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Apr 27th
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Obsessive Beauty

Lovely Lex

Lovely Lex

We’ve got a crush. On a bag. A purse. A carryall. Whatever you want to call it. It’s so pretty it makes us blush. Meet the Couture Pleated Purse by Lex Designs. We’ve written about its designer, Alexis Meschi, in the past, and gushed about her impressive frocks, but this time around, we’re smitten with her trio of cream, blue, and pink purses. The Couture Pleated Purse is priced at $240—but for a hand-made, stunning design, what else do you expect? We’re talking gorgeous here. Clearly, we’re obsessed. The roomy bag is four-inches deep, 13-inches tall and 19-inches wide. We’ve seen it in person and our favorite is the pale pink, with its rows of pleats and origami style flower attached to it. In any color, this originally designed bag goes with any outfit. Dress up jeans and a T-shirt, take it with you for a spirited shopping trip to the city, or use it to spruce up your evening attire. This bag is for the fashionista who clearly has something to say (and plenty of stuff to carry).


Couture Pleated Purse, $240, by Lex Designs, available at http://www.etsy.com/shop/lexm, or at Stripe, 107 Walnut Avenue, Santa Cruz, stripedesigngroup.com, 421-9252

The Ticker

UCSC Student Receives $10,000 to Help Improve Nigerian Healthcare System

Evelyn Castle, a third-year health science major at UC Santa Cruz, has been awarded a $10,000 scholarship by the Strauss Foundation to support her work improving the healthcare system of Nigeria. Last year, Castle spent three months helping create Nigeria’s first electronic medical records system, providing both physicians and policy makers with up-to-date information on patients and procedures. With the scholarship, she plans to return for six months and expand the electric EMR system to seven general hospitals and five primary healthcare centers—creating a network of healthcare information sharing and a database that will help NGO’s and policy-makers respond to critical public health needs.

Obsessive Beauty

Closet Envy

Closet Envy

For those of us blessed with ultra fashionable sisters, we have the luxury of raiding said sisters’ closets to obtain the latest apparel and accessories trends without spending a dime. I am always envious of my lovely little sister’s careless chic, looking as though she just stepped out of a bohemian café in the 6th Arrondissement in Paris, yet always managing to retain a touch of that glam California girl in her style portfolio. For those of you lacking in the sister department, Cameron Marks boutique on the Westside is a close second choice.

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The Ticker

Cabrillo Event Advocates for Fair Tuition

Amidst the drastic increase in student fees, loss in teachers, classes, and whole departments, Assemblymember Alberto Torrico (D-Fremont) has a plan to revive public higher education. At a press conference at Cabrillo College on Thursday, May 20, Torrico discussed his proposal for AB 656, the Fair Share for Fair Tuition Act. The bill will create a 12.5 percent oil severance tax on oil companies, which will raise $2 billion a year to fund higher education. “Californians are fed up with the status quo that has us spending more money on prisons than on all three higher education systems combined,” said Torrico. So far, more than 75,000 fed up Californians have registered their support for the bill.
Obsessive Beauty

Dear Creatures

Dear Creatures

An open letter to fashionistas: Dear ones, we’ve recently become obsessed with the modern, stylish, clean lines and creative designs of indie label Dear Creatures. Owning their garments is our most recent addiction and obsession. Put on one of these frocks and you’ll no doubt feel lovely and inspired. Maybe you’ll take up painting, enroll in singing classes, or begin that novel you’ve always been longing to write. There’s something about the garments by Dear Creatures that stirs up creativity and makes you feel like a fashionable, free spirit. While hordes of designers are turning over new creations in the race to make it in the challenging fashion industry, this line of clothing stands out from the rest with its daring vision and completely original pieces that are enticing to women. You can pair any striking blouse with a pair of jeans of your choice and some sweet flats or heels, and you’ll be quite the eye-catcher. Our favorites?

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CultureBeat

The Heroic Age

The Heroic Age

This is a big week for the house of ideas with Marvel kicking out the first issue in their biggest event so far this year: "Age of Heroes." A series that sets out to wipe the darkened slate from the last several years of violent, harder edged crossovers and shed a little light back in their universe. Bringing together the creative writing team of Kurt Busiek (awesome), Rick Remender (dunno), Paul Cornell (ditto), and Dan Slott (LOVE him) as well as several top notch artists, I'd be lying if I said I had no interest in the book. I know that Marvel has been hit and miss for a while now, but I still have fond memories of those incredibly fun giant-sized issues (no Man-Thing jokes, please) rolled up in my back pocket as a kid and this whole new take appears to be a return to comics that aren't taking themselves so seriously. Always welcome in my opinion.

So is this Marvel's answer to DC's lightening up of its titles with "Brightest Day" after their remarkably bleak, Blackest Night series? Personally, I feel like the softening up might have something to do with the company's recent acquisition by Disney - In any case it's nice to see a return made by both companies to the type of stories that made comics so great to read back before the industry went all grim 'n gritty in the mid-eighties. In the words of Dan Slot: "Fun is not a dirty word anymore." Sounds great to me. Check out the other releases here.

Mind & Body

Love Handles

Love Handles

Reader’s Request: I have a little jiggle around the middle. Can you suggest some exercises that I could do to tone up my abs?

Ah, yes, the love handles. I think most people feel as though they could tighten and tone that area. And as we gain weight around our middle, our rate for type 2 diabetes and other weight-onset diseases increase. It’s important to work on this area for our health reasons alone, not including the “muffin-top” that can pop up over our jeans.

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The Ticker

The Curious Case of Hemp

The first Hemp History Week began on May 17 with a slew of events across the nation—and a few in Santa Cruz—aimed at educating people on the deep roots of hemp in American history and the stigmas the useful crop faces in modern times. Participants are sending postcards to the president asking him to legalize hemp, which became illegal to grow in the United States starting with the Marihuana Tax Act that passed in 1937. To learn more about the history of hemp and to hear how Santa Cruz celebrated the week, read the full story at goodtimessantacruz.com in the Fresh Dirt Blog section. Visit hemphistoryweek.com for more information about Hemp History Week. 

Obsessive Beauty

Skin Deep

Skin DeepI’ve tried every skin care product out there, from the pricey and unimpressive to drug store brands, and everything in between. I’ve got oily, sensitive, sometimes combination, occasionally acne-prone, and soon-to-be maturing skin. It’s a real blast. One day I’ve got a zit, another day flaky skin, a fine line here, an age spot there. For years, my skin has looked like a mess. In my search for the perfect solution to my skin care concerns, I finally stumbled upon what has been my across-the-board cure-all—Mario Badescu. Since using the brand full-time for the last four months, my cystic acne has ceased, my whiteheads are few and far between, my dry patches took a hike and even the small fine lines around my eyes seem to be on hiatus. I found a skincare line that works—and it works wonders. (By the way, no one is paying me to write this review. I’m speaking purely from my own experience.)
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CultureBeat

If You Play It, They Won’t Just Come

If You Play It, They Won’t Just Come

Tips on how to avoid playing to an empty room
If I could summarize exactly how to sell out every show in Santa Cruz, I would be writing this blog from my yacht in Spain, instead of at this faux wood desk. People with brains much bigger than mine spend their entire careers trying to figure out exactly what motivates someone to go from observer to consumer, from seeing the concert poster to buying the ticket.

The blessing and the curse is that there is no secret formula. Filling the room is a predicament shared by musicians big and small, so consider yourself in very good company.

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We Can Rebuild You

A look back at how downtown Santa Cruz recovered from the 1989 earthquake

 

International Earth Day—Mother Earth Day

Every April 22, humanity celebrates International Mother Earth Day and Earth Day. As more than a billion people participate in Earth Day activities every year, Earth Day has become the world’s largest civic observance. The massive concern to build right relations between humanity and the living being we call Earth is evidence of humanity’s love of the Mother. In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed April 22 International Mother Earth Day, with a significant resolution affirming “the interdependence existing among human beings, other living species (the kingdoms—mineral, plant, animal and human) and the planet itself, the Earth which we all inhabit.” The Earth is our home. Celebrating Earth Day helps us define new emerging processes (economic, social, political) focused on the well-being of the kingdoms. Through these, humanity seeks to raise the quality of life, foster equality and begin to establish right relations with the Earth. We dedicate ourselves to bringing forth balance and a relationship of harmony with all of nature. Learn about planting a billion trees (the Canopy Project); participate in 1.5 billion acts of green. Disassociation (toward Earth) is no longer viable. We lose our connection to life itself. Participation is viable—an anchor, refuge and service for all of life on Earth. Visit earthday.org; harmonywithnatureun.org; and un.org/en/events/motherearthday for more information. From Farmers Almanac, “On Earth Day, enjoy the tonic of fresh air, contact with the soil, companionship with nature! Go barefooted. Walk through woods, find wildflowers and green moss. Remain outside, no matter the weather!” Nature, Earth’s most balanced kingdom, heals us. The New Group of World Servers is preparing for the May 3 Wesak Buddha Taurus solar festival. We prepare through asking for and offering forgiveness. Forgiveness purifies and like nature, heals.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Mission Critical

How reading Lisa Jensen’s reviews taught me to love film
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Oral Fixations

Blown away by a Tuesday night dinner at Oswald

 

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Hydrogen-gas cars that are coming this summer. Scott Oliver, Santa Cruz, Professor

 

Sarah’s Vineyard

Sarah’s Vineyard of Gilroy is known for crafting fine wines—and one of my all-time favorites is its Chardonnay. But this time, its Viognier has my vote.

 

Munch

East Coast meets West Coast in new meat lover’s paradise