Cupcakes and Cashmere could not have been on my coffee table for more than an hour before my house guests began quizzing me about it. "Who is this?" they asked about the beautiful blonde on the cover, effortlessly coiffed and casually strolling down the beach with a bunch of balloons. With such an ambiguous title and cover art, their confusion is unsurprising, but their intrigue understandable.
Author Emily Schuman (also the cover model), a Bay Area native, is a leader in the emerging blogger profession. While blogs have been a part of Internet culture for over a decade, the niche for blogging professionals has only existed for about half that time. Mass followings and daily readers have allowed bloggers to establish themselves as experts on the topic, or topics, of their choosing. As is the case with Schuman, this expertise then translates to the offline world. Named one of Forbes' 20 Best Fashion Blogs for Professional Women and one of the "Best of the Web" by InStyle Magazine, Schuman has become a frequent contributor to leading publications in the fashion industry.
Four years after starting her blog, Schuman has now expanded her voice with the release of Cupcakes and Cashmere. In her introduction to the book, she says her motivation for writing has always been "to focus on the little things that bring happiness... to incorporate a variety of topics including fashion, food, interior design, beauty, and entertaining." The book, inspired by her blog (and given the same name), is intended to provide a deeper dive into the areas Schuman discusses on a daily basis within the blogosphere.
Categorized by seasons, the book has four parts. Each section breaks down Schuman's seasonal recommendations for dressing, her beauty routine, and holiday-appropriate sweet treats. While for beauty, fashion, and entertaining, this organization is logical, it fails to be relevant to all of the areas the book details. The chapters on subjects like shopping at flea markets and organizing your home office seem off-theme within the book's seasonal structure. Although in this writer's opinion, all the topics are well selected and pertinent to Schuman's audience.
Beyond the initial confusion readers may experience with the structure, both avid followers and those unfamiliar with Schuman's blog (like my house guests) are sure to recognize her expertise in the areas the book covers. With sections detailing a range of topics from seasonally appropriate wardrobe color schemes to how to layer jewelry to making winter cocktails, Schuman breaks down many untaught, yet essential skills and knowledge for young women, consolidated into a single volume. Equipped with full-page instructional photographs, and detailed step-by-step instructions, Schuman has created a novel reference book that will remain in its easily accessible spot on my coffee table for a long time to come.