  I often tell my teenage son, “We are who we hang out with.”  And, apparently, it takes working weekends and a new year celebration to realize that I need to take my own hint. 

So, cheers to a year filled with people who lift you up; to people who don’t judge you by your clutter; to people who invite you in to their messy rooms and let you play with their pajama-crazed-bed-jumping toddlers; to people who give their all to making something new out of something old; to people who encourage you to live a full, happy story; to people who defy the mainstream antics with dignity, humanity and enough quirkiness to push us into a new year with a hopeful smile on our face.