Friday, April 30, 2010

Shoefinder: So Pretty They Hurt

This week's Shoefinder goes out to Tabitha* who will not actually be wearing any of them. This is because she has mean feet that will not let her wear shoes that do not supply excellent comfort and support, and let's face it, that's really not what we specialize in around here.

And, loathe as I am to admit it, sometimes the pretty shoes are not the ones you can comfortably spend the day running up and down stairs in. I will even confess that there have been times when I have gotten home after a triumphant evening in one of my own favorite pairs and felt the need to take them off with less reverence than haste.

Of course, there's more than one way to skin a foot. Flats seem like they should be innocent; after all, they're flat. Feet are supposed to be flat, barring Barbies, it's how they're built. But sometimes, especially in the case of sandals, the appearance of comfort can be deceiving. In heels, though, some sort of construction has to go into the soles, for practical purposes, but there are no such requirements for sandals.  A piece of leather, a few straps to hold it on and ta-da: a shoe! And it can be a very pretty shoe, a shoe that would be perfect for strolling along the beach in a French resort town, but you would have to take regular breaks to sit in cafes and sip things, because the soles of your feet would be sore and the skin between your toes would be just about rubbed through. On the other hand, no one would ever suspect you were an American tourist, unless you were visibly limping.

Then we have your more obvious sources of discomfort. There is no denying that these are beautiful, the sort of thing a dangerous lady spy** would wear if she suspected her enemies would try to crush her feet with concealed anvils-- the world's most glamorous toe-caps. But, while she might get some use out of a high kick to the face to take out a henchman's eye, her balance would be severely compromised, and the risk of stumbling into the piranha tank too high for them to ever have any practical use in the field.

And there are different kinds of discomfort. For example there are the cramps you would have in your fingers by the time you had finished putting on these, not to mention the awkwardness of the conversations you would have while wearing them, when the other person was under the impression that you were employed in providing certain, very specific services, and you didn't figure out what they were thinking until after you had said something that could be wildly misinterpreted.

But is there any hope at all? Of course there is. There are fine people like the designers at Taryn Rose, a shoe company founded by a former foot surgeon that prides itself on designing shoes on the principle of doing no harm. Of course, some of their products look exactly like you would expect, which is to say, ugly with a side of old lady shoes. (Seriously, do those come with support hose?) But there are a few-- and they are not cheap, but they do exist-- that make me wonder if there might be something to this "comfort" thing after all.

*No picture, but I can tell you a story: A few years ago Tabitha and I went to see Terry Pratchett (a shared favorite author) do a reading in Berkeley. Afterwards, we went to get our books signed and when we made it to the front of the line the author, as authors do, looked at the sticky note on the front of Tabitha's book and said something complimentary about her name. Tabitha made a self-deprecating response about it being the sort of thing people name their cats, and I chimed in with, "At least it isn't something people name cows." And Terry Pratchett said, "Oh, is your name Daisy?" And I said, "yes."
**Or dedicated and relatively small-footed female impersonator.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thurscheese: Cave-Aged Gruyere

It's cheese, from a cave! Like Batman! Only without the belt or the car or the sidekick or the lingering daddy issues. Actually, this cheese isn't that much like Batman, except for the cave part. But that's cool, right?

I like regular gruyere just fine, but for my money (admittedly, slightly more of it-- caves don't come cheap) cave-aged is the way to go. Not only do you get the pleasure of knowing that your cheese spent its youth secreted away in a torch-lit cavern in Switzerland, tended by an order of monks who have kept the location secret under a blood oath for generations*, but you also get a firmer, nuttier flavor without even a hint of bat guano.

*The preceding may not have any relation to be actual facts**.
**Except for the part about Switzerland. It says that on the label.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


So, three weeks into this and I seem to have come to the inevitable conclusion: I am not a very good wine blogger. I remain, of course, an excellent wine drinker, but the part where I translate that experience to the written word has so far escaped me, with all of my impressions being either "tasty!" or stolen from other people. Which is not to say I am giving it up entirely-- I have never let abject failure stop me so far* and I don't see why I should stop now. What I am going to do is to take advantage of Karen's (not the one with the vegan shoes, the other one) fortuitous misunderstanding and alternate Winesday with "Whinesday" in which I indulge in my other favorite pastime: complaining about things that annoy me and that I disapprove of.

I don't actually have one ready for today, so I am going to lean another, more talented blogger who has illustrated one of my grammatical** pet-peeves.

I agree with her alot.

*Not true, but go with me here.
**Yes, I am aware of the irony.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Shoesday: Shoefinder Success Story!


This week we have some special guest shoes for you: Our first ever* actual purchase of shoes found in the Shoefinder feature. These lovely and sparkly slippers belong to Karen, who selected them from the list of presumably-vegan** shoes I compiled to her general specifications. I'm so proud.

Speaking of which, if you would like me to pick out an array of shoes for you/a friend/acquaintance/enemy, please leave a comment and/or shoot me an email and we'll see what we can do.

*Alice buying the shoes I suggested for Mary is close, but not quite.
**"Presumably" because I didn't actually check things like secondary materials and adhesives, just that they weren't made of leather. Hey, I'm good, but there are limits to even my abilities.

"You Don't Deke Margaret Atwood"

In honor of the Sharks actually making it out of the first round of the playoffs, I give you Margaret Atwood: Poet, Novelist, Goalie.

Looks Like Monday To Me Tomato Update

There may be those among you who think this ought to be Shoesday, what with it being technically the third day of the week and all. But my vacation extended through yesterday, and therefore I am declaring today Monday until further notice, and presenting you with your latest, most up-to-date information on the growth of my tomato plants:

They appear to have been growing.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thurscheese: Humboldt Fog

When one thinks of the agricultural products of Humboldt county, cheese is not the first thing that springs to mind. But that's the thing I'm here to tell you about, and anyway, 4/20 was Tuesday. And, as it turns out, there are some very fine non-illicit substances coming out of the CA Far North, much of it thanks to the Cypress Grove Chevre cheese company. The above is the one known as "Humboldt Fog," their signature cheese and, frankly, a hard one to beat. It's a relatively mild blue, with a creamy layer under the rind and just enough bite to keep things interesting. We first discovered this cheese in, of all places, Las Vegas, at the Wolfgang Puck restaurant in the MGM Grand, where they put it in the beet salad, to great effect. At the moment, my favorite way to eat it (in fact, a strong contender for my favorite way to eat anything) is spread on a cracker with Emandal Farm*, for a near-perfect sweet/spicy/creamy/cheesy flavor.

*I hesitate to mention how good this is, because Emandal doesn't have much of a retail arm, and my only source for the pepper jelly is to snag a jar from the gift box my Uncle Bruce sends to my parents every Christmas, and I could do without the competition.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Winesday: Long Weekend Wine

Newsome-Harlow Zinfandel

I swear, there are times when we go on trips that don't have anything to do with drinking wine. I mean, I can't think of any right now, but there must be some*. Anyway, we're at it again, heading back up to Murphy's where we've rented a cottage for a weekend of tasting, drinking, hanging out and reading**. Which means that a) there will be no shoefinder post this week, because I'm not sure if there is going to be internet at the rental cabin, and anyway, that's not a vacation activity, and b)you are going to be hearing a lot about the wines of the Sierra Foothills in the coming Wednesdays. And by "a lot" I mean, "occasional digressions when I remember something I wanted to write about, plus references to chalk."

This wine was one of our finds from our last trip, and possibly my favorite mid-price-range zin so far. I failed to take notes while drinking it,*** and the only thing I can remember commenting on at the time was a hint of caramel, though I'm fairly sure there were other things going on too, like grapes and alcohol.

On reflection, that would seem to be a wholly inadequate way to blog about a very fine wine. I guess I'm just going to have to try some more and get back to you.

*Wait, I just thought of one: Tokyo. Also, the wine on the cruise was not that good and silly expensive, so I mostly stuck to Harvey Wallbangers.
**I'm bringing at least five books. I don't expect to read all of them, but you never know what you're going to be in the mood for, and I like to be prepared.
***I'm starting to suspect I'm not really cut out for this wine-blogging thing.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Shoesday: Boots, and a Bonus Rant

What can I say? I like a low-heeled brown leather boots. These are excellent for wearing under jeans, if a little Robin-Hood-esque with a skirt and tights. I considered buying green tights to go with, but I decided against.

Another thing I'm against? Curved-sole shoes. Why do I oppose them? Well, they are ugly, stupid-looking and sold with vaguely scientific claims that have no clear basis in fact*, which just happen to be three of my very least favorite things.

Look, I understand that not everyone has feet that permit them to wear beautiful and delicate shoes. Sometimes, clunkiness is an inevitable alternative to crippling pain. But this is not one of those cases. These are shoes that are specifically designed to be uncomfortable, which they sell as a fitness aspect, with about as much evidence as is used to sell that Airborne crap** and I suspect the effectiveness actually derives from the good old Puritan principle that anything unpleasant must be good for you.

But, okay, maybe they do actually do some good. Not as much good as getting some real running shoes and actually running around the block, but whatever. But what really bothers me here? The point of these shoes, stated or implied, is that they help you lose weight. The point, stated or implied, (for most people) of losing weight is to look better. So, in an attempt to "improve" your appearance, you are making yourself look worse, which strikes me as a kind of a null result.

So, in conclusion: Low boots=nice. Round shoes=no.

That is all.

*I'm sorry, a thirty person study? This is statistically significant, how?
**Helpful Hint: Don't get me started.

Monday, April 19, 2010

MTSR (Monday Tomato Status Report)


I finally got the pepper plants and the last of the tomatoes planted this weekend (far right):

Also got it into my head that I really wanted a pot with a lavender plant and some herbs, even though we have no "full sun" space left. But, I figured, whatever:

And, in the "this doesn't exactly seem like the best idea" category, I planted one poor seedling in an upside-down tomato planter. As seen on TV! I think it's kind of confused:

Saturday, April 17, 2010

"The Fools! They Never Understood My Vision."

Possibly due to his disappointment with the ending of "Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus," a wild octopus tries to take matters, and a diver's camera, into its own tentacles:

"Here I'm panicking a bit trying to unwrap the tentacles from my wrist."

From the Vault: Tragedy in Clothing Form

Every once in a while, when I feel like maybe I am getting a little too judgemental about other people's clothing choices, I like post a little reminder of my own shameful history in fashion. I would defend myself by saying it was the eighties, and people did things like this, but the fact that Mom is right there looking effortlessly chic would tend to weaken that argument*. The only good thing I can think of to say about that shirt is that I remember wearing it once as a volunteer at the Lawrence Hall of Science "biolab," where there were a variety of animals for the visitors to handle, and a boa constrictor (Ms. Boa, I believe) that I was showing to some visitors climbed in one sleeve, around my back and out the other, so that the head and tail were hanging out of opposite sleeves. So, there's that.

Also, in my defense I would like to point out that it only looks like I have a mullet-- it was really just bad layering and a half-ponytail.

*I should note that she should not get the blame here; then, as now, I was somewhat difficult to argue out of an idea.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Afternoon Activity: Pick Your Favorite Greek Villa

So, you have some free time coming up and enough airline miles for some first class tickets to Greece for you and a few of your very closest friends. But the question remains, which villa will you stay in when you get there?

Will it be Blue Living?

Or how about Villa Artemis?

Or, for a smaller party and a more chain-restaurant name, perhaps you would prefer Villa Olive Garden?

Needless to say, you are going to need some appropriate shoes.

Shoefinder: Vegan For Karen

New person, new challenge! This week it's Karen, who is vegan, but not at all obnoxious about it. (For example, when she asked me about restaurants in San Mateo, and I started with the burger place and the steakhouse, she was very nice about pointing out how that wasn't all that helpful.) So, for her, I am scouring the web for comfortable flats than can be worn while chasing around a highly energetic kindergartner that have no contribution from the animal kingdom.

(Disclaimer: My determination of veganness is based entirely on the materials listed with the shoes, and doesn't take into account adhesives, incidental materials and/or magical mice stitching them together.)

I started this project with very little in the way of expectations, and was almost immediately disappointed. The first place I went was the vegetarian shoe page on Zappos, where it is made clear that all that vegetarians need shoes for is hiking, surfing and, um, being a hobo.

This is not acceptable.

One way, I figured, to find shoes that do not incorporate any leather, is to look to the cheapest things going, because killing things is expensive. For example, if you want to be sure that something is entirely made out of petroleum products, you can always look to Old Navy or Target. On the other hand, quality is not exactly a watchword here, and comfort is, shall we say, a little hit-or-miss.

Or, you might think to look to some kind of specialty store where, though the proportion of hobo-shoes remains high, you can at least be sure that the shoes have been pre-selected for their lack of cruelty. Which is all well and good, if not that interesting, though I did find one shoe (left) that raised some interesting questions. Namely: Does it count if it comes from "free range expired Ethiopian cows and goats?" Are we skinning parking meters now? Exactly how long ago did they expire? Were lions involved? If there ends up being a profit in their expiry, will the lifespans of free range Ethiopian cows and goats start getting shorter? Will there be lions involved in that? Seriously, "MBAs Without Borders?" What do you think of the purple?

But, seriously, enough of this fooling around. It's time to get down to business. Because there are cute vegan shoes out there, and I intend to find them.

For starters, there are espadrilles, which have the advantage of not being intended to be made out of leather, so you don't end up with any sort of fakey look. Other options in this category include the canvas moccasin and the beaded satin slipper. All have the advantage of being easy to wear and highly appropriate for summer, which my sources assure me should be coming along any time now.

Ballet flats* are another option, and my go-to style for easy slip-ons. This sporty variation seems like they would be ideal for small-child chasing, while still managing to look more like real shoes than sneakers. Another desirable feature? Being cute and also machine-washable. On the other hand, these have a bit more style to them, while these are completely insane, but shut up I kind of love them. Or, if Karen would rather look like an actual adult, these would probably go with pretty much anything.

And then we have my personal favorite category, which I like to call: Fancy shoes for always, why not?

Shiny faux patent! Fancy designer shoes in plastic! And again! Why, I ask you, not?

I mean, aside from all those reasons you just came up with.

Now, you may be wondering, why I am not including any of the shoes of Stella McCartney, the world's most famous vegan designer who is not famous at all because she is the daughter of one of the world's best-known musicians? After all, she is just about the only game in town when it comes to the vegan and fancy thing. This is true, and after what I've seen, somewhat discouraging. But I just can't bring myself to support the entity that thought it was a good idea to produce these shoes:

I am trying, and failing, to figure out where one might be expected to wear these. A black-tie sit-in? The gala opening of a new Whole Foods? To your second job as Gaia “Hot Mama” Earth, the eco-friendly stripper?

*Yes, Abigail, I know they don't really look like ballet shoes.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Great Moments In Copy Writing

While working on this week's Shoefinder post, I came across this gem in the description of a pair of shoes on Zappos:

(click to embiggen)

"A sport-infused ballerina gets a lethal injection of studded hardware."

Because nothing moves product like some good old-fashioned death penalty humor.

Thurscheese: That's Right, I Said Thurscheese

Things I like: Shoes, wine, cheese. Things I have specific days for on the blog: Shoesday, Winesday. . . Thurscheese. It seems like a natural progression, really.

Our first cheese, Fromage D'Affinois (sounds pretentious, but I've never seen it labeled anything else; maybe you're just supposed to call it "Affinois?") comes from the "soft" family, a very mild double-creme brie-like cheese with strong properties of butter. (Note: the Camembert plate under it is purely incidental.) I particularly like this one because, while I'm a big fan of brie, I don't like the rind at all, to the point of thinking it spoils the whole flavor of the cheese. Which means I become one of those people who only scoops out the inside, subtly at first, when it's squishing out the sides, but gradually worsening to the point where I have dug myself a kind of cheese cave into the slice, which can get you some seriously dirty looks at a party.

Anyway, the great thing about this one is that the rind has very little flavor, and you can go ahead and enjoy all that good butteryness without making it look like you are trying to dig yourself a burrow in the appetizer plate. Everybody wins!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I Think I'm Going To Have To Send This Back

Yes, I know it's what the menu says. It's just that, when I ordered the duck breasts, this really wasn't what I had in mind.

(And, on a related note: AIIEEEEE!)

Winesday: The Chardonnay That Ate San Mateo

Actually, that's really not fair; it isn't a particularly big or aggressive wine at all. Not too sharp, not overly buttery, pairs excellently with an evening sitting around watching terrible, terrible movies on the SciFi* channel. Cameron was away for the weekend, living the high life** in Vegas for his friend's bachelor party, which meant it was two days of sourdough baguette, white wine and execrable acting***. On Saturday we had Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus, and then Mega Piranha (one can only assume that Giga Jellyfish is in preproduction as we speak) and Sunday featured various parts of America being destroyed by a meteor, a volcano and weather. I don't think I have ever heard the phrase, "We've got to get out of here," said with such frequency.

So, in conclusion: Bargetto Chardonnay: Much better at being a chardonnay than former pop star Tiffany is at acting. Try some, and just tell me I'm wrong.

Speaking of movies, have you ever wondered what it would be like if someone tried to remake The Birds with community theater actors, a Mad Libs-level script and five dollars for special effects? Well, wonder no more. I present: Birdemic

I think we're gonna need a bigger wine bottle. Or a couple more regular ones. That would work too.

*Yes, I know they changed their name to make it stupider. I just refuse to acknowledge it, on the principle that, eventually, reality will bend to my will and it will change back.
***Done by Lorenzo Lamas and Former Pop Star Tiffany, among others. Not by me. I was the one eating the baguette.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Joke You Will Not Get Unless You Watch American Idol and Idolatry* As Obsessively As I Do

"And, you know, the thing about a Tim Urban... he's got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll's eyes. When he comes at ya, doesn't seem to be living... until he sings at ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then... ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin'."

*Small amount of context in part 2 here.

(Note: Please do not take this as me implying that the only way to get Tim off of Idol is to stick a tank of compressed air into his mouth and shoot it with a rifle, while swearing. That would be irresponsible, and in violation of FCC regulations. Also, he seems like a nice enough kid, aside from the singing thing.)

Shoesday: The shoes really pull the blog together

Sad confession: As far as I am aware, I have only worn these shoes once. That's not quite as egregious as it seems, seeing as I think I paid $29 for them in the clearance basement at DSW, but still. What makes it (sort of) interesting and (tentatively) blog-relevant is that the one time I wore them was to the Edgar awards, for which Cornelia has been nominated and presented and Sophie is nominated this very year, and I was attending them with Lisa, who I was staying with at the time. Which is either evidence of the interconnectedness of all things or of the fact that this blog is starting to get annoyingly insular.

In other words, I need to get out more, and so do my shoes.

Monday, April 12, 2010

How Does My Garden Grow*

Slowly, considering that this is one of the coldest and wettest Aprils we have had for a few years, but it is growing.

I think. Yes?

*Apologies to Mary.

Friday, April 09, 2010

For Everyone Who Saw the New Star Trek Movie and Thought "This Would Be Better With Florida Tourists Playing Key Roles"

Have I got a show for you.

Shoefinder: Two For Lisa

This week we have not one but two (two!) requests for Shoefinding, both coming from Lisa:

Who lives in a fabulous apartment in Manhattan (which is even more fabulous than the one she used to have), who needs some equally fabulous (and specific) shoes to go with it.

First, the simple desire for some low heels, appropriate for everyday wear and cute for wearing with either pants or a skirt. Do I have suggestions? Of course I have suggestions.

Studded Frye peep-toes. More versatile in the brown but I have a soft spot for the yellow.

Surprisingly cute wedge clog (now there's a phrase I never thought I'd type), with the Cole Haan Nike sole, so likely to be comfortable. Which is good, because Manhattan is fabulous, but in a way that requires a lot of walking.

They're perfect. They're Prada.

Part II:

AKA, the tough part

The other assignment? To find some shoes to go with this skirt and do not make the wearer look like she purchased them with a wad of crumpled singles.

Mission accepted.

My first thought was "flats," in keeping with the standard guideline of the higher the hemline, the lower the heel. But flat should not equal boring, and should definitely not make people look at you and think, "Oh, she's wearing flat shoes because that's a miniskirt. How practical." People should never think the word "practical" about you when you're wearing a sequined miniskirt. It defeats the purpose.


These are young and fun, a little logo-y without being obvious and stupid, and lively enough to enhance the skirt, without trying to drag it down into sensibleness.

The second thing I came up with was to balance the bareness of the skirt with some heavier shoes, like these or these. I'm less sure about this, but I think a more substantial (non-platform) heel pulls the look more towards "stylish" and away from being potentially "hourly."

For that, I think these are perfect, and not just because Lisa picked them out from my accidental pre-publishing of the unfinished post.

On the other hand, there's something to be said for letting the skirt be the star. Which I think is why, when I was first thinking about this one, my mind went straight to these.

Very bare, even for a sandal; you would certainly be more foot than shoe. But I like how the zipper trim toughens up the flower, and how it manages to be embellished and interesting without being sparkly.

Of course, one always has the option of looking vaguely silly. To that end, I present: the detachable shaft gladiator sandal:

Thursday, April 08, 2010

As Eggs Lay Dyeing

An Easter Egg vegetable-dyeing experiment:

Results (clockwise from the top): red beets, yellow beets/red cabbage (in series), red cabbage alone (longer time in dye), carrots/red cabbage.

Future directions: tea, onion skins, devilling

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Business English ≠ Actual English

Actual line from a work email I received today:

"If you have questions about the integration planning efforts underway, please ask your manager, who will liaise with the appropriate function."

Is that even legal in this state?


In an effort to clarify the statement, I used babelfish to translate it into Korean and then back. The result:

"You about integrated plan effort to the case which is question, demand your manager who will make a contact with the function which is suitable while advancing."

You have to admit, it makes approximately the same amount of sense.


This time, through Greek:

"For the incorporated effort of drawings in the case where it is question, you require your director that will make a contact with the operation that is suitable promoting."

Winesday: You Look Like a Petite Syrah Kind of Reader

Boekenoogen Petite Syrah
Color: Red
Composition: Petite Syrah
Consumed with: Prime New York strip steak from Costco, possibly our last in a while because Cameron is reading The Omnivore's Dilemma, which means that we are learning* a lot about the Evil of Corn.

Me: Strong, but fruity.
C: Notes of berry, port on the nose, balanced tannins, refined for a petite syrah.
Me: What he said.

At the Boekenoogen tasting room in Carmel Valley. We were there with Cameron's friend and former college roommate*** Ken, who was visiting from Toronto, in town for an Eclipse convention**** and who has a sideline business importing wine into Ontario. So he's quite knowledgeable about the whole grape juice thing and a good person to go tasting with, particularly when you get to witness interactions that go something like this:*****
Woman pouring in the tasting room to Ken, on the subject of choosing what wine to taste next: "You look like a petite syrah kind of guy."
Ken: "Umm."
Cameron/Me: (snickering)
WPITTR: "I mean, not like you're petite. I mean, petite syrah is like a big, heavy kid of wine and, uh. . ."
Ken: "Sure, um, yeah."
Cameron/Me: (cracking up)
WPITTR: "Okay, I'm going to stop talking now."
Ken: "I'll try the petite syrah."

*Some of us more voluntarily than others.
**I have now purchased a notebook and written "Wine Notes" on the cover, advancing myself one step closer to complete unbearability.
***You could tell, because when Cameron dozed off that evening, Ken took the opportunity to try and pitch quarters into his mouth.
****They claimed this had more to do with open source development platforms than books about sparkly vampires, but I remain suspicious.
*****Okay, so there was only one. But still, it was worth it.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Shoesday: The Psuedo-Chucks

Recently, I had a twitter conversation with Sophie, on the subject of the shoes of a certain New York Times bestselling author. She suggested that I should step in on this matter, but I had to reply (somewhat unclearly, because sometimes it is hard to get your meaning across in 140 characters) that I couldn't say anything against the classic Chuck Taylor. I've had warm feelings for them ever since high school, when a pair of green converse high-tops were the only thing that stood between me and total, all-enveloping uncoolness, and even now I cannot deny that they have a certain appeal.

These are not Converse, though they owe so much to them stylistically that they should really be paying royalties. It's hard to tell from this picture, but they are actually black suede with smooth leather accents, which I like as a way of updating the style to my current, less Chuck-friendly, existence.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Tomatoes: The Planting

Big event this weekend: the tomatoes are now outside! I planted then directly before (and partially during) the major storm that moved in on Sunday, meaning that I was abandoning my poor helpless little seedlings to the wind and the rain* on their very first day out of the safety of the second bedroom. And I'm sure they felt very alone and afraid, but they are strong little tomato plants and I have faith in them.

Additional aphid update: Have liberally sprayed pepper plants with a highly toxic substance, causing total aphid destruction and disqualifying me from organic certification, unless I don't tell anyone. Will plant them in empty small planter when I get some more potting soil. You would not believe how much potting soil this takes.

Additional additional gardening fashion update: Took my own advice (sort of) and hit Target for their Liberty of London stuff, came away with a nice pair of gardening gloves.

*Actually, the balcony they're on is pretty sheltered. But I still felt bad about it.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Shoefinder: Mama Needs a Brand New Bag

(In this picture: Subject: Mom, Accessory: Me, German Shepard: Star*)

Something a little different this week, as Shoefinder takes a break from, you know, finding shoes to find a purse for Mom.

Actually, the mission is a little more complicated than that: we're really finding several purses. One pair of a large bag to hold a variety of stuff with a small, essentials-only purse to fit inside it, and one regular-sized purse for everyday needs. But we are not afraid. We know we are up to the task. We also seem to have become plural, and we suspect it's starting to get annoying. We're gonna stop this now.

Big bags:

I really like the things Cole Haan does with their woven leather stuff-- this one in particular looks like that kind of fancy outdoor furniture, in a good way. (Plus, they posed it in a Eames chair, and anyone who has seen our family home knows how appropriate that is.)
Of course, Cole Haan does some nice things with solid leather too.

I'm also a fan of the Orla Kiely bags, both for being retro fun and for looking like they are incredibly sturdy. But I think my favorite option is actually this one, from the Liberty of London collection for Target. It's fun without being stupid-looking, appropriately large** and ridiculously inexpensive. True, you're definitely losing out on some quality at that price point, but you're gaining a cute bag, so I think that's fair.

Small Bags:

It's actually surprisingly hard to find a very small purse that is still functional, which is why I went back to the Cole Haan well for this one. Of the other options, I've never been that excited by what Hobo International does, but this bag looks like it would fit the bill, at least in the brown. Although I'm not sure about all those pockets. They could be handy, unless you are of the sort who isn't inclined to remember which pocket you put something in, in which case they would just be annoying.

And I have to admit, as much as I like this turquoise, snake-embossed clutch, it probably would not entirely suit Mom's style. Especially when paired with the flower bag.

Medium Bags:

But what about the everyday bag needs? Something classic, I think, or maybe more professional. Then again, as I recently mentioned, there is something of a family history with the Ferragamo brand, and they do make some lovely bags.

Which leads me, finally, to this one:

I think it should do nicely, don't you?

*In accordance with the German Shepard Code of Conduct, she is looking away from the camera at the moment the picture is taken.
**I think you could have fit me from the picture into it. Now, not so much.