Wednesday, January 27, 2010
I'm very excited to announce my newest venture...I've started an etsy store!
I decided to turn one of my favorite hobbies into my own little cottage industry and use it to my advantage. For now I wanted to do something that I enjoy and not scramble around trying to find something to fill my time and not be happy doing it. I'm very excited to start this, it's brand new to me and I'll learn as I go but at least I can say everything was made with love and I'm going to be happy doing it; not many people can say the same about their jobs, especially in this economic situation.
So go have a look around and let me know what you think! I'm very proud and excited to have gotten this off the ground, here's hoping it takes me good places! Thanks for any input and spreading the word that I'm up for business and reccommendations.
And I love you all for your help and support.
Have a lovely day.
Monday, January 25, 2010
I grew up in one of those families that traveled but not like your "typical" American family travels. We don't camp, I've never been on a cruise, never seen Hawaii or Vegas, we don't usually stay in those fancy hotels and I didn't see Yosemite until a year ago and I've lived in Northern California my whole life. When I go with the fam somewhere we rent a house or something comparable and really try to live like the locals, to get the whole experience. Those are some great memories of traveling in the world but i feel like I haven't gotten to see much of the United States which is something I kind of feel a wee bit cheated out of. I have always wanted to travel up and down the east coast and see the seasons change, I would like to see Washington DC, and Hawaii, the red rocks of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah, the sky in Colorado and Montana, New Orleans, Portland, the coast of Maine and the islands off of South Carolina.
The boy on the other hand has been to Hawaii, gone to Vegas 7 times, traveled and lived all over the east coast/midwest and has participated quite heavily in the commercial travel industry.
So when he asked me what I wanted to do for Valentines day after I made my puke face and made my same this time of year statement about how I despise Valentines day, I looked him in the eye and said "go somewhere, like Sequioa National Forest and see General Sherman." General Sherman is the giant Sequioa that is the largest and oldest tree (they think its about 2700 years old) known and I've always wanted to see it. After some discussion about what to do and where to go we decided to take a road trip to the Grand Canyon with a stop through in Las Vegas.
Neither of us have ever seen the Grand Canyon, and we're meeting friends in Vegas for a night. I'm very excited about it, and I get to plan the whole thing. The problem is I know nothing about Las Vegas or the Gand Canyon in regards to what to do and where to stay and what to see. I'm sure the boy has Vegas covered on where to stay, but I'm afraid that because he's seen everything there a million times he'll be jaded and I'll want to see EVERYTHING and take it all in.
So does anyone have any reccommendations on what to do and what to see in Las Vegas for a beginner? The things you are glad you got to see and would never want to have missed out on? I'm not much of a gambler, I'd rather spend my money on other things than paying the casino's electricity bill, so keep that in mind.
And has anyone ever been to the Grand Canyon and have any experiences they'd like to share?
I would love input, as I begin the planning process with a blank slate and not a clue as to where to begin. I'd surely appreciate it.
Have a lovely day!
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Vivienne Westwood, fashion designer and inspiration to fashionistas everywhere has really dipped below the belt. Westwood's menswear fashion show in Milan this last week featured men in overly priced clothes acting as homeless men. Some carried bedrolls, some were "sleeping" in cardboard boxes, some pushed carts and carried plastic bags. Men were seen wearing what appeared to be makeup that looked like frostbite and walked up and down a runway covered in cardboard boxes.
The Times online writes:
Last night the press release for Westwood’s menswear collection, for Milan Fashion Week, declared: “Perhaps the oddest of heroes to emerge this season, Vivienne Westwood found inspiration in the roving vagrant whose daily get-up is a battle gear for the harsh weather conditions . . . Quilted bombers and snug hoodies also work well in keeping the vagrant warm.”
Yes, because as Westwood would clearly understand, those quilted bomber jackets she makes for ridiculous prices would be the first thing that so called vagrant would wear...not clothes that they picked up at say Salvation Army for free or dug out of a garbage can because they have no other choice.
The Times also adds,
Westwood conceded that she herself had no experience of being homeless. “The nearest I have come to it is going home and finding I don’t have my door key,” she said. “I mean, what a disaster that is, dying to get in your house and you can’t. And what if it wasn’t there any more?”
Good point Vivienne, you're really on to something there. Lets capitalize on it shall we?
Homeless people are not a fashion statement, they are our fellow human beings, moms, dads, sons and daughters and they need help; if you find this so inspiring why don't you go volunteer at your local soup kitchen, or donate all the money you make from this free inspiration to a homeless cause, instead of make a hoodie and play with the "fun" theme of “like they were sleeping rough and they’d got frost in their hair”? I feel that using the suffering of others to make money is not inspiring, it's just plain cruel. I have lived in downtown Sacramento for a while now, somewhere that has had national coverage recently on the homeless epidemic. I see these men and women, sometimes even children every day and they are suffering. They sleep in bushes and under overhangs that smell like urine; they get harrassed by sh*t punks all the time, and it certainly does not look like a fashion show to me.
Based on the Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) released by HUD in July 2009:
Nearly 1.6 million people use emergency or transitional housing programs over the course of a year; and
On a given night, approximately 664,000 people are homeless. Of those:
More than 124,000 are chronically homeless;
36.5 percent are chronic substance abusers;
26.3 percent are severely mentally ill; and
About 15 percent are veterans.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I love this photo from The Sartorialist, these lovely ladies look so fabulous and they look like they're having such a good time. It reminds me of me and my girlfriends. I hope I always look this stylish, happy and put together when I'm older. You can tell they enjoy life. And I enjoy their outfits!
I'm dying for those pink heels, those green leather gloves and those oversized black pants.
It's a sad day for me. My most favorite chocolate in all the world, Cadburys (not just those sticky frosting eggs you yankees) has been bought out by United States Kraft foods. I've never been a Hersheys fan, I find most chocolate here in the states not so appealing even. Cadburys has always made my favorite candy bars and chocolate, there's just something different about the taste of it. I go to Cost Plus to buy my chocolate bars if I'm ever in the mood, and Cadbury's chocolate bar, Flake is my most favorite. There's a town in New Zealand when we go to visit family called Dunedin that has a Cadburys factory in it, and you can go buy bags full of their mess ups for a $1, and the town smells like chocolate when you drive by the factory. It's so lovely. I can only hope the quality stays the same, and I can only hope that Kraft can win back the Brits cause for now they're pretty pissed to say the least.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Dear Marc Jacobs,
While I do love your stuff, it's great, I mean really great; are you serious about craftily beading a swastika onto your boho bag? Are you okay with this? And more importantly is anybody else? I'd be a tad uncomfortable if I were you. Maybe you should reconsider.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
I thought I would do a post on The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver after having finished it last week. This book had been on my list of things to read for quite a while, and I finally got to it.
My feelings on the book are mixed.
The story is about a missionary family from Georgia who move to the Belgian Congo in 1959 to start a mission there. The story follows the family through the tumultuous times in the Congo during its difficult birth into independence and the family's adjustment into life in the Congo and follows each womans life until the end. It is narrated by the mother, Orleanna Price and the 4 daughters, Rachel, Leah, Adah and Ruth May.
Needless to say the Prices have a hard time embracing their life in Africa, but continue to trudge on at the insistence of their father, the baptist minister Nathan. Nathan is the enemy here, he represents insensitivity and ignorance not only to the entire village but to his entire family, including his wife.
I had a hard time getting into this book at first. It was a little slow to me in the beginning. I found that I didn't really connect with the characters and I actually didn't really like many of their personalities. However, once I got into the story and finished it I can look back and say that I really appreciate the growth in each character.
Leah grew into a woman with a deeper meaning than herself; she found wisdom and learned what love is. Adah grew in courage and independence, and embraced sympathy for others, especially her mother. Orleanna grew into herself after a long battle with her marriage to Nathan and her stunted growth from their relationship. The only person who didn't really grow was Rachel, she seemed clueless the entire time that anything had any meaning at all. She was only interested in what she could do for herself, and judged her own growth by the things she possesed; throughout her entire life that never changed for her. I wish that Kingsolver had written a bit more about Nathan as a person. Nathan, the father had many personal problems of his own stemming from his past and I would have been more interested to know about him; maybe writing a chapter narrated by him? He seemed so complex but instead of get to understand his complexities and look deeper into his own handicap we just learn to hate him. But maybe that's the point, the wife and daughters of Nathan Price don't understand his issues or look at him as a deep person, they just don't like him.
Each character started out handicapped in some way, either figuratively or literally as in Adah's case. By the end of the novel the characters either embraced their handicap (Rachel, Nathan) or overcame it.
I didn't find this book a page turner, but it was one I wanted to stick with just to see how each character ended up. I didn't fall in love with anyone in the book but I was rooting for them the whole way. I really enjoyed Kingsolver's parallel between the lives of the characters in their struggle for indpendence and that of the Congo. Throughout the whole book the Congo has its own handicap and it is fighting to overcome it just like each person in the Price family; but there are those who are unwilling to accept their problems and find solutions, the leader of the Congo, Mobutu and Rachel respectively.
It was an interesting book and I would reccomend it; but, do some research beforehand on the history of the Congo if you are unfamiliar, it would give the story more depth. The book was well written and the insight the author provides into each character by the end of the novel makes it worth reading.
It's a book you have to stick with to get anything out of it. I liked it, but I didn't love it. There have been books I have read I was truly sad were over but this one was not like that for me.
Anyone else read it and have an opinion?
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Big Love season 4 premiered recently, and I just finished season 3 last night. I'm looking forward to seeing what's happened to the family since last season. This show has sucked me in. I thought it was kind of boring at first but season 3 was really dramatic and interesting. Jezebel.com did a cliffs notes style coverage of season 4's premier and it looks pretty good. You can read about it here.
The characters are so complicated and I really enjoy seeing how the women grow as the seasons progress. I have to admit the Mormon religion baffles me with all of the terms and traditions that it throws me off a little bit, it gets a bit confusing and tiresome.
I just started reading a a book called, Under the Banner of Heaven by John Krakauer (the same guy that wrote Into the Wild) about the murders of a Mormon woman and her baby in Utah in 1984 by 2 Mormon fundamentalists, the Lafferty brothers. The book follows the fundamentalist part of the Mormon religion and explores the world of religious fanatics. It's been an interesting and educational read so far.
Are there any other Big Love fans out there? I can't explain why I like the show very well. I think I'm intrigued by things I don't understand well, especially concepts I have a hard time processing, like Polygamy. It's a lifestyle I have a very hard time wrapping my mind around. I'm also intrigued by relationships between people and this show definitely explores relationships and how they develop. I find it interesting how repulsive I find polygamy and the expectations for women to completely submit to men, yet the relationships between Bill the husband and his 3 wives is tolerable and even loving in a very loose sense of the word.
Friday, January 8, 2010
My favorite band of all time came out with a new album and I do have to say that people either loved it or hated it. I LOVED it. I think it was one of their best yet. The Decemberists album, The Hazards of Love had some of the most epic ballads, deep tunes and thought provoking lyrics I have heard yet. They only get better and this album was no exception. It's almost like a rock opera with every song blending in to the next, it never pauses. It has recurring themes and tunes and is musically narrated by different characters throughout the entire thing from beginning to end. I couldn't tear myself away for fear I would miss something. The Decemberists really took a risk making such an epic concept album, but this one is not to be missed.
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs made an album this last year called It's Blitz! Many of their albums I find that I like a lot of the songs but there are always a few I could do without. Every song on this album was good. It's just an overall fun album to listen to in the car or dance to at home. It's upbeat techno vibe is a bit out of step with what I'm used to from this band but I found it refreshing and it was an album I kept putting in the player over and over.
The Fruit Bats were a band I discovered early in the year on a program I listen to online and after buying one of their first albums I bought the new one, Ruminant Band. This band is consistent with their indie pop/folk music, meaning its good through and through. They embrace a true 60's beat, a quality music without being overdone. It's a mellow uncomplicated album and definitely worth a listen for it's catchy head bobbing, toe tapping tunes.
Lily Allen's newest album It's Not Me its You was maybe one of the most adorable albums I have heard it a long time. Her heartfelt lyrics blended with catchy beats and tunes made it an addiction I wasn't ashamed of. This girl comes across with a sweet voice and hits you with a trash mouth. But I could listen to her album and feel like she was singing a song just about me. Every song on the album is good and brightens your mood without you even noticing. I heard recently that she announced she's leaving music for good. Say it aint so Lily, cause if you can do better than this I sure would like to hear it.
So these were the things that made 2009 just a wee bit easier. I can't wait to see what 2010 brings.
I hope everyone has a lovely weekend. I'm off to pilates.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
I however, do not look like Kate Moss.
The BAD of 2009:
Over the Knee boots
These are so 80's, like up there with acid wash jeans and shoulder pads (I'll get to those in a second) and unless you have legs that are about 6 feet long and with about as much shape as stilts you should not wear these. Real girls have thighs, these only make them look bigger. That is not a good thing.
Shoulder Pads are back, and not in a good way (as if they were ever good)
This look is only for women who are a sack of bones and want to look wider without eating, or for women who wish they had been on Dynasty and may actually think they still are.
I mean, do you really want to look like this?
But now on to my favorite trends of 2009:
From top to bottom...
Heidi braids were in. I love me some braids. I think it's my inner hippy coming out. They make any look just a little more put together and add something a bit more interesting to a regular updo. I wear braids in my hair all the time and I like how they look.
Boyfriend blazers were in, also an 80's trend but this one is in a good way.
They're a good length on anyone and you could buy one just about anywhere. I got my black velvet boyfriend blazer at a vintage store for $12 and I wear it pretty much everyday. It's adds a lot of character to a tshirt and jeans outfit, the California girls uniform.
The boyfriend jean was also in. This picture from The Sartorialist is a perfect example of how cute they can look without being overdone. Nothing is wrong with a comfortable pair of jeans that also double as stylish and hip.
Ruffles and Romance were big in 2009. It was all about the details, bows, brooches, textured fabrics, big and dramatic without being over the top. I love that you can pull an outfit together and take it to the next level by adding the special details. A little sparkle or a ruffle or two do just the trick.
Chunky knits were also big this last year and into 2010, something I find perfectly appropriate. Drama and warmth all in one, and in bright colors even better.
Oxfords were really huge in 2009. Something I got really excited about. I got these metallic pretties from Urban Outfitters and I wear them all the time. They snazz up my outfits and make a statement without breaking my toes or the bank! Yay! We all win.
Tomorrow, my favorite albums of 2009. Have a lovely evening.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Kitchen utensils can be very useful or extremely useless and there really isnt much of an in between. So for today I wanted to do my favorite kitchen appliance I discovered this year that I think everyone can use, and yes I even mean the girl (or guy) that doesnt think of herself as much of a cook.
This little cuisinart mini prep is the most affordable and most useful thing I have put in the kitchen so far. I do not like chopping things up, just pretty much hate it, especially onions. My God, I hate cutting up onions and all I have to do it throw it in this thing and I'm done. It cost all of $40.00 and it can do pretty much anything you want it to. It's little (meaning it wont take up a lot of space) so it wouldn't really replace a normal food processor but if you like making guacamole, or salsa, or tomato sauce or want to chop just about anything (we've been making a lot of hash browns with this bad boy) then you might care to invest. I would highly recommend it.
Tomorrow? I'll be posting on my favorite clothing trend and shoes of 2009...oh yeah.
Have a lovely day.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
500 Days of Summer:
I went to see this just because Zooey Deschanel was in it and it moved me to tears by the end. I know it wasn't supposed to but its honest portrayal of relationships and love without being cheesy made it worth seeing. I hate movies where everything always works out perfectly in the end, real life doesn't work that way, and this is a movie for people who like me like movies about believable situations. It's quirky, funny, the characters are lovable and the entire thing is all around adorable. If you're the 2 people out there who havent seen it yet, go do so.
The Reader: This movie barely squeaks by as a film for 2009 coming out last january but it is so good I had to mention it. I went to this movie having no idea what it was about and I wasn't expecting much; I left speechless. Kate Winslet does an incredible job as her character. The film starts out a little unusual and makes you nervous about the story line and where it might be headed but by the end you have an entirely new outlook on who these people are. We've all seen a million movies about Nazis but this one looks at a side of the story with its characters that you aren't used to and really gets you thinking by the time you leave the theater.
Away We Go:
I recently saw this movie after having refused to see it in theaters with the boy, I don't know why, maybe I knew somehow that I would want to save this cause it would be so good. Kind of like saving the best candy for last, cause you know you'll go out on a good note. This movie explores the relationship of 2 people about to have a baby and follows them around the US and Canada as they try to find a good place to raise their child. The characters are so lovable, and I couldn't get enough of their love for one another. It explores different types of families, their relationships with one another and different towns throughout the film and by the end you just feel good. These people aren't perfect but you can't help but love them. I still have this movie sitting in my living room, cause I can't bear to part with it.
Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon do the most incredible job in this film. I couldn't stop smiling th entire time I watched it. This movie is about brave people who are willing to cross barriers and end up making history. It's a feel good movie without being cheesy and if you like rugby like I do (Go New Zealand All Blacks!) it only makes it better. I just have to say even my mom who is a kiwi herself didn't mind the end when South Africa beats New Zealand, it was that good. Go see it.
So there you have it, my favorites from 2009. What are yours?
Monday, January 4, 2010
I'm taking down all of the Christmas decorations today and I have to be honest, for the first time ever, I'm not so sad about it. I sent 2009 into the past with gusto, I have to say I'm glad it's gone; 2009 was one of the most challenging and humbling years of my life, and I wont miss it. I love the blank slate that a new year can provide you, even if it is just in my imagination that all things from the past year are gone or ended, it's nice to know there is a marking point where things can come to a close and there's that fresh hope of a new year and what it may bring. I thought 2009 would bring a lot of good changes for me, and it did bring changes and maybe one day I'll look back on this time and think that they were good changes but while I'm still in the thick of it, it's hard to see it that way. I do have high hopes for 2010 though, I have good feelings that big things are going to happen in my life that will boost me forward, which is a very good thing, and I look forward to it.
Looking back there were a few things (products, movies, music etc) I discovered that I wanted to share with you that made 2009 just a wee bit easier to handle.
I discovered a few products that I decided I love and will continue to use:
Bath and Body works is not a place I usually shop, I find I go in there once in a blue moon get so annoyed with all the smelly products I want to buy but know I will never use that I end up just leaving. However, I had a gift card that someone gave me just sitting in my wallet from ages ago and since they have that new aromatherapy line I went in to check it out. I got this conditioner as a bonus product for free with what I had purchased and I LOVE it. It makes my hair so soft and shiny which is hard to do with my hair. I like it so much I only use it occasionally for fear I will run out of it and then have to go back for more. But seriously, this stuff is surprisingly great, and it comes in a few different scents.
While I'm still on hair, I found this Moroccan oil for hair that I use every day after I get out of the shower. It smells great and it helps smooth out coarse poofy hair like mine making it easier to work with, strengthens weak brittle hair and makes in shiny and contributes to overall healthier looking hair. Something we all could use a little help with, with all the coloring and straightening and blow drying we do.
The hippy in me is telling you all to seriously start using this soap. Dr. Bronners castille soap smells so good, and a little really goes a long way. Instead of using regular shower gel or regular soap which all run out very quickly with this just a few drops on a loofah is all you need. It comes in a million different scents, my favorite are the peppermint and lavender. I heard it even comes in rose, which I havent tried but I bet is lovely. You can find it at your local co-op, sometimes Trader Joes, and I've even seen it once in a while at CVS drug stores. Go out and get it, I promise you wont be sorry. You can even re-use the bottle by taking it to your local co-op and refilling it right in the store. Good for you cause it wont dry out your skin and good for the environment reducing your amount of waste a little at a time.
I get bags under my eyes, like big ones. Like ones I could pack clothes into when I go on trips. I think it's my pre-med days still trying to get me back and probably has a lot to do with my allergies and bad caffeine habit. I've tried a lot of "under eye care" products and clinique has the best one for the most reasonable price. It still follows along with the whole "a little goes a long way" business. I put it on in the morning before I do my makeup and at night with my regular skin care routine just a dab under each eye will do the trick. It helps, and it's worth it so I don't look like an 85 year old woman at 25. I don't think any of us would mind a little face lift when it comes to our makeup routine. I've been doing the same makeup routine since I don't know when but it works for me. Sometimes though I get bored with it and when I want to add a little spice to the mix I wear this lipstick. It's called watermelon and you can find it at Clinique. It's reasonably priced compared to other makeup counters in your local department stores. I went to Lancome first looking for a fun lipstick I could wear on nights out, then went 2 counters down and got the basically the same color for half the price as Lancome was asking. It stays on all night, you don't have to keep applying it, something I can appreciate. It's not something I would wear every day but I didn't want a red I wanted a color not everyone would wear all the time. And it makes me feel French and seductive, something we might all appreciate on days when we're not feeling so pretty.
This week I'm going to post on things I found or used in 2009 that I actually realy liked and want to pass on to all of you. What are some of your favorite products and items you use that you love? You can't keep them all to yourself you know.
I hope everyone has a wonderful new year and embraces the hope and excitement that a blank slate can bring.