Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Voodoo Magic

I love these little string voodoo dolls ($10-$12). I bought a ninja voodoo baby a couple years ago that hangs from my rear view mirror of my car. They come in a variety of models (including some cute ones just released for Halloween) and new ones come out all the time.

Each doll comes with special powers to protect, bring good fortune or punish others. They make great gifts and stocking stuffers and can be used as key chains or hook to a purse or backpack.

What I didn't realize was the history and controversy surrounding these little dolls! There are a variety of companies selling them and all of them claim to be the original version.

If my internet research is to be believed the dolls apparently originated in Northern Thailand. These dolls are called Saan Ha dolls and there are a handful of companies that appear to distribute these same dolls including Charm Voodoo (North America), Voodoo Baby (North America) and Kamibashi (Canada). I need to do some more digging to confirm this information. If anyone has info to the contrary please let me know!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Great Ginger Beer Tasting

I love all things ginger. So, this week I decided to sample all of the different ginger beers at the local market in the hopes of finding one that really captured ginger flavor the best. I have to say there is a huge variety in ginger beers that I never knew existed. Strength of the ginger flavor varies, as does sweetness, and effervescence.
Since this blog focuses on the positive I won't go through the ginger beers I would not recommend. Instead I'll cut right to the chase. And the winner is...[drum roll]

Bundaberg Ginger Beer

This Australian Ginger Beer is the clear winner in this taste challenge. The cleanest and strongest ginger flavor with real chunks of ginger inside. Just the right amount of sweetness and carbonation. Love the bottle shape and the pull tap cap too! Would be great in a cocktail with a little rum and lime.

Yes, it Works!

In August I blogged about the Duct Tape Dress form. Well, I finally got around to trying it and am thrilled with the results. It takes about 4 rolls of duct tape per dress form and then about 3 or 4 big bags of pillow stuffing to fill the form. The duct tape really does hold the exact body shape. Be careful not to compress the bodice too much.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Prep School Charm

Blazer
I love this double breasted blazer with gold buttons ($128) from Aqua. In a wool/rayon blend, this jacket has the look of the school uniform with a great fitted cut. Available from Bloomingdales.

Blouse

This emerald green tie-neck silk blouse from Juicy Couture ($198)is embellished with a mallard duck print. Reminds me of a skirt I was obsessed about in 1985! Available from Bloomingdales.

Velvet Loafers
Not your average loafers! These Pan E Tulipani pumps ($297) have preppy stying in a luscious green velvet. With a velvet covered 2 3/4" heel. Available from zappos.com.
Rainbow Loafers

The patent leather Air Penny Moc from Cole Haan ($170) is the perfect complement to a tailored pair of trousers and they come in a crayon-box inspired range of colors. Love the red, but they also come in chocolate brown, purple, dark green, and blue. Available from zappos.com.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Girl Pop

A Little Bit

I cannot get this sugary pop song out of my head from the Swedish singer Lykke Li. Definitely an artist to watch.



Barefoot Tonight

Wish I was still doing Karate because it would be great to do a demonstration kata to this track from from DJ and dance music artist Miss Kittin. Great track to listen to while getting ready to go out!



Comme si de rien n'├ętait

On a completely different note, Carla Bruni, the sultry French chanteuse and third wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, has a new album out. Love the folky, low-key French tunes and her husky voice. Here's a small sample of the track, "La Jeunesse".


Thursday, October 16, 2008

I'm a Little Tea Pot

Winter is coming and it's a good time to curl up with a cup of tea and a good book. I have had one of those $9.99 teapots from the drugstore store for years, but it's starting to leak, so I thought I would look for something a little bit nicer. Here's a few of my favorites.

Le Creuset

I just bought one of these whistling tea kettles from Le Creuset ($64.99). This tea kettle comes in so many great colors it was hard to choose. I finally settled on "Flame", although "Kiwi" was very tempting as well. Love the shape and durable construction. Available from cooking.com (among other places).


Chantal Tea Ball

I love the shape of this Chantal Tea Ball kettle ($50) which looks like an English tea pot. Available in polished silver or yellow, blue, red or green enamel. Available from TeaMerchants.com.

Staub Tea Pot

This enamaled cast iron design from Staub emulates the look of a Japanese tea pot ($120). This teapot includes a removable infusion ball and stainless steel handle that hold the lid in place. Available in matte black, basil (pictured) and grenadine. Staub enameled cast iron cookware is favored by professional chefs. A sand mold is made for each piece, and the manufacturing process takes an entire day just to create one piece. Available from Sur La Table.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Old School

Transport

This metal library book cart ($288) would make a great t.v. stand or portable bar. Best of all it comes in a variety of bright colors--blueberry, mint, clementine, forest green and purple to name a few. Available from modernns.com.


Wake Up

Available in a variety of cool colors, this retro styled moonbeam clock ($39.50) wakes you first with a gentle illuminating light before sounding the alarm. Available from LL Bean.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pet Stuff

Charms

Protect your fur-baby with these cute "Santitas Do Brazil"charms ($22) that attach to your pet's collar. Each charm includes a St. Francis of Assisi charm (protector of animals) and a silver charm of your choice. Available from Ravinstyle.

Charlybox

This canteen-like box is a compact carrier for your pet’s food and water. Made of two halves, the Charlybox ($60) includes a two-liter canteen for fresh water, and two bowls for water and kibble. Snap the two halves together and set out for a day with your dog. When it’s time for a snack, separate the halves and fill one of the bowls with water from the canteen. The second bowl can be used for storing and serving kibble. Available from Design Within Reach.


Sock Monkey

This sock monkey dog toy ($10.99) is made from durable "sock" material with the requisite squeaker inside. Measures approximately 10" in length. Available from retailpets.com (and many other places online).

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Science Class

Cocktail Glasses

I love the idea in this month's Martha Stewart Living of using lab glassware to serve cocktails. This would be great idea for a Halloween party. Mix-up a brightly colored cocktails and serve with a contrasting colored straw. Stardard grade 250ml flasks from Carolina Lab supply just $3.95/each.

Chemex Coffee Maker

The Chemex coffeemaker was invented by Peter J. Schlumbohm, Ph.D., in 1941. It has been selected by the Illinois Institute of Technology as one of the 100 best designed products of modern times. I have not tried it, but supposedly you can brew very strong coffee without the bitterness. The glass construction does not absorb odors or flavors. This 8-cup model is $37.90.

Modern Sea Monkeys
This self-sustaining ecosystem contains plants, live shrimp, algae and microorganisms within a hand-blown glass sphere ($89). It requires only indirect light and moderate temperatures, and offers hours of fascinating viewing. Each EcoSphere comes with a handbook that explains how it works and how to care for it. Average lifespan is 2-3 years.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Making a List

I know it's only October, but it doesn't hurt to start thinking about Christmas gifts now. Here's a few ideas that I've collected recently that if nothing else may end up on my own Christmas list!

Slippers

These Red Felted Wool Slippers ($59) are made from New Zealand wool that molds to the exact contours of your feet. Even better they are handmade in Nepal by a group of women supported by the UN Global Compact program for social responsibility. Available from Viva Terra.


Buddha Bowl

Designed to nestle with perfect comfort in the palm of your hand, the Buddha bowl ($28) allows you to enjoy tea, soup, cereal, and hot cocoa with ease. Slip your thumb through the hole and seat the bowl in your hand for easy sipping. Also available from Viva Terra.

Poco Dolce

These Aztec Chile tiles from San Francisco chocolatier Poco Dolce will warm up the most chilly winter night. Each chocolate is flavored with cinnamon, ground chiles, roasted pumpkin seeds and topped with grey sea salt. The heat of the chile hits you a few seconds after you swallow and the combination of savory and sweet is out of this world. $18 for an 8-piece box.

Silk Shawl

This Jamowar silk and wool shawl from India is available from the Fair Trade collective Ten Thousand Villages which provides an outlet for craftspeople from around the world to sell their wares. Keep warm in style and improve the lives of Indian artisans. ($125).