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Sep 04th
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Obsessive Beauty

Level 99 Wren Trouser

Level 99 Wren TrouserFor a girl with a Kim Kardashian-sized rear end, finding a flattering pair of pants can be a struggle. But no longer. Recently, I took a jaunt down the street to my neighborhood store, Stripe (Stripedesigngroup.com), where I do a fair amount of shopping. The staff knows me quite well by now, to the point that I can walk in the door and they'll hit the racks, pulling out things they know I'll like. And every time, they're right. It's so impressive, that I swear they know my measurements—they know exactly what styles I'm drawn to, and precisely how something will fit my body. They also know that I have a lot of junk in my trunk, so to speak. (My words, not theirs.) So when I stopped by Stripe recently, the staff confidently pulled a pair of black pants off the rack and insisted that I try them on "just for fun." There was that knowing smile they had. And once I put on the Level 99 Wren Trousers ($88), I knew why they were smiling. Until that day, I had never found a pair of pants that fit my curves so carefully and attractively. Soft, with a linen feel, the pants are wide-leg to streamline curvy hips, and they have been exquisitely constructed to boost up the rear end. Perfect pants? Absolutely. I ended up buying two pairs—one in black, and one in khaki/brown. Sure, I spent a ton of money, but as any woman with curves knows, once you find a dreamy  pair of pants, you always buy two pairs.

The Level 99 Wren Trouser sells at Stripe, 107 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz, Stripedesigngroup.com.
CultureBeat

Black and Blue

Black and Blue

Tips on how to book a show at the Blue Lagoon
In a world where e-mails go unanswered and phone calls never get returned, local bands can find a kindred spirit in Blue Lagoon booker Cory Atkinson. Coming up through the ranks with his own band, Atkinson is all too familiar with the trials of booking a tour and the heartbreak of playing an empty room. He works hard to respect bands, and let’s face it; you can’t say that about everyone.

Recently celebrating their thirtieth anniversary, the Blue Lagoon is a Santa Cruz institution. Booking live shows for the past five years, local bands can represent on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights. A cavernous space, the entire bar can hold upwards of 400, but the band room is considered sold out at 250. On a typical Wednesday night, everybody is happy with 50 people in the room. Local bands can hone their craft midweek and work their way up to a weekend slot.

A practitioner of the ancient art of “show trading,” Atkinson often plays matchmaker, pairing a local Santa Cruz band with a decent following, with an up and coming San Francisco band. The idea is that the out of town band gets some local exposure, and if all goes well will return the favor by bringing the hometown band up to the city where they have the larger draw. When balanced correctly, this scenario encourages a win/win with the bands and the club.

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The Ticker

Gulf Report

Gulf Report

On the night of the Fourth of July, I flew into New Orleans.  I watched from above as fireworks sailed from below into the sky to celebrate Independence Day. The young man from a small Louisiana coastal town sitting next to me said "I've never seen fireworks from above." "Me neither."

"I've never been on a plane before this either," he added.
A few hours later I was back in the sky, this time flying above a different kind of fireworks. The kind that mourn our dependence. Our small Cessna traced the coast of Louisiana and Mississippi, documenting the flow of oil and tar balls onto islands, wetlands, mangroves, beaches and the inadequacy of the bright yellow and orange booms floating here and there and more often than not, beachcast and twisted by the wind and waves.

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Mind & Body

The Midwestern Health Diet

The Midwestern Health Diet

I grew up in the heart of the Midwest and so did my taste buds.  Church potlucks with scalloped potatoes, tuna casserole, and jello salad were my idea of a good time.  My mom was an excellent (and healthy) cook, but leading the charge in the snack food category was my unreasonably thin father.  He followed the farming tradition of eating a big lunch (called “dinner”) and having a light “supper” or, his preference, none at all.  To this day his favorite meal in the evening consists of popcorn--and I’m talking GALLONS of it—popped, these days, in canola oil with plenty of salt and sliced apples and cheddar cheese neatly arranged on top.  He should be a representative for the Stir Crazy corporation as he has run through probably thirty of their poppers in his lifetime.

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The Ticker

Healthcare for Dummies

Shopping for healthcare can be a daunting process, one filled with complicated jargon, intricate ins and outs, and the looming feeling that one could be signing their life away. In the advent of health insurance reform, healthcare.gov, a comprehensive, user-friendly website was launched on July 1 to help consumers navigate the healthcare system. With more than two billion scenarios, more than 1,000 insurance carriers, and 5,500 insurance products listed in their database, consumers are presented with an easily digestible list of more healthcare options than they could have previously imagined. “This site will expand transparency, it will increase choice and it will foster competition among insurers,” says Rep. Sam Farr (D-Carmel). “It’s a powerful tool and we have the health insurance reform law to thank for it.” ÿ

CultureBeat

Joshua Tree

Joshua TreeWe have been on the road for almost 6 weeks now and last night as we were driving through Joshua Tree, having just left the Joshua Tree State Park the transmission on our bus blows a gasket on Route 62 at about 5:30pm. We were about 30 yards from the Safari Motel where we limped into the parking lot, leaking the last amount of transmission fluid that we had onboard. After checking into, another, once again, cheap motel we stood by our broken vehicle and there alongside highway 62 was a sign that read “Transmission work, call Hector”. Although, it took us a few hours, we called Hector. Hector happened to live and work just an 1/8th of a mile up the road from the Safari Motel.
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The Ticker

Healthcare for Dummies

Shopping for healthcare can be a daunting process, one filled with complicated jargon, intricate ins and outs, and the looming feeling that one could be signing their life away. In the advent of health insurance reform, Healthcare.gov, a comprehensive, user-friendly website was launched today to help consumers navigate the healthcare system. With more than two billion scenarios, over 1,000 insurance carriers, and 5,500 insurance products listed in their database, consumers are presented with an easily digestible list of more healthcare options than they could have previously imagined. “This site will expand transparency, it will increase choice and it will foster competition among insurers,” said Congressman Sam Farr (D-Carmel). “It’s a powerful tool and we have the health insurance reform law to thank for it.”

The Ticker

Love Gutter

Love GutterLocal band challenges Unreasonably Disturbing Noises Ordinance
If you haven’t seen Love Gutter, you’ve probably heard them pounding away on their homemade barrel drum in front of New Leaf at the corner of Soquel and Pacific Avenues. For six years, street performers Brent Adams and Wireless have attempted to provide a heart-thumping soundtrack to downtown life amidst the slew of heavily enforced noise ordinances. Wednesday, the duo prepared to brave the waves of law enforcement officials and play their music anyway, as a means of objecting to what they perceive as the unfair use of the Unreasonably Disturbing Noises Ordinance. “Any kind of art that is frustrated by law or injustice, isn’t pure art,” says Wireless, who drums on kitchen pots using gardening gloves with safety pins at the fingertips. While the two are well versed in the ordinances and know they can only play for an hour in certain places and only at certain times, a single complaint about Love Gutter can cost them a $450 ticket.
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The Ticker

Star Spangled Beach Cleanup

When the hot dogs have long since been grilled and the fireworks have died down, our local beaches are left with a big, ugly reminder of the Fourth of July: insurmountable amounts of trash. That’s why Save Our Shores and other sponsors like The Clean Ocean Project are hosting the Star Spangled Beach Cleanup on July 5—a mammoth cleanup effort where Cruzans can really show their stars and stripes by keeping the county’s sand and sea trash-free. Volunteers are needed from 7 to 10 a.m. at Twin Lakes, Seacliff/Rio Del Mar, Seabright, Davenport, and Panther beaches. Last year, 150 volunteers armed with 1,200 trash and recycle bags participated in cleaning the five beaches. With their help, and that of state park maintenance and Green Waste crews throughout the following week, a total of 12,500 pounds of trash was collected from the beaches (they amassed 14,000 pounds in 2007).

Obsessive Beauty

A Chocolate Lover’s Dream

A Chocolate Lover’s Dream

If you happen to find yourself on Broome Street the next time you visit NYC (as Christa and I did on our Big Apple adventure last month), a stop at Marie Belle New York is an absolute must. This delectable confectionary and tea boutique houses what may be the most toothsome and tantalizing candies east of the Mississippi. Upon entering the aromatic space, your senses will go into immediate overdrive. Combine the scent of chocolate, a delicate robin’s egg blue and chocolate brown color palette and an ambiance replete with stained glass, chandeliers and dark wood and you’ll have the sudden feeling that you have stepped straight into the pages of an Edith Wharton novel.

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You Are What You Post

Online personality algorithms put astrological profiles to shame, but UCSC psychologists are raising questions about sharing personal data

 

Venus Direct, Mercury Retro Soon, Honoring Our Labors

As Burning Man (nine days, Aug. 30-Sept. 7 in the sign of Virgo) burns in the hot white desert sands, a petal of the rose created by retrograde Venus and the twelve-petaled Sun in Virgo’s petals unfold. All of us are on the burning ground (Leo) in the womb (cave of the heart) of the mother (Virgo), gestating for humanity once again (each year) a new state of consciousness. Both Virgo and Cancer, feminine (receptive energies) signs, are from our last solar system (Pleiades). When humanity first appeared on Earth we were nurtured by the mother, a matriarchy of energies (on islands in the Pacific). Eve, Isis and Mary are part of the lineages of our ancient Mother. Overseen by the Pleiades, the Earth (matter, mater, the mother) in that last solar system was imbued with intelligence (Ray 3). As we move toward autumn, another mother, Ceres realizes she has mere weeks left with her beloved daughter, Persephone. Persimmon and pomegranate trees prepare for autumn, their colors signs of hope as the light each day continues to dim. Sunday, Venus in Leo turns stationary direct, yet continues in her shadow until Oct. 9 (when retrograde Mercury turns direct). Slowly our newly assessed values emerge from the Venus retrograde. We thought in Venus retro how to use our resources more effectively. Mercury retrogrades Sept. 17. Monday is Labor Day. Let us honor the labor of everyone, all life a “labor.” Let us honor Labor Day and all those who have “served” (labored for) us this past year. We honor their labors. We honor the labor of our parents, those who have loved us. We honor our own labors, too. We are all in service, we are all laboring. We are all valuable.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of September 4

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Sushi Garden

Local sushi empire expands to Scotts Valley

 

Do you overshare online?

I don’t think so. I just post things about my life, like successful things. Sometimes I just like sharing different news that I find interesting, or favorite artists, clothes, music. I like to post photos. Natalia Delgado, Santa Cruz, Server

 

McIntyre Vineyards

I recently met up with three friends for dinner at Sanderlings at Seascape Beach Resort. We chose to eat outside so we could watch the sun set over the ocean, but the Aptos fog rolled in and swallowed it up.

 

Sustainable Supper

The Homeless Garden Project’s Sustain Supper series supports its award-winning programs