Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ready to Fly

When I first saw this feather-edged capelet of Barbara Munsel's on Susie Bubble's site, I knew that I had to have it. It was delicate and ethereal and, simply... special. How could you not want it?

And when I found out there was only one going to be made, I was even less able to resist its charms. Made of the creamiest crepe de chine silk, studded with crystals and edged with fluttery feathers it's probably the most magical item I own.

I bought a garment bag for it (since I don't have a dress form... yet!) but now I need to find somewhere equally magical to wear it. And what to wear it with? I was thinking something down to earth like jeans, boots and a cami or tee in a similar color. Or a strapless dress in the same off white as the feathers.
Do you have any ideas inspired by this? I'd love for you to share them if you do!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Magic Shaving Soap Gel

I've always had a love/hate with shaving my legs. This is on so many levels. First of all I am super sensitive skin. So crazy-sensitive that I can't put on any lotion for at least 24 hours after I shave or I break out like crazy. Just using and old razor or a new kind of shave gel can also cause my to get a rash too.

The only thing I could ever use was Neutrogena oil, although I later found Khiel's Creme de Corps wasn't too bad and I found that a bottle of safflower oil (found for cheap in the grocery) works well to keep in moisture too. It doesn't have a smell so you can use plain or add in an essential oil and isn't too greasy.

Another reason I hate shaving was the whole animal testing thing that is done by makers of razors and shave gels/creams. Gilette, one of the largest brands, has been something that we have boycotted for years and years. Not only are these products expensive and wasteful (we hate how much disposable razor blades cost and how they are packaged) but they have done unneeded testing for years. Blech!

We've found some razor solutions but we've been looking for other shave gel options too. The hubby uses a Khiel's product but I've just been using a store brand can of shaving creme. But the other day, he came home from the store with this tube of Dr. Bronner's Magic Organic Fair Trade Tea Tree Shaving Soap Gel.

I've used it a few times and I have to say I like it. It has a pretty runny consistency when it comes out of the tube but then it froths up. It makes the razor move pretty easily and I haven't had any negative reactions, which is great.

If you can find this in your store, I would recommend it. I'm using the tea tree "flavor" but I now see that they have lavender and lemongrass lime (and more). I think I want to try those too.

The company also seems to have a commitment to fair trade and social responsibility. And as you know, I believe, like many people, but especially women, that it is not only the product we are buying but the company's values that are important to us too.
If you've found any good shaving solutions or companies doing a good job being socially responsible, I'd love to hear about them.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Imitation = Flattery?

I was looking on ModCloth, which always has cute stuff, and came across these interesting tights.

Aren't they neat? But, ummm...., don't they remind you of something?

Oh yes! The amazing hand-crafted tights from Bebaroque!

Now I know printed tights are not unique but these are awfully close, don't you think.

The problem is I like ModCloth but I do have an issue with their positioning. They tend to say they have all this unique stuff but I often find or know where they really come from.

Let's just be honest already!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Compete for a Lady's Attentions

The lovely Miss Vanda of Paraphernalia fame is having a competition to win a voucher and immortality in her Victoriana Collection!

Per her competition blog post:

I made the Victoriana Collection because I really really wanted some pieces I could wear to more formal occasions and parties, but I've also been wearing Penelope up there for going shopping, going out for coffee, going to family dinners - totally versatile. They have five beautiful ladies with very different personalities, besides a beautiful pearl and discreet, yet sparkly glitter accents. I'll be taking photos on a model with them tomorrow, since I think these images do not do them justice!

On top of this, I'm launching the very first Paraphernalia competition! Write a short story (around a paragraph or two) for one (or several) of these ladies, and if yours is selected, not only will be featured in the product description and press releases of the collection (with full credit and link), you'll also be able to win a $30 gift voucher for each of the stories that get selected!

To enter, leave a comment here, on my Flickr, or send me an e-mail to Entries close on Saturday the 6th, so be quick! Good luck! <3

I know I'm going to try and come up with something worthy of these lovely ladies! I know there's a ton of creativity out there. I can't wait to see what you come up with.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Edible Shoe Cream. Um... Why?

I'm all for organic and earth-friendly products but sometimes things, inspite of these admiration-worthy characteristics, just confuse me.

Case in point: Edible Shoe Cream.

Um... why????

According to the Terra Plana site:

Po-Zu launched a totally unique product; coconut oil edible shoe cream! The cream is made with 100% organic virgin coconut oil and can be used in multiple ways; from cleaning your shoes, moisturising your face to eating it on toast and conditioning your hair. Its versatility makes it a great product to travel with; meet the Swiss Army Knife of cosmetics!

I've never had coconut oil on toast. Is it good? Would this have been something Tom Hanks would have killed for (or should have made) when he was a Castaway? Do you really go through that mental check list when looking for a shoe cream?

"Hmmm... I need to clean my shoes, they're filthy..."

"This looks pretty good, but my hair is really dry, I wonder if I could ad some of this shoe cream to it. It softens my shoes so maybe..."

"Darn I'm starving to and this looks pretty good..."


Anyway, if you're looking for a product that does all three (and more perhaps!) a tin is $15.

Let me know how it tastes.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Perfectly Paraphernalia

If you haven't purchased one of the amazing pieces Miss Vanda makes on Paraphernalia, you should be ashamed! They are amazing and adorable and unique!

I just bought a few new pieces and highly recommend you get on over there as well!

To celebrate her new site and two (!!!) new collections, Vanda is offering 10% off your order with the promotional code: YAYNEWSHOP.

So go... Shop!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Flowerbomb Me

I have long held a love for Viktor & Rolf. Ever since the magical shoes got away, I've admired their designs, style and openness to innovation. You may have watched their online fashion show this past season. When their site came out I went in and signed up as part of their "secret service."

I actually didn't think much of it until I got this package in the mail on Friday. I couldn't imagine what it could be but when I opened the envelope there was this lovely piece talking about the V&R perfume Flowerbomb.

Within the package was a little pink bag containing a sample of the Flowerbomb body creme and a shower gel.

I haven't tried the perfume yet, but I'm willing to give these a go. I love the pink and black packaging too. The letter with the package said they will continue surprising "official members" with info and previews and I will be the "privileged recipient of delicate attentions all year long."
Sounds intriguing. I can't wait to see what this means....

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Favorite Accessory

You can get one too. Go out and vote!

And if you're in California - Vote Yes on Prop 2!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Follow the Bouncing Ball

More social media fun -

Follow my blog with bloglovin´

Come along....

Monday, October 20, 2008

Jonathan Saunders & Swarovski

Just as Jonathan Saunders is doing a collaboration with Target, he also has a new collection with Swarovski.

I wasn't a fan of the Go International line, even though the lines and designs are sleek and sporty, but these pieces strongly appeal to the side of me that wants to go in for modern statement pieces.

The collection has rings, bracelets, earrings and necklaces and I have a few favorites that I think stand out.

Of the rings, I really like the Obi rings.

I especially like the black but really, all three are just gorgeous.

The Ecuso necklace sparkles with square crystals and also comes in blue.

But my favorite piece of the whole line is the Tuscan necklace in white. I love the shape and the mix of casual style with the white leather cord paired with sparkly crystals. I think white and gold go so well together.

It comes in a black too, which is a great piece for tonal layering.

These pieces are made using an "exclusive Swarovski pointillage technique in which crystals are embedded into a ceramic-like material" which give them sort of an enameled look. I'd love to see these in person.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Skin Fair as Snow, Lips Red as the Rose

Growing up I longed to look like Snow White. I had the white skin, but I wanted the black hair and the rosy lips. As tempting as the apple, I am continually seduced by a good red lipstick. And even though I don't wear it everyday, I still continue to buy them.

Especially when you see someone like Miss WendyB look so amazing in hers! (BTW Miss Wendy, I almost stopped by MAC yesterday to get a tube of your Lasting Lust... which I may still do. Darn you, seductress!)

On a day to day basis, however, I tend to stick to rosier berry shades. Of course, like everyone else, I wear Clinque's Black Honey, but I tend to wear Chanel lipsticks most of all. Sadly for me, nearly every color I fall in love with happens to be a seasonal limited edition color or something and I have to hoard my tube for ages. I also love their Glossimers because they don't taste funny and are not too gloopy.

But while I love my lipstick and glosses, I do fear them. I was told growing up, that if you wore lipstick a lot it would make your lips less pink. Now I don't know if that's true or not or what but I don't like the sound of it. Of course, as a young girl you'll have lovely rosy lips but is it just a natural part of getting older that they don't seem as lush?

So this myth, combined with my lack of major make-up skills (I'd love the make-up skills of Miss Doe Deere) results in my having a fairly basic make-up routine. I dot on some custom blended Prescriptives base in a few spots and brush on some translucent powder. My skin has so much pink in it, I never wear blush. I love it and have some, but really don't use it. I'd look like I had a fever or a sunburn if I did. I usually only wear a single eye shadow - lately a smokey lavender, grey, silver or taupe - but I love love love mascara.

And to get a mouth that looks just kissed, I have a love affair with lip stains. It's very hard for me to resist them. Right now I have three in my make-up bag, some better than others.

I gave Revlon's Just Bitten a try. It's not bad but it as a roller-ball applicator, which I don't find to be very effective. Plus it leaks into the cap when you lay it on it's side, as I do. I should just toss it because I don't really use it that much.

My new favorite for a pink mouth is the Pixi Lip Blush in Youth at Target. It has a marker/Sharpie-like applicator and gives a great color. But, it's $18. I don't think I realized that the first time I bought. It's too bad it's so pricey. I was going to try another color too. But I guess I'll stick with this one and decide if I'll repurchase when it runs out. But I really really like it. Dilemma!

An old favorite, which is more of a balm, is the well proven Benetint lip balm. And easier application than the original Benetint with a lovely rosy smell and which gives a great color.

I always had crummy luck with the original Benetint, especially when I tried it as a blush but I'm in love with it in my newest purchase, the Benetint Pocket Pal. I've been using this every day since I got it and it works great. Making sure your lips are bare and dry before you brush on the stain really helps and then, when the stain is dry, you have a nice clear gloss for shine. Plus it's easy to put in my purse.

As much as I aspire to more artful make-up, I find that I'm just not skilled. I need a good teacher, I think. Maybe the next time I'm in NYC I'll make the rounds of all my lovely friends and get them to give me a make over.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Basic Influences

I was just over on Coutorture reviewing the latest coverage from the Paris shows and took a run through the Louis Vuitton Spring 2009 runway photos.

As always, my first look is at the shoes and accessories and this show was filled to the brim. What stood out at me first were the more casual shapes of the bags, the willingness to not be pristine about the logo material, and the embellishments.

Mostly because the chunky beading reminded me of old wooden bead stringing sets.

Slightly more mature colors but it's there.

Not that we don't already know that Marc Jacobs (like much of the movie and advertising industries) has a fondness for the elements of his past and is mining the touch points of his 1970s-80s youth. You remember the Lego accessories last year, right?

The show had a very obvious tribal tone to it but seriously, don't you think this shoe is taking it just a bit to far? I mean, come on already!

Lovely as art. Somewhat offensive as footwear?

But overall, and after looking at a bunch of photos from other shows, what I took away from this collection was "Buy More Accessories!"

Not the style, not the clothes (although I love the grassy skirt much like I liked the skirts from the Fall 2007 RTW Prada show) but rather "Here is a bunch of lower price point entry pieces - let's push that."

Or maybe I'm just jaded after reading Deluxe.

I am a huge fan of embellished shoes but these look like an art project gone bad. There isn't a lot of harmony to the design.

Is that what we have in store for us?

It's like the Reality TV mindset of the shoe world. It doesn't matter what it looks like as long as it gets attention.

Alright, now I've depressed myself.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Keeping Cozy

While scarves have been getting all of the love lately, especially this past Summer, I've been seeing a new more streamline option to go with the close cut looks of the fall.

You may see these called a scarf collar, a scarflette, neck cozies or cowls, but no matter what the maker is calling it, they look wonderfully warm with out being overwhelming or bulky.

A few of my Etsy favorites are as follows.

I love the vintage looking creations that Rudman is creating. Her pieces are felted wool and embellished with unique buttons, fabrics and lace.

Adventures of Jessica Rose's store did their take on a similar design but they are using crocheted cashmere and bamboo yarns, which I bet are just as delightfully soft and snuggly as they sound.

I like the chunky cowl option coming from fringe. This has a retro, graphic charm. I'd wear this over a solid color sweater. I'd bet you wouldn't even need a coat. I just want to bury my chin in to this.

Last year I just fell in love with this piece from Lubee. The colors were very delicate and I like the pretty lavender ribbon which creates the gathers and the sparkle from the sequins. This looks great with my cinnimon coat which I've had since high school and dark wash jeans.

I'm sure there are even more options out there on Etsy. But as you know, most of what's there is created by hand, so you need to snatch them up fast. At least you'll know that there won't be 15 other people wearing the exact same thing as you.

And you'll be toasty warm!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Box Full o' Kawaii

I FINALLY got my box of goodies from JBox. And I when I stress the "finally" I'm not kidding... I ordered this stuff 2 months ago. That's what I get for picking "slow boat from Japan" shipping.

Two months??? What the heck?

Anyways, I had pretty much forgotten what I had ordered by this time so it sort of like getting a gift on Christmas morning. I didn't remember what surprises were in store.

This is also contributed to by the fact that the packaging is in Japanese.

I got a pile of cute and tasty gums - rose, lemon mint, blueberry, rose mint. Delicious!

I also got a bunch of savory snacks - basil crisps, tamari rice crackers (which are particularly delicious), chocolate filled cookie sticks. miso soup and a whole bunch of other flavors.

And I couldn't resist a little kawaii cuteness... I had to get these adorable good luck love owls.

Gah! Cuteness!

Per the site:

In Japan, Fukurou (Owls) are a traditional symbol of good luck. The connection of the owl and luck in Japanese culture is steeped in tradition, but can be connected semantically to the sounds of the Japanese word for owl: "kurou" means trouble, "fu" basically means not or no -- so you're lucky if you have "not trouble".

This is a good looking and well made Enmusubi (Marriage) owl ceramic figure that works along the lines of the Maneki Neko (Lucky Cat) or Daruma figures, as a lucky charm or welcoming display for your guests.

Comes with a mini signboard that reads: Luck will come, with no troubles you will smile and obtain happiness and affection.

Now isn't that worth waiting for?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

In Touch With Nature

I am a huge fan of the unique.

This is why I love the things that come out of Etsy, vintage finds and limited editions (my favorite words!). But it is also what I look for when adding things to my home.

Yes, I have some furniture from Pottery Barn and my crystal is Lismore (possibly Waterford's most popular pattern) but I get really excited when I see true artisan work. Items that are truly crafted - made with love and a skill that is only acquired by time and experience.

I want to bring a piece of that home with me. I want to hold on to it. I want to have something that showcases that skill for posterity. And I want to encourage others to do the same because that is how we ensure that such skills will keep on.

We go to the Farmer's Market near our town almost every weekend. From Spring to Fall there are amazing vendors. We're also lucky to be surrounded and friends with some very talented people. Next to them (okay just in general) we're total untalented shlubs! Several times a year the farmer's market has a craft show. At one of the earlier shows I met a very lovely older gentleman named Bob Barrett who does amazing hand turned and carved wooden pieces. I instantly feel in love with his work and he is the main vendor we look for each time.

The first time I met him I bought this gorgeous Cherry wood bowl.

The bowl has an amazing color to it and is the perfect size for the pile of fruit that we keep on the counter. I also like how the color warms up our mainly black and white kitchen.

What's also great is the satiny smoothness of this piece. You just want to run your hands all over it. It just glows.

The next time Bob was at the show I bought these two pieces. The first is a large bowl about 6" deep made of red cedar. It's hard to tell from the flash the true depth of color that this piece has but it is just gorgeous in person.

If you enlarge the image you can really see where Bob's skill shines through. He works with each piece of wood and takes into account the unique attributes that it has and plays them up. He preserves the integrity of the wood... in this instance you can see where the edge of the bowl is almost paper thin. At the thickest point the wood is about 1/4". It just amazes me!

We keep this bowl on the mantle in the library where it definitely has a pride of place.

The other piece we have is this Burl Oak Compote.

It would be hard to say I have a favorite but I am seriously in love with this. I just adore the pattern of the wood. When I saw it in his booth I had to have it. The shape of the piece is great too. We keep it out on display as art but it's very functional as well. I like to use it for holding candy during movie nights!

Our new favorite wedding gift is one of Bob's pieces. I think there is a lot of symbolism inherent in giving one of his pieces. Unique, sturdy, functional but beautiful, filled with love and care. What better gift or good wishes could you give?

Bob will also do special orders if you ask him. If you have something in mind - a shape or a kind of wood, he will search around until he finds it for you and then will make it as close to your specs as possible. You don't even have to pay for it up front because he'll sell it regardless. He carves his signature and the date into the underside of each piece. I predict that years from now you see people collecting his work.

Mr. Barrett doesn't have a website but I have his phone number. Drop me an email or leave a comment and I'll get it to you.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Water Conservation

No, I'm not going to get all environmental here. I'm just have to talk about my new love - dry shampoo. I know I'm late to get on the bandwagon but, hey, better late than never.

I have long hair that I have to wash pretty much every day other wise it becomes a big stringy mop which is also great for my complexion. If I don't wash it - greasy. If I don't condition it - huge tangles. Lots of fun. The other fun part is it takes forever to dry. So when I ignore the alarm and wake up late, I know I'm not going to make up any time because I still have to wash my stupid hair.

Also, for some reason, my hair has not been reacting well to any shampoo and conditioner. I try to get ones without sulfates but they are leaving my hair too hard to comb through. And the regular Pantene stuff is not rinsing out well. I don't know what to do.

But for now I've got this secret weapon and I love it!

I know there are a number of dry shampoos out there but this is the only one I've tried so far - Klorane Dry Oat Shampoo.

You just spray it on and then brush it out. Just like the instructions say. Amazing!

But it works!

Even on my thick hair, it works so well that I can't believe it. And it makes my hair actually look fuller. And not greasy. I love it! It's also good for color-treated hair as you reduce the amount you are washing out your color.

I think I'm going to have to buy a can to replace this one plus a can for my office. Maybe another one for my purse because it's small enough to fit in there. If you have any recommendations for other brands or a solution to my shampoo/conditioner traumas, I'd be happy to get your advice!