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· The Weekend Blogger: Supima fever
· The Weekend Blogger: Close a door, open a window
· The Weekend Blogger: Bit o' honey
· The Weekend Blogger: Happy 4th of July!
· The Weekend Blogger: Bit of hauling
· The Weekend Blogger: Mixed bag
· The Weekend Blogger: A bit of randomness
· The Weekend Blogger: Foot Petals preliminary review
· The Weekend Blogger: Back to work
· The Weekend Blogger: This, that and the other
· The Weekend Blogger: Back to work
· The Weekend Blogger: Foot Petal ruminations
· Just Notes: The Weekend Blogger
· August 3, 2008 11:10 PM by Dain
· July 26, 2008 11:36 PM by Dain
· July 5, 2008 4:18 AM by Perfumeshrine
· July 8, 2008 11:34 AM by Colleen Shirazi
· June 29, 2008 12:08 AM by Dain
· June 29, 2008 2:20 PM by Colleen Shirazi
· June 22, 2008 8:38 PM by Dain
· June 7, 2008 3:12 AM by Dain
· May 27, 2008 4:06 AM by Dain
· May 27, 2008 4:28 PM by Colleen Shirazi
· May 27, 2008 11:21 PM by Colleen Shirazi
· May 24, 2008 1:31 PM by Dain
· May 24, 2008 4:11 PM by Colleen Shirazi
· May 25, 2008 5:45 PM by Joy Rothke
· May 26, 2008 3:42 AM by Dain
· May 26, 2008 3:57 PM by Colleen Shirazi
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The Weekend Blogger: Supima fever
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Sunday, August 03, 2008 1:09 PM (Eastern)
I'm becoming intrigued by Supima cotton.
Mind you, I'd never heard of Supima until a few days ago, when I came across it in a clothing catalogue. At first I thought Supima was a patented type of cotton, but it's not:
Founded in 1954, Supima is the promotional organization of the American Pima cotton growers. The Board of Directors of this non-profit organization is composed of Pima growers from the states of Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. All members pay a voluntary per bale assessment to support Supima's marketing and promotional activities.
Supima's primary objective is to promote the increased consumption of American Pima cotton around the world. Supima is a major sponsor of research programs to improve the quality of American Pima. Supima also works closely with cotton industry organizations and government agencies to ensure a fair and viable marketing environment for American Pima cotton growers. Supima also provides timely crop and market information to its grower-members and licensees.
At the core of Supima's promotional activities is a licensing program in which select, high-quality textile mills, apparel and textile manufacturers, and retailers are granted a license to use the Supima® trademark. Licensees use the Supima® trademark to market and promote their textile, home fashion and apparel products made of 100% American Pima cotton. Over 300-fine count textile mills, manufacturers and retailers from around the world are licensed to use the Supima® brand.
In order to promote its awareness of the Supima® brand, Supima advertises in both consumer and trade publications. Additionally, Supima staff members regularly make presentations to customers both in the U.S. and abroad. To the extent possible, Supima staff personally visit major fine-count textile mills in locations around the world. Supima regularly participates in major international home fashion and apparel exhibitions and events.
Okay, I was going to bust this down to a bite-sized blogger blurb, but I think it's interesting. One of my chief complaints about clothing which doesn't cost hundreds of dollars, after all, is poor material. Not poor construction, which I can fix myself in ten minutes with a needle and thread. Shoddy material, you can do nothing about; you simply watch in horror as your clothing dissolves in less than a year.
Is Supima licensed cotton better?
Scanning their merchant list, I see the familiar Brooks Brothers and Land's End. Not listed is Eddie Bauer, where I first stumbled across the Supima reference.
I will say a word about my small obsession with made in the U.S.A. products (or in this case, grown in the U.S.A.). I don't think it translates to people who don't remember when Americans...manufactured, when we made stuff.
I don't propose we return to that era; the cost would be prohibitive for certain things, it wouldn't make sense. But we've been far too quick to throw out every kind of manufacturing, to not give our own citizens something to do.
On a more personal level, my own industry, software engineering, went out the same window as all the rest, the making of shoes, steel, of...dishes, of major appliances, of everything. Pure consumption is not the same thing as production. It's not only the dignity of earning a paycheck, it...kills your brain, if all you do is consume. When you make something, you have to make the decisions...the materials and sourcing them, the design and engineering, the actual process of fabrication.
We've lost that, we have become incredibly impatient as a nation, because all we do now is buy, which takes less than a minute.
Hence I have taken an interest in whatever is made here. It's a personal thing, it's based on my budget, and I'll emphasize it's hardly altruistic. I live here. If there's some small way I can support whatever people are up to here, I'm in.
The Weekend Blogger: Close a door, open a window
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, July 26, 2008 11:06 PM (Eastern)
Hm, there's nothing quite so magical as the hour of 5, post meridian, on a Friday. Eyes begin to sparkle, steps wax lively; there is harmony of motion, towards the elevators, towards the street, towards mass transit.
So, what have I been up to? There are masses of summer sales going on right now, just when you're being mauled by the exorbitant prices of gas, health care, water (I kid you not; after years of pissing rain around here, our municipal utility district has the nerve to cry "water shortage"), rice ($20 a bag at Costco for the good stuff), oh, what else...it's cheaper to be a cocaine addict than to be an ordinary citizen.
Hence, the extraordinary summer sales. No one has cash to spend, so, logically, retail has to cut prices or else sit on their summer merchandise. Banana Republic, The Gap, J.Crew, Eddie Bauer, Land's End...those are the obvious ones...now have prices comparable to those of way crappy stores. Like any other good sales, you have to dig, and the sizes do tend to run from extra small to small, then jump straight to extra extra large, and the white blouses tend to be, in the words of Lloyd Cole (ask your mother)...gone, gone, gone, pretty gone.
I had this cute number in my cart today:
...a bit stunned at finding a nice-looking white top at a good price. It's rayon, not the cotton I was seeking--The Gap has some nice white cotton blouses on sale right now, but not the ones I want in the right sizes--and it is sleeveless, which is okay I suppose.
I had this number in the cart along with some stuff from their 30% off sale. The latter are not clearance items, so all the sizes are there. Plus it's a flat $7 shipping. Plus you can use the same $7 for purchases across The Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Piperlime.
It's all been a bit of a shock.
Take this yellow dress:
Isn't it nice? I'm talking about for someone who isn't twenty years old. Pima cotton/modal rayon/spandex, machine wash, that sweet detail of tiny ruffles at the hem. It's really pretty darn decent.
I went to Eddie Bauer recently and got this...creamy...pima cotton tank top, with all the details: smaller arm-holes, so you don't get "side boob"; slightly higher neck, wider straps, longer length with these teeny side vents. Lovely light yellow (a killer clothing color for blondes) and a light aquamarine blue--for $10 each. The same price for dreary tank tops at Target, which don't cover bra straps, don't conceal "the vault," straps fall down, et cetera, et cetera.
That's probably it for clothes shopping for me, until cooler weather sets in. What I'd like next entails boots, possibly shoes...more planning involved. I'll likely tap the outlets in Napa for those.
The Weekend Blogger: Bit o' honey
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, July 18, 2008 11:45 PM (Eastern)
An Earnest Sewn Co.'s invitation to A NEW HIVE
...An art installation inspired by the worldwide en masse disappearance of honeybees
by Derrick R. Cruz of Black Sheep and Prodigal Sons
Proceeds from A NEW HIVE support the establishment of beehives in public gardens, educational programs focusing on the importance of bees and the art of beekeeping, as well as research for the development of sustainable beekeeping practices.
I've often commended the labor of bees (but then I ponder the engineering of spiders). What you see is the honey, and it's simple, and you eat it. But how many bees travelled how many miles to gather nectar from hundreds of flowers, to alchemize said nectar into what you see. I prefer honey to sugar, myself.
What I've been up to...
Not much else to add; I may go to a bead show this weekend, although I'm not sure.
The Weekend Blogger: Happy 4th of July!
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, July 04, 2008 10:04 PM (Eastern)
You'll really like this song.
Now that I've rejoined the 9-to-5 culture, I can admit this holiday has become, well, okay, a paid holiday, yet it is still Independence Day of course, and let it ever remain the magnificent celebration it is.
I hate to finish on a sour note, but I've run out of things to say.
Have a great holiday!
The Weekend Blogger: Bit of hauling
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, June 28, 2008 11:47 PM (Eastern)
I shop rather strategically now; long gone are the days of carefree middle-class browsing. An item is either astronomically expensive, requiring months, even years, of planning to acquire, or else it tends to be junk, worth less than the space it occupies. It's truly an art to figure out where to shop, and to emerge with something of value, without blowing half a week's paycheck over it.
This time I went to a b & m bead shop, something I don't do often anymore. But sometimes it's worth the markup to be able to choose individual beads, particularly for earrings. I got some carnelian and some jade beads. I had this odd impulse to make red earrings, and I've wanted for some time to use green jade for something.
On to our local health food store, where I repurchased Dr. Hauschka Cleansing Cream. Normally the price would have been a tad appalling, but I tried this out first as a sample, loved it, bought a full sized tube, found it lasted five months and noticeably improved my acne-prone skin. I felt it was a good purchase.
On a bit of an impulse, I also bought a Zia pressed powder compact. I'm almost out of my traditional MAC Blot pressed, and was planning on the trek out to the MAC counter to repurchase it, but if this stuff works, I'd rather buy it instead. I've long fallen out of love with MAC in general, so the Back to MAC isn't much of an incentive to me anymore, plus the customer service at our local MAC Counter isn't much of an encouragement to go there. The first two ingredients listed are mica and cornstarch. I've used Zia liquid foundation for years, to make tinted sunscreen, so I'm fairly optimistic about the powder prospect.
Finally, I picked up Avalon Organics Lavender shampoo, since I had run out of their Lemon Clarifying one. The Lavender is more moisturizing, but then I often use two shampoos anyway--a little tea tree oil shampoo on my scalp (Giovanni, but I'm thinking of trying the Paul Mitchell one when that runs out), and a different one on the rest of my hair (it's not as complicated as it sounds, just slap on a bit of one and a bit of the other, and lather).
The Weekend Blogger: Mixed bag
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Sunday, June 22, 2008 2:38 AM (Eastern)
A photo tour of Iran...the music is killer
I suspect I have nothing cohesive to say, so have elected to use a bullet list.
Have a good one!
The Weekend Blogger: A bit of randomness
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Sunday, June 08, 2008 11:55 PM (Eastern)
Sitting here in my newly Foot Petal'd shoes--the model at the bottom:
I ended up using both the Heavenly Heelz and Haute Heelz for this pair (the other two didn't need 'Petaling nearly as much). I'm glad I didn't stick the Haute Heelz, because for one shoe (apparently my feet aren't exactly the same), the Heavenly Heelz wouldn't have done it. The Haute Heel lifts your heel up a bit, which is good when you have a rubbing-at-back-of-heel thing...but I pushed the Haute Heel back more in this shoe, so it not only lifts slightly, but also covers the entire back-of-heel area (I jacked the Haute Heel up right under the Heavenly Heel).
I'm saving the Tip Toes...I could cut them up and use them for the other shoes--there's a slight heel issue with those...but the issue is not bandaid-worthy, so I have it in mind to try higher heels later on, and use the Tip Toes then.
Got to make some earrings and a pendant. The pendant is a carved lotus in a light green, slightly yellow stone (I don't remember now if it's prehnite or "green gold"). I made a bail for it on the jump-ring principle--jump rings use tension to work--my next phase will definitely involve soldering.
The earrings...I had the notion of making earrings to look like falling rain. So these use lengths of silver chain, watery green amethyst briolettes, and small faceted aquamarine drops.
Otherwise...mmm...I added another snap to my dress that had shrunk in the wash. The idea was to have at least two snaps placed horizontally, so the inner snap could take most of the stress, while the outer one functioned to cover the inner one. Still it's not a perfect solution, you're still working on an area where there isn't enough fabric (there isn't much extra in the side seams either, so that's out). Eventually it occurred to me to find the most minimizing bra in the closet and go with that. It looks to work, i.e., having a minimizing bra on hand isn't a bad idea.
I'll try to take photos of some of these things later on (I haven't photographed any of my newer jewelry).
The Weekend Blogger: Foot Petals preliminary review
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, June 07, 2008 1:54 AM (Eastern)
My Foot Petals arrived in the mail today. It's best to buy them from the Foot Petals site itself since there are several coupons about (coughretailmenot.comcough). I didn't have time to truly trick out my hurtin' pumps, but I did attach the Heavenly Heelz, and started to play with the Haute Heelz and Tip Toez, erm, Toes (all in Buttercup, as I'm wary of the 'Petals potentially discoloring my stockings).
So far: the Heavenly Heelz have no doubt already paid for themselves. Mind you, these were pumps from hell when I first wore them. I have to walk two city blocks in the morning, the same at the end of my shift; and, in these shoes, this brief walk totaled my heels. Once the Heavenly Heelz were in place...it was like a different pair of shoes.
I'd bought the Haute Heelz on the idea I could cut them up and 'Petal some other shoes, but I tried them out as the bottom-of-heel pads they are, without sticking them...these feel really good. I mean they're only these thin pads, but somehow they genuinely cushion.
Still toying with the Tip Toes. These were the least dramatic of the three for me, because I've had more heel than ball-of-foot issues. The Tip Toes seem a bit trickier to position; with the two Heelz, there's only one way to put them in. I'd advise trying them without sticking for a while to see what works.
The Weekend Blogger: Back to work
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, June 02, 2008 2:04 AM (Eastern)
I fixed the dress which had shrunk enough to gap at the bust; the hook and eye didn't work (impossible to place horizontally without showing, didn't bother trying it vertically). What's better, are snaps. I got some beautiful snaps at Michaels...and nearly got sucked into the "wallet's black hole" of their beading section. Not top drawer beads, but many and varied; almost bought a strand of amazonite (an inexpensive light blue-green Chinese stone residing on my beading wish list). But impulsive bead-buying usually doesn't work nearly as well as planned; you can buy much better amazonite at bead shows, so I passed.
And they had things like German scissors which screamed "Buy me!" I have a pair of German haircutting shears I bought while still in Virginia, in the early 80's, that remained haircutting-sharp for at least twenty years. German scissor-buying impulse purchases can be better than planned ones, but I didn't really need scissors, so...
I can't make much in the way of jewelry until my room gets cleaned out (it's currently functioning as a sort of storage). So I took some tools out, and some stones and wire. Made a couple of bails for two pendants my grandmother had given me. One was Mexican sterling silver and turquoise. When I was a kid, this type of jewelry--sterling silver with a few stones such as the turquoise, coral, or abalone, was always made in Mexico. The other pendant frankly looks like fake turquoise to me, and indeed fake turquoise was pretty common before, but the design is nice.
Also starting fiddling around with earrings--oxidized chain with tourmalines. At first I went for the prosaic combo of blue sapphires and green tourmalines, but it occurred to me...color, is expensive.
By this I don't mean literally; it's not that certain colors cost more to produce. But they can cost more to sell. I was thinking of Dain's American Apparel shirt comment, about the wide range of colors for basic tee shirts, and contrasting with, say, Target's Mossimo shirts. The latter have good quality, but the color choice is so bad. The last time I bought Mossimo tee shirts, I didn't like any of the colors and ended up with white, black, and brown tee shirts.
But Target had probably picked colors that were so generic, they could sell them all, and not have to produce new colors next year (why bother, when this year's hues were so forgettable?). It does make sense in a mass-marketing way.
So...I thought, let's do something different. Let's not do the Mossimo thing, let's be more American Apparel. I ended up with some pink tourmalines...not the hot pink you usually see, but more of a pink with a little orange...and blue-green tourmalines. Not colors I'd normally pair, but somehow they look good together.
Labels: the weekend blogger
The Weekend Blogger: This, that and the other
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, May 31, 2008 2:51 PM (Eastern)
I'm here at home, playing Simon and Garfunkel for my daughter. Home, where my love lies waiting silently for me... Subtly, their songs have entwined my memories more than, say, those of The Beatles (as much as I was crazy about John Lennon when I was a kid). Likely it's the American-ness of their music. Unlike many of my fellow citizens, who swim within the sheer breadth of our country, I've always had the ability to see the U.S. from the outside in. It's never been perfect, but the music is to die for.
I finally placed an order for Foot Petals. Didn't get the black ones; one of the Foot Petals reviews stated Foot Petals had turned the reviewer's pantyhose black. I don't know if it was the black Foot Petals what did it (she didn't say), but why take the chance? I got one set each of Tip Toes, Heavenly Heelz, and Haute Heelz. They look as if you could trim them to fit, so I'm endeavoring to find the most economical way to do it.
Still tinkering around with this piece:
Most of my jewelry has, admittedly a bit surprisingly, worked, at work. This doesn't; the back chalcedony stones are too high to show enough, and the front might lie better with the wire component here:
Planning to do the "tinkering around" part of the weekend today and the laundry part tomorrow (the weather should be sunny on Sunday).
The Weekend Blogger: Back to work
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Tuesday, May 27, 2008 12:34 AM (Eastern)
Dr. Hauschka Lipstick Novum, Novum LipGloss, and lipstick
Being an eternal cheapskate, I went shopping today to replace...a lipstick, Dr. Hauschka #09 Dolce...at Elephant Pharmacy in Berkeley. It's not an inexpensive lipstick, but my old one is now the sheerest sliver, too slight to even apply much of much. (I don't do lip brushes, otherwise I'd dig.) So the price of the lipstick--same as Chanel--didn't faze me.
The most expensive lipstick is typically the one which you don't use up. Not that it's always possible to use up a lipstick. A specialty lipstick, perfect for the occasion, may pay for itself in impact rather than in actual wear. But an everyday lipstick has no such excuse.
While I was there, I swatched TerraNova of Berkeley Pikake lotion. Hm. As much as I like their Pikake cologne, the lotion is only eh to me; my ten-years-old-plus Giò lotion smells quite a bit better.
When did Elephant Pharmacy's customer service deteriorate? I remember when they first opened. And for quite a while, it was cool...the cosmetics section still is cool, but somehow the rest of it makes me feel like ordering online, in the same fashion as our local MAC counter.
Next I replaced my L'Oreal Feria deep conditioner, at Sallys Beauty Supply. And I got some flip flops for my daughter at a shoe store; these were decorated in front with small monkey faces.
Now I'm home, pondering--should I iron, mend, or finish the necklace my daughter designed for me? I don't have enough items to iron this week, only three casual tops and a spare dress. I've tried to engineer my part-new, part-old work wardrobe around not having to iron each week...indeed, I'm still tweaking it to include items which can be dryer-dried rather than line-dried. (Not a problem in spring or summer, but we do get a rainy season.) Drycleaning is out of the question. I asked at a local "green" drycleaners and they quoted me ten dollars for one dress.
The mending is more valuable--one of my dresses shrank when I washed it. I hate shopping online? The measurements should have fit, but ended up just fitting, and washing shrank the dress just enough to make the bust gap. So I hatched a plan to sew a hook and eye to it, rather than opt for the more time-consuming "tiny safety pin solution."
But I'm tired, so I'll probably finish the necklace; it's short only two stones (it's a simple row of small tourmalines).
I never did find Foot Petals Heavenly Heelz locally, so those are slated to be bought online. I may throw in some Tip Toes, but the Killer Kushionz seem, ah, like overkill. It would be a matter of one or the other at any rate. I can admit it's fun tinkering around with shoes, but I am also experimenting, on less expensive shoes, to find potential solutions for more expensive future models.
Until next weekend then.
The Weekend Blogger: Foot Petal ruminations
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Sunday, May 25, 2008 12:08 AM (Eastern)
Do these things work? I still don't know, it being impossible to find a single package of Heavenly Heelz around here. I've given up buying them locally; I'm doomed to order online.
I have seen Tip Toes--the flower-shaped ball-of-foot pads--aplenty...and now, I'm beginning to recall the initial buzz about Foot Petals was for the Tip Toes. The claim was that these would make high-heeled shoes comfortable. Most Net reviews for these concede that was a bit of an exaggeration; the consensus appears they make high-heeled shoes wearable longer, say two to three hours.
Great, but my issue is with the backs of my heels. I did make it out to Berkeley today to try the toe-of-shoe pads...the lady was nice enough to give them to me to try out. They do help, but the heels are still an issue.
Oh, for the days of frantic Internet product reviews! Have you noticed there are fewer and fewer detailed reviews of things online? There's no money in it, granted, but now we're almost back at square one. I did find a review stating Heavenly Heelz made someone's pantyhose turn black. I'm assuming, or hoping, these were the Black Iris Heavenly Heelz only, so I'm planning to try the Buttercup shade myself.
And what about the Killer Kushionz? Someone said she tried the Killer Kushionz (I'm not making these names up, see for yourself) and didn't even need the Heavenly Heelz, which speaks well for the Killer Kushionz I suppose, but only adds to the confusion. None of these products is outright cheap, if you think about it. Killer Kushionz run $12.95 a pair, which certainly puts a bit of a dent in the price of your shoes.
Oh well, I will have worked out something before the (blessedly long) weekend is through. I will have sat down and ordered at least a pair of Buttercup Heavenly Heelz, even having to buy them online, which still seems wasteful, a delivery van trekking all the way out to my home, bearing a pair of U.S.-made pads to stick inside my shoes. Yet--what if they work? What if the shoes, which had felt fine in the shop, transform into the same wearing perfection as the other pair I'd bought? The same effortlessness as my old Cole Haans?
Just Notes: The Weekend Blogger
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, May 24, 2008 1:09 PM (Eastern)
Contemplating trying my hand at a regular feature, titled--surprise!--"The Weekend Blogger." But let's see if I can produce something intelligible on a weekly basis, in the first place.
Shoes. I finally got some shoes, having no choice in the matter: my beloved Cole Haan woven shoes, which I've worn for...ten years? more, no doubt...finally commenced to spring a leak. The uppers are entirely woven, so it would be possible to mend them with E-6000 (or GS Hypo Cement, haven't worked out which would be better), and I haven't actually thrown them away. It would require time and patience to do the repair, and the shoes would need to dry the full 24 hours...I didn't have another pair of shoes on hand, so elected to shelve the project for now and just get some new shoes.
It's impossible to replace the Cole Haans. New Cole Haans, which don't seem nearly as nice as old Cole Haans, are in the nefarious $300 range, at which decent shoes begin these days. I realize our economy is a comedy, and our dollar is in the toilet, but if I wanted to pay $300 for shoes, I would buy U.S. made Cydwoqs--which I am still planning to do, as my next shoe purchase, along with Joy perfume and a Nars eyeshadow (single or duo); something quite neutral.
I ended up with the working-girl's kit--you get some reasonably priced leather shoes, and you stretch them with one of those wooden shoe forms. You don't need a specific stretching device; you can use a plain old wooden form (doesn't have to be your size either). You just have to be careful not to damage the shoes or over-stretch them.
Along with this, Foot Petals...I don't need them for one of the pairs I bought, but the other pair definitely need padding in the heel. I turned down numerous Dr. Scholls made-in-China heel pads because I wanted to try Foot Petals, but they're absurdly hard to find, particularly the heel pads. I found some of the ball-of-foot pads at Shoe Pavilion...on a side note, our local Shoe Pavilion has became a small Indian market, with inexpensive Indian tops and dresses...interesting...hmmm...I'm determined to try authentic Foot Petals, but I'm hoping to find them locally.
So I've been wearing these pre-stretched shoes, and looking for Foot Petals so I can wear the other pair. I'll have to admit they don't have the same pizazz as my old Cole Haans, but they'll do for now, and I've made at least the first pair ridiculously comfortable (they have a small wedge heel).
Skincare. Thinking of ditching Dr. Hauschka Cleansing Cream once it's used up. Its chief attraction was its exfoliating property, but the Salux Beauty Skin Cloth I've been employing is far superior at that. The Cleansing Cream is yet great as a moisturizing cleanser for oily skin, but then their Cleansing Milk is fine for that, and more economical. What sucks is the Cleansing Milk is bottled in glass, rendering it useless for the shower. I suppose I'll think of something when the time comes.