Anniversary Installment, Part II
Seeing as this anniversary is a first, I thought it would be appropriate to share two other firsts that happened to me.
Two days ago, I attempted to make my first actual dish from scratch ever, which required baking. That's already a plan for disaster. I mean, I've fried rice and stir-fried vegetables etc., but nothing from an actual recipe. It was a bit spur of the moment and a little too late I realized I had no measuring tools: no teaspoons, no cups. I don't have much cooking experience and no one else was home (brother doesn't count) so I could hardly even guess how much 1/4 tsp of salt was, 1/8 tsp of baking soda, 6 tbsp butter, and 1 3/4 flour was. It was really all guesswork. And I was kind of scared about the monster I created. I burned myself on the elbow too. I spent FOREVER on this asparagus tart and it didn't turn out too bad. I mean, the crust was kind of unedible. But for my first try, it wasn't too bad. Hey, I've burned ready-to-bake cookies. Plus, my mother said it looked pretty (as far as asparagus tarts go, I guess).
The other first that happened this year was, along with it being my first year of college, it was the first year I got to decorate my dorm room. Halfway into packing, with two friends keeping me company, I realized I should have taken a picture of my dorm room! So by then, I had pretty much moved the furniture out, unplugged all decorative lighting, etc. I still had the walls though...so I thought I'd share that with you. It's the poor college student's wallpaper. You can see my collection of guys kind of fizzled (you should've seen my roommate's). Oh, and that hand is my friend's hand holding up this paper star light I got from Urban Outfitters, but I unplugged it so I told her to stand on my bed and pretend it was still there. haha :)
Have you ever had that shopping experience where you're absolutely satisfied with the purchase you have made? Of course you have...I hope. It's like a new experience- a great find, with the perfect design, the perfect price, and you have nothing else like it. You walk out the store with the goofiest smile on your face that you can't wipe off even when bystanders give you funny looks and your own mom says skeptically, "What's wrong with you? Did something happen?"
Yes. That's "the feeling". I mean, hey, I've been satisfied with purchases, but only on certain occasions does a huge mega-watt smile branch out on my face to the point where I start to get embarassed about it.
So who is the lucky little guy you say? The Kate Spade skimmer flat. sigh. I went into a Kate Spade store in Princeton more than a week ago (for fun of course) to hide from the unbelievably forceful winds, and these bright red canvas flats totally caught my eye. And of course, being the savvy one that I am, I took a stealthy look at the sole: they were on sale for $42- marked down from $60. I don't know why, but that seems a lot more expensive to me right now. hm...I hope this isn't a forbearance of buyer's regret, since I really like them...
Anyhow, the girl who worked there said that the shoes ran 1/2 a size large. I'm an 8 so she brought out a 7 1/2. They were out of reds in 8 anyway, but she also took out an 8 in khaki. Of course, the khaki was beautiful too. I was having trouble deciding so I asked for her opinion. She said the khaki and red were actually the only two colors she bought for herself. And I think I might've debated for like 15 minutes, slipping them on and off. The 8 was a little roomier to me but I really liked the red... and it still fit, so I bought them.
And that was my first kate spade experience ever so I thought I would share it.
The shoe is called the Hayley sneaker. They're on sale at katespade.com and neimanmarcus.com. I looked everywhere but I couldn't find any red ones online. [CORRECTION: Zappos.com is now carrying red ones] However, Footnotes Online and The Shoe Salon have khaki.
The other leather-free pieces that kate spade has are, I believe, her "classic nylon" collection and the canvas kate coal and bright publicolor totes [but I would double check before purchasing]. They're all very crisp and practical, and 25% of the publicolor tote's proceeds are donated to the organization Publicolor which "engages at-risk students by empowering them to transform their schools and communities." (katespade.com) They come in blue and pink but only the blue is available online.
A lot of her accessories are leather-free too (her umbrellas are so bright and fun), her summer clothes are sweet, and as always, her paper products have a certain smart whimsy to them. There's also this "behind the curtain" section they have which is very interesting:
Not to mention, those Riley boots...
Next order of business is Shellys. They make some of the most beautiful flats. period. whether or not you wear leather.
I first saw Shellys of London flats at the Urban Outfitters in Costa Mesa. In one word, they're charming. They had some of the best quilted capped toe ballet flats, and subtle shimmery rosy gold and midnight blue flats. They were very comfortable as well, though I would recommend an arch support inset (like any other flat).
[urbn.com] enter AWESOMER at checkout for additional 10% off
Their site, www.shellys.com, is real easy to navigate as well. They have symbols which show which styles have leather, fabric, etc. However, unless you live in or around the UK, you cannot buy from the site.
All these US sites sell Shellys:
A while ago I mentioned the handbag line Matt & Nat.
After the semester ended early mid-May (actually checked my grades yesterday and I'm very happy with them), I thought I should treat myself to one their bags, and I had my eye set on a bag from last fall, the black Wright bag. My aunt (who I sometimes stay with in SoCal) and I actually went to the Humanitaire store in Costa Mesa, the same day I saw those Shellys flats, to inquire about whether they had that specific bag. They didn't! Darn! And for the following week I called up at least like 10 different places which didn't have it. Figures, since it was from last fall and it was wildly popular. I had my eye on the Wright bag ever since I saw it on Luna Boston early spring. They was a 20% off discount too, which just goes to show you should never dilly dally too long when you really want something.
However, their spring line is really cute as well. I especially like the bags that come in baby blue, canary yellow, and white. They have a very soft look.
[mattandnat.com styles: turkish, bond street]
When I was at Humanitaire, I decided I might as well buy the Matt & Nat Jorja Bag because I really don't like making too much of a hassle over a certain item- it's very draining. And besides, I liked that style. However, just as I was picking up the Jorja with dark linen and apple green trim (they had two colors in stock), another asian girl was purchasing it. And I don't know why, but that kind of spoiled it for me because it just didn't feel very...individual anymore. Since, I'm asian, and I was thinking of purchasing it as well. If that made any sense.
But Jorja comes in around 5 different colors and it's absolutely gorgeous. The first time I saw it I was in a small boutique near my college and my favorite color was the dark linen with dark brown pleather trim. I've seen Matt & Nat bags in person, and no matter which style you get, you're definitely getting quality. Some of them even feel like real leather (not the Jorja though).
You can check where they retail near you at www.mattandnat.com
Speaking of bags, there's this handbag line called Deux Lux. They have a large amount of non-leather bags. It's based in Los Angeles and recently they've split into two lines, Deux Lux and 2 Lux- the latter of which is completely animal-friendly and better priced. Figures, since they say their "downtown offices bustle with the friends, family, and canines" that make up their operation. They have some very nice styles in a variety of colors.
I really like their cream and peach ones. Quite a few of them are on sale on their website as well. My favorite has got to be the large wrinkled carryall. It looks like a large piece of toffee. or fudge. in 3 different flavors. I mean, colors.
Sorry, I'm a sucker for anything that reminds me of sweets. The only fragrances I feel an innate bond to are the ones which smell like food. Not much of a floral or musk girl.
Sites that carry:
Sites that carry (on sale):
cessasaval [under 2 Lux]
So, what do you get when you cross a seasoned make-up artist with a cruelty-free lifestyle? Okay, I don't really expect you to guess. But the answer is Natalie Dean's line of ethical - and really fancy- shoes: Beyond Skin. They are "committed to promoting a cruelty-free lifestyle and a percentage from every pair of shoes sold will go to a selection of ethical charities, which can be nominated on this website." (beyondskin.co.uk)
They are a very sustainable company. From the About Us section:
"Beyond Skin has produced a classic - yet unique - collection of vegetarian/vegan shoes that are produced in a manner that is non-exploitative to animals or humans and - wherever possible - the greater environment."
"Wherever possible, Beyond Skin is committed to sourcing the most eco-friendly, natural fabric alternatives. Every attempt will be made to stay as informed as possible of more natural, organic fabrics as they are developed and become more available on the market. Our packaging is produced using materials from a sustainable source and all our promotional material is printed on recycled paper using soya based inks.
Our footwear is made from a variety of man-made materials. We have a selection of different fabrics ranging from sumptuous satins and soft suedes, to organic cottons and each season will see the introduction of new materials.
Our satins are made from polyester rather than viscose as viscose has a far greater impact on the environment as it's processed with huge amounts of acid chemicals. Much of the waste from production is dumped into rivers which severely damages entire ecosystems.
Our synthetic leathers are made from cotton-backed polyurethane. PU (polyurethane) looks like PVC leatherette, but unlike PVC it's much kinder to the environment. PVC contains chlorine, a toxic chemical which produces dioxin during its manufacturing process and has been linked in numerous studies to estrogen-mimicking chemicals and additives that cause asthma. PU provides all of the glamour of PVC but without harming our environment to this extent.
Which is worse PU or leather?
Turning animal hides into leather is an energy intensive and polluting practice. The tanning process of leather is highly toxic and has a devastating environmental impact. Leather goes through an intensive chemical process which produces highly toxic industrial waste. In terms of disposal you'd think that leather products would be biodegradable, but the tanning agent renders it non biodegradable. 25% of land surface is used for grazing livestock. This land would be better used to grow trees for timber, fuel, fruit and vegetables as a third of our land suffers desertification through the clearing of forests for grazing. Farm animals produce a huge amount of waste which leaches into the ground and surface water. This pollutes wells and rivers and is a contributor to global warming. Although not ideal environmentally, PU is clearly the less of two evils." (beyondskin.co.uk)
Couldn't have put it better.
If you haven't heard of this line, you've been in the lurch. They've been worn by the likes of Natalie Portman and Sadie Frost. They're quite pricey, but you don't expect much less when every shoe is handmade in the UK.
And, like said, every single style is available in a plethora of materials, fabrics, and trims that the customer can pick.
Right now they have an exclusive, made-to-order, luxury label called Sui Generis. Their S/S 07 line is absolutely gorgeous. It's "inspired by delicate vintage design and features a unique collection of quintessentially chic and classic styles which come in a variety of stunning colours and luxurious fabrics."(beyondskin.co.uk) They use a lot of vintage fabrics and only make a few pairs from each fabric.
Now that this site's first anniversary has passed (and I've just passed the 40 posts mark!), for the future I'm hoping to get in more interviews with indie jewelry designers, get the posts categorized so it's easier to navigate past material, include more on certain issues and easy things you guys can do to help- at least every other article, and try to get a Q & A section started (if there's enough interest?).
And that's all folks. Oh, and the next post will be Sales. Just to give you a heads up. ;)