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Sep 21st
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Obsessive Beauty

Blogs - Obsessive Beauty

Flip Flops

Flip FlopsLove ’em or hate ’em? I’m curious to hear from readers what you think about flip flops, since it’s summer time and everyone’s wearing them. Me? I think they’re awful. Absolutely ugly. Who wants to look at toes?
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Blogs - Obsessive Beauty

Lemon Liftoff Top

Lemon Liftoff Top

If I had $118 to blow right now, this is where I’d spend it—on Anthropologie’s Lemon Liftoff Top, a blouse with a big, fat bow, and small owl designs on the shirt. It’s remarkably adorable with puffy sleeves and a flattering cut. Pair it with jeans and contrasting bright heels. Or, if you dare, take a look at the image online at Anthropologie.com and tell us new sewers how to do a knock off of this design. Granted, we’d have to give up the yellow owl print, but for $20 we could probably make this shirt. If only we knew how. Fashionistas and seamstresses out there—can you give us the scoop? Say we have a simple button up shirt pattern. What’s the best way to alter it to make this shirt? Weigh in here with your thoughts on Obsessive Beauty.

Blogs - Obsessive Beauty

Cozy Couch

Cozy Couch

If you’ve ever bought a piece of furniture from IKEA, you well know that you get what you pay for. In my case—I bought a $100 white couch. I was so enamored by the price and cute style, that I didn’t ever check to see if there was a slip cover for it that I could replace or even wash for that matter. There wasn’t. And now, a few years later, well, let’s just say the couch isn’t really white anymore. I’ve scrubbed and scrubbed to get dirt off it, and the dirt just won’t budge. It’s time to buy another sofa—another cheap sofa. I’m pretty reluctant to take the IKEA route again, so I found what I think is a great and affordable alternative. MUJI is a Japanese-inspired store that I came across in New York. It features spare, modern designs in furniture, housewares and more. What I’m eyeing right now is the “Compact Sofa Light Grey,” which really looks more like a cream color. And it has a slipcover that you can remove and wash. The size is compact but perfect for two people and it has a sleek aesthetic. Price: $327.50. muji.us/store/furniture.

Blogs - Obsessive Beauty

Bathing Beauty

Bathing Beauty

It’s that time of year. (Unfortunately.) And for curvy girls, this time of year just doesn’t feel fair—waif-like women flaunt their skinny legs and cavort around the beach, while us thick legged, full hipped ladies try to cover everything up. Well, curvy fashionistas, it’s time we change and join in on the fun, and look quite stylish while doing so. I have found the perfect bathing suit. This one covers up your tummy and tucks in your tush, while at the same time serving up a very stylish look. Find this swimsuit on sale now at Anthropologie.com or for full price at Nanettelepore.com.

Blogs - Obsessive Beauty

In Bloom

In Bloom

During a recent shopping trip just down the street in Santa Cruz, to Wallflower Boutique, I noticed a stunning patch of wallpaper that literally “makes” this store what it is (besides the cute clothes and charming accessories). Wallpaper can do that—absolutely change the visuals of a room, and give it character. Such is the case with this Anthropologie “Paeonia Wallpaper,” which sells for $148 a roll. Sure, it’s expensive, but simply wallpapering your home or workspace is a lot more cost effective than buying all new furniture. Try pairing it with grey curtains (find them cheap at IKEA), or a navy colored rug. Either way, stay in “bloom” with this wallpaper.

Blogs - Obsessive Beauty

Serendipity

SerendipityI’ve been trying to perk up my boring Greek yogurt these days. People say it’s fine plain, but I really can’t stand it. The protein count, however, really makes it worth it. But I needed to spice it up a little, so I went over my local health food store and found a jar of Serendipity Saucy Spreads. I chose Boysenberry (without sugar). Agave Nectar is added to sweeten it up, and at 26 calories per tablespoon, neither a calorie or sugar coma awaited me. The result—I turned my bland yogurt into something that tasted like boysenberry pie filling. Fantastic. Sure, the price is a little higher than the average grocery store brand, but those sorts of jams are loaded with gobs of sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Serendipity Saucy Spreads, on the other hand, are made by a mother and daughter team here in Santa Cruz, and boast all natural ingredients. Check them out: serendipityspreads.com.
Blogs - Obsessive Beauty

Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink

I’ve been obsessing over this 3-D Flower Mesh Jumper top in the color “Blossom” for quite sometime now. It sells for $88 at American Apparel and comes in one size only. It’s sort of like a sweatshirt/blouse combo, in an exquisite hue, with a soft texture. This is really a one-of-a-kind top. You can pair it with pretty much anything, but because it cuts off just at the waist, you need to be comfortable not covering up the junk in your trunk. Can’t afford to fork over the $88 to buy it from American Apparel? Try making your own version. Obsessive Beauty is currently taking sewing classes at Judy’s Sewing Center in Capitola, and in a few months (after we’ve learned quite a few more skills), we’re hoping to re-create this divine frock. You can pick up a similar type of fabric at Harts Fabric in mid-town: http://www.hartsfabric.com/rosettes-fashion-fabric61255.html. Harts has a black version of this rosette fabric currently in stock. The white and pink versions are on back order and are supposed to arrive sometime this summer.

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Blogs - Obsessive Beauty

Diamond Days

Diamond DaysScandinavian designer, Lotta Jansdotter, has done it again with her new(ish) line of purses, totes, and small pencil bags. This one is our favorite. With cascading lines of mustard yellow colored diamonds, it’s made out of linen, with an inner pocket and leather straps. Sized 13-inches by 14-inches, it has plenty of room to work as a day bag for your trek around the city. It’s stylish, innovative, and offers a design and color that will genuinely go with anything. If you haven’t discovered Jansdotter yet, now’s the time—her website, Jansdotter.com offers a series of original products created by this writer and artist, who, interestingly enough, years ago attended Cabrillo College. Jansdotter is a sweetheart, and an inspiration. Her books teach crafters how to make their own projects. If you’re ever in Brooklyn, you have to stop by her studio/store to pick up fabric scrap bags, stationary and much more. Each time I’ve been there (three times so far), I have plunked down a nice chunk of cash and came out with a load of fun new things and projects to start working on.
Blogs - Obsessive Beauty

Telling Time

Telling TimeWe’ve written about her in the pages of Good Times before, but Terry McInerney is still getting an A+ in our grade book for creating fine leather goods. Take this $45 brown leather cuff watch, for example. Suited for a variety of wrist shapes, these watches come in a slew of leather options, and faces. McInerney can custom order your vision of a cuff watch, or you can order one straight from her Etsy shop (Nualaleather). Timeless, classic, rustic, charming and über stylish, these timepieces are a must-have. I’ve been eyeing them for over a year now and should probably just call her up and custom order one for myself. Also on her Etsy page is another Obsessive Beauty favorite—a cuff with a broach attached to it—whimsical and fashionable, and perfect for the upcoming fall season.
Blogs - Obsessive Beauty

Kaight

Kaight

I had always wanted to meet Kaight—an eco-boutique in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. During a recent trip to the Big Apple, I finally had a chance to visit, and the store is indeed worthy of the press that it has received. With an enormous selection of Melissa Plastic Dreams shoes (my favorite), and environmentally friendly (but still stylish) clothing and accessories, it’s one of those stores where you could easily drop a bunch of money. Even if you don’t have dough to burn, but you’re visiting Manhattan, take a stop at this little boutique. It’s edited beautifully, and even if you leave with nothing, you’ll at least take with you some fashionable inspiration and a new look at the word “green.” Kaightshop.com.

 
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Catwalk on the Wild Side

Meet the artists and designers behind this year’s edition of FashionART, SantaCruz’s most outrageous fashion show

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past

 

The Peace Equation

Sunday is the United Nations’ International Day of Peace, a global peace-building day when nations, leaders, governments, communities and individuals are invited to end conflict, cease hostilities, creat 24 hours of non-violence and promote goodwill. Monday is Autumn equinox as the Sun enters Libra (right relations with all of life). The Soul Year now begins. We work in the dark part of the year (Persephone underground) preparing for the new light of winter solstice. Tuesday to Wednesday is the Virgo new moon festival. We know two things about peace. “The absence of war does not signify peace.” And “Peace is an ongoing process.” In its peace-building emphasis, the UNIDP, through education, attempts to create a “culture of peace, understanding and tolerance”. Esoterically we are reminded of the peace equation: “Intentions for goodwill (and acting upon this intention) create right relations with all earth’s kingdoms which create (the ongoing process of) peace on earth.” At noon on Sunday, in all time zones, millions of participating groups will observe a moment of silence for peace on earth. Bells will ring, candles will be lit, and doves released as the New Group of World Servers recite the Great Invocation (humanity’s mantram of direction). To connect with others around the world see www.cultureofpeace.org    Let us join together with the mother (Virgo). Goodwill to all, let peace prevail on earth. The dove is the symbol for the day.
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Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Santa Clara Wine Trail

My memories of growing up in England include my mother pouring port after Sunday dinner—and sometimes a glass of sherry before dinner. My family didn’t drink much wine back then, but we certainly made up for it with the port and sherry.