Friday, March 30, 2007

The Therapy of Short Hair: Short Bob- No Prob.

With Victoria Beckham, Naomi Campbell, and Eva Longoria having had gotten the bob cut, and girls of "Young Hollywood" sporting such a cut, I know there's a few people out there who have cut, are considering, or will be cutting their hair in the warm summer months to come- in the style of a short bob.

A few weeks ago I got a bob-like cut myself-- though definitely not because of the "new" "Hollywood hairtrend." It had been something I had been thinking of for a long time- trying to get the right hairdresser to perfect the cut exactly the way I pictured it- this attempt was deemed unsuccessful a month into school when I decided to cut off all my long illustrious black hair (joke, it's a joke), and then I decided to go for it again recently- vowing not to completely trust the hairdresser and to guide her to what I wanted specifically (which didn't work out the first time). This was kind of important since it was a cut I kind of just came up with and I didn't see it anywhere on people or in magazines- which is a bit strange since it's just a well...slight (in my eyes) variation on a bob and angled cut.

I don't know why, but I seem to always prefer extremes- short or long. Besides, short hair will be medium anyway when it grows out, of course. ; )

Now, I have to say something...I actually think women look better with long hair over short hair. Just in general. It's just my personal opinion overall. As long as it's styled correctly. But I love having short hair. There is this certain thing about cutting your hair short (meaning it doesn't touch your shoulders) that makes one feel very refreshed and wonderful and oh- the recognition that you don't have to use nearly as much shampoo as you used to.

Three years ago I was in Taiwan and I decided (well my grandmother kept pressuring me) to cut my hair off at the place next door. I was always under the misconception that to have very very short even-bob-like hair was a bit boyish. But I found that not only did I really enjoy the feeling and "experience" of a short haircut, I loved how it did look a little boyish- especially when I put on my wifebeater/tank, it made me feel tough, as silly as that sounds. Strong almost, fierce- powerful, even- to be able to pull it off. I don't mean to be corny but it was a feeling I hadn't ever experienced before. But it wasn't as tomboyish as it was cute. And it made me feel kind of...mysterious? Taiwan that summer was all about girly girls on TV with long, flowy, wavy-curly hair. And they all looked the same. Anyway, my cut made me feel like I don't know...Jennifer Garner on Alias or some covert agent- however laughable that may seem. ;)

I went for this particular drastic angled-bob cut look because I wanted to have that same shortness in the back- especially with the onslaught of summer- but maintain my at-the-time-current, decently long hair in the front as to keep that feminine look.

I tried- though I didn't do a very good job at it- to white out my face so the shape of the cut can be seen better.

So here's the thing- if you want to get a bob- any type of bob- there are certain clothes that one should definitely go for. This is because I feel that a good haircut is almost like a trademark- just like a signature jewelry piece that one wears often, is. And a hairstyle can change the way your whole outfit looks. It's like a piece of clothing that you wear all the time- to which you need to find complementary shapes, looks, etc.

[keep in mind these are all just ideas-- the items with a * contain silk or hair of other animals]

Clicking on the pictures leads to the sites they came from.

1. Tanks
--Racerbacks and Wifebeaters and Printed Tanks especially.

In order: Vince Racerback Tank, C & C Printed Tank, and Scarlett Hearts RBK Racerback Tank


2. "Bubble" balloon-hemmed tops (especially sleeveless)
-- which flow away from the body but fold under so that there's more volume on the bottom. [btw- mostly all of these are on sale on their respective sites]




3. Cropped Jackets [but not severely]
--same reason as above-- so that it flows away from the body.

4. Wide Collars
--Portrait-like collars. Wideset. Your neck appears more slender and it frames your face and cut.


5. Certain small, special, feminine details.
--aka lace, eyelet, piping etc.



6. Bright Vibrant Bold Colors
--Like the tone of these Reds!


It's even better when there are items that incorporate multiples on the list, including the following- like this Norma Kamali racerback-bubble-hemmed-tank-dress (whew):



[ (it's a racerback as well!)]

My Abaete flats (from the last entry- read it! There's a 20% coupon) which I bought today ;) for $16.

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Not Gone

I am not dead. I have a major chemistry test. I have so many things to update on though and not enough time!

check back on...Thursday? :)

For the time being I found some great deals you might want to jump on...

All dresses from (love the heart print dress!)

Betsey Johnson Heart Print Dress $140 [only medium]
Plenty Velvet Minidress $99 [only size 2]
Jill Stuart "Francine" dress $99 [only left in size 6-- however this dress would tend to suit bustier women anyway]

Edressme normally has a lot of good deals in the sale area-- but they're gone quickly! There was the cutest metallic jacquard Anna Sui dress I saw a week ago but it's already gone now. Plus, I'm sure if you just google-- you can probably find a coupon code somewhere.

Also...the spring Abaete for Payless line is out. Keep in mind...Abaete is quite quite expensive outside of Payless and an amazing line in itself. Her dresses on edressme are in the $300s. Her Payless shoes are quite tasteful and comfortable actually with of course- no animal skins. These shoes also show up in her actual runway collection. And online-- her past collections have run out very quickly (especially the handbags).

Regarding the actual shoes-- it seems to be all about black & white and cutouts (I've been into cutouts and laser-cut details as of recently as well).

Here is a really really great deal that I'm going to take advantage of myself... this coupon also applies online (you type in the code 20709 they mention at the bottom during checkout) and it expires on the 31st (March). It's 20% off all regular items (which I'm pretty sure includes Abate) and Payless automatically has free shipping. Meaning that the Ana Maria Flat goes from $20 to $16. It can't get better than that.

Also, in approximately 3 days and 7 hours, Canada's annual seal hunt will begin once again. It's the largest slaughter of marine mammals on Earth and more than a million seals- including baby seals- have been killed because of the demand for their fur during the last few years. Not to mention, there are repercussions on the ecosystem. It just seems so be bludgeoned with picks for skin. I wish I had more time to rant.

You can do your small part to help by just taking a minute to sign these three things- a pledge, a petition, and a letter to Minister Emerson:

To the Canadian Minister of International Trade:

Staying up late enough as it is. Peace and <3

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Not your Grandma's Kinda Jewelry

You know what annoys me about jewelry? Boring jewelry. Generic jewelry. Plain jewelry. Fancy jewelry, serious jewelry, fine jewelry? Please, I'll take fun over fine any day. Sure, it's nice to have a few pricey fine jewelry pieces, but unique, atypical, singular, and fresh- and of course, styling- is where it's at, honestly.

Through the magic powers of Etsy, I have found the epitome of jewelers with a fresh and personalized take on jewelry in Bethany Cooper (and affordable for us normal folks).

I actually came upon her designs last year at about this time. I fell in love with this necklace:

However, of course, the leather cord and carved bone bunny couldn't really float with me. I knew she did some custom work-- she makes pendants as well as jewelry pieces-- so I asked her if she could make me a piece similar to that, but with certain adjustments (the materials used, a lighter wood, etc.). She completely understood and told me "I haven't managed to kick my animal products habit yet, so I really admire people who have."
She was very pleasant to talk with but alas, her supplier had run out of those types of turquoise-colored nuggets and I really liked them... 8 months later, I still remembered that necklace. There's this thing...sometimes there are items, or looks, certain pieces of art that just resonate with you that you will keep in mind for a long long time. Like for me: Salvatore Ferragammo kitten-heeled rainboots, a Jill Stuart short trench coat, a lemon Rebecca Taylor coat with leopard-print trim, the makeup Lucy Liu was wearing on the first issue of JANE magazine and uh...more other stuff. You always remember things you like...a lot.

So I got to thinking about how I would really like a custom jewelry piece for my 18th birthday and contacted her again to see if she happened to have those beads in stock again. She showed me two options-- I should have gone with the other option since it seems that those were more 3-D rather than flat-- but alas, there are negative aspects of the internet sometimes and you can't really see what something really looks like until it's right in front of you. But that's just a risk you have to take.

We had more correspondance and deliberation-- and me giving input at times-- almost annoyingly ;)-- she had orginally put a few freshwater pearls but I asked if she could replace them with another option because I felt like I would feel a bit uncomfortable. Why? (explanation from

A pearl is an ulcer that is formed when an irritant, such as a parasite, enters an oyster, who responds by coating it with nacre (a crystalline substance that gives pearls their luster). Stress is what prompts an oyster to secrete nacre (just like stress creates human ulcers).

Because pearls naturally form in only one in 10,000 oysters and because the creation of a pearl can take up to three years, pearl-makers have devised a process called "culturing," or cultivating, that allows them to exploit oysters faster and cheaper.

Culturing involves surgically opening each oyster shell and inserting an irritant in the oyster. Freshwater pearls are cultured by inserting another oyster’s mantle tissue. Saltwater pearls have beads and another oyster’s mollusk tissue inserted. Fewer than half of the oysters may survive this process.

Cultivators further stress the oysters by suspending them in water in a cage, washing their shells, moving them around in different waters, and raising and lowering their cages to subject them to changing water temperatures.

After the pearls are extracted from the oysters, one-third of oysters are "recycled" and put through the culturing process again. The others are killed and discarded.

For those concerned about the environment, there is another reason to avoid pearls. Aquaculture has contributed to destruction of natural pearl oyster beds from pollution and overharvesting.

She said she didn't know of how exactly pearls are obtained but then again, not many people do seem to know of that. After all, they are living creatures.

Anyhow, the end product was this:

Yes, pretty different from the original, and in person, but still, amazingly handcrafted and a gorgeous piece in itself.

There's just something about custom jewelry in general and especially Bethany Cooper's fresh interpretation of jewelry. I think that's the best gift you could give to someone you love, a personalized (not just inscribed) piece that you had an active say in making. It's very reassuring to have a piece that's not mass-marketed and is individual to yourself and personality.

She was kind and wonderful enough to let me feature her on here :)

An Interview:

G: When/How did you get started jewelry-making? What made you start in this specific crafty-arena?

B: I have always been divided between music and arts and crafts. Growing up I studied painting and drawing; then at Hampshire College and at the University of Illinois, I got degrees in music composition and theory. While I studied music, I occasionally had periods of craftiness --collage books, sewing, a long period of making puppets (I liked the miniature aspect of them-- that foreshadows the beading obsession!).

When I finally got my doctorate, I needed a break from the academic music world (women are unfortunately still a rarity there). I realized I no longer wanted that career, a hard thing to accept after all that time; I felt pretty lost.

One day just a couple of years ago I felt bored and wanted to do something creative, but all the art equipment was set up in our cold, awful basement. My husband said, "Isn't there something small you could bring upstairs to work on?" I remembered this box of beads I had been collecting since I was a kid, and decided to grab it and play--and within days, I was totally hooked on making jewelry (and my bead collection started to grow to the massive size it is today)!

I think many people who make jewelry eventually wish they could make their own components and beads so they could have more control over the design; that's what led me to working with polymer clay, then precious metal clay, and fusing glass pendants. My early art training has really helped me learn those crafts.

G: What role does jewelry play in your life? What does jewelry mean for you, personally?

B: At this point jewelry plays a huge role in my life; I work on it for many hours every day, seven days a week, and I study constantly to get better at my craft. I teach some writing classes part time at the University to bring in additional income, but since I've had so much more success selling my work than I expected, I will probably phase the teaching job out eventually. I love that jewelry is small and personal; it has such an incredibly rich history all over the world, and I often meet people who have some jewelry they treasure for much more than its aesthetic beauty. Jewelry can be a token, a talisman, a symbol--at its best it seems to hold personal meaning for the owner.

G: Is there anything you're currently obsessed with--themes you're playing with to incorporate into your designs?

B: I am a big nature-lover so I tend [to] lean heavily on natural themes and images. Trees and leaves are a recurrent theme, and animals; I have been working on pendant designs of manatees, owlets, fruitbats, meerkats, and my very favorite is the capybara.

G: For the beginning jeweler: what advice would you give (where to find a good supplier, or any book you recommend, etc..)?

B: My advice for the beginning jeweler is, head to the public library! There are so many wonderful books available that make it easy to learn how to make jewelry. It's a great craft because you can start out make beautiful pieces with very simple techniques, and then learn more advanced techniques as you go. Lark Publishing puts out gorgeous books full of inspiration and practical advice. There are also tons of great, easy-to-find websites that teach jewelry-making.

G: What is the one jewelry tool you couldn't live without?

B: I love tools, so this is a tough one! My fancy little jewelry-maker's kiln is my prized possession (I use it for glass and precious metal clay). But the most important tools for bead jewelry designers are pliers (chain-nose, round nose, and wire-cutters). You can get high quality, ergonomic tools without breaking the bank, and quality of the pliers definitely makes a difference in how the finished work comes out.

She doesn't need me to say it, but she is extremely talented and professional. She acutally also makes fine jewelry-- but it's definitely not your mom or grandma's type of fine jewelry.

Some of my favorite pieces- currently for sale:

[All photos from Btw, Love the skull bracelet! So original]

You can purchase items through her own or

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