Thursday, October 13, 2005

We're in Design Within Reach's DWR Design Notes!

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My comments on Cars and Stripes in last week's Design Within Reach's DWR Design Notes are published in the current DWR Design Notes - just scroll down to the bottom.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Carolee's bronze faux pearls

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Twelve years ago, I took advantage of the personal shopper services at Nordstrom after I moved from a small town in the Midwest to the DC metro area. She put together two outfits with wool gabardine trousers, a hopsack blazer, and two silk camp shirts, one a "watercolor" print and the other a paisley, for which I received a lot of compliments. She also selected a pair of bronze faux pearl clip earrings by Carolee and a matching necklace of oversize faux pearls, which I call my "Wilma Flintstone necklace." While I have given away or discarded most of the pieces and worn the paisley campshirt until the fabric itself became frayed and threadbare, I still have the clip earrings (I lost one of the earrings and purchased a replacement pair directly from Carolee) and necklace.

My style and tastes have changed, but I'm still fond of Carolee's faux pearls. My latest acquisition is the Gold Coil Bracelet (below). It looks great with the multistrand necklace of brown seed beads that I purchased from mexx.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Use Candles with Care: National Fire Protection Week

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We all love scented candles - you'll find links to various companies offering candles on the Fragrance page of The Style Page. The downside of our love affair with candles is that the number of home fires started by candles have tripled from 6000 per year in 1990 to nearly 20,000 in 2001. That's why the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has focused on candles for National Fire Protection Week, October 9-15, 2005.

Some years ago, The Style Page was taken to task by the PR representative for a candle company, as I was critical of her client's nervous focus of the environmental benefits of soy wax candles over candles from petroleum-derived paraffin wax. I stated that the real environmental and safety problems from candles are home fires, and she countered that was common sense information that everyone knows. Much of the advice that the NFPA offers on safe use of candles is indeed common sense, but bears repeating in view of the increase of home fires. Check out their advice and stay safe!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Genius product: the Schick Intuition Razor


I've relied on the men's Atra razor to shave my legs for years, as noted on the Advice and tips page. After I couldn't find the handle for the Atra razor, however, I decided to try something new (at least for me): the Schick Intuition Razor.


I thought that the Schick Intuition Razor would be a good thing to have for travel, as the lubricant was in a solid form - not a gel or foam in a bulky canister. Now after trying it, I am a believer. I can simply soak in the tub for a couple of minutes and then start shaving. The handle is wide and easy to grip and the all-in-one cartridge literally glides over the skin. There is a cap to cover the cartridge when not in use and the razor comes with a shower hanger with suction cups to keep it handy. To quote the fashion magazines, the Schick Intuition Razor is a genius product.

You may find the Schick Intuition Razor at (which BTW is currently offering a sale on Schick products) and major drugstore, supermarket, and mass-market retailers.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Clark Sorensen's unique flower shaped urinals

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Clark Sorensen is a San Francisco-based ceramic and glass artist. While he creates brightly colored porcelain and glass tableware, he has created a sensation with his flower shaped functioning urinals.

Red hibiscus urinal by Clark Sorensen

If I were a man, I'd be unnerved by answering nature's call in the red hibiscus urinal above, with the staminal column and stamens pointing right back! Clark noted, "There is a marked difference in reaction to my pieces between genders. Most guys think they are great, it takes women a little longer to warm up to them." Hmmm ...

You can see more of Clark's flower shaped urinals and other work at his web site, which you can find via our Ceramics, porcelain, and glass page on The Style Page web site.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Shoppers react to Victoria's Secret display at Tyson's Corner

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The Washington Post publishes an article about shoppers' reactions to the scandalous display at Victoria's Secret in Tyson's Corner

Skimpy Underwear, Ample Commentary At Tysons Corner

By Timothy Dwyer

Tongues were wagging. E-mails were flying around PTA message groups and church listservs. People who heard about it came by to take a look for themselves. The issue was tiny underwear -- women's fine lingerie, to be exact-- and how it should be displayed on lifelike mannequins in the newest wing of...

To view the entire article, go to

Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive
c/o E-mail Customer Care
1515 N. Courthouse Road
Arlington, VA 22201

� 2004 The Washington Post Company

Cars and Stripes

I am instantly drawn to stripes, and this article CARS AND STRIPES from Design Within Reach's DWR Design Notes tries to verbalize the appeal and significance of stripes.

The author writes, "Once you take notice, you realize that stripes are ubiquitous in the environment. My earliest recollections of stripes come from childhood, and they're all joyful: funny socks, Dr. Seuss hats, summer beach towels and surf mats."

Perhaps that explains why I'm drawn to multi-colored stripes, as on pajamas. They are so cheerful.

The author continues, "If you doubt that they carry meaning and cultural significance, consider flags generally and the flag proposed for the European Union in 2001 by Rem Koolhaas; it was an attempt to combine the spirit of many nations through stripes."

How could this author cite the hyperkinetic proposed EU flag (which wasn't adopted; instead, the EU adopted a more sober flag with a circle of gold stars on a dark blue background) and ignore the Stars and Stripes? Out of snobbery?

Thursday, October 06, 2005 Perplexing in Pink

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Unless you live on another planet, you can't help but notice that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. That's when companies come out with pink products that mark Breast Cancer Awareness month and the fashion magazines devoted whole spreads to those pink products . This article from the New York Times takes a look at how much goes to charity. As for me, I called my GYN's office for a new order for the mammogram I've put off.

Skin Deep:  Perplexing in Pink
One way to support breast cancer charities this month is to buy a new pair of tweezers. But how much of the price really goes to charity?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Scenes from a mall

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I visited the newly opened expansion wing of Tysons Corner Center near DC yesterday. I visited Ruehl (Abercombie and Fitch's effort to reach out to the twentysomethings who wore A&F during their teens) and passed by Hollister, and was surprised to see how dark they were inside. Is atmosphere all that they are selling? I understand P.T. Barnum's adage "Sell the sizzle, not the steak," but what about the clothes? I cannot figure the marketing strategy here. In addition, one had to climb steps and pass through a narrow doorway to enter Ruehl, making it off-limit to strollers and wheelchairs.

Even the relocated Victoria's Secret was dark, and a clear departure from the romanticized, even sweet image that company has long cultivated. Mannequins were provocatively posed, and reminded me of the photographs by the late Helmut Newton. The news report on Smooth Jazz 105.9 FM mentioned that a number of shoppers have complained about the mannequins.

This Victoria's Secret also contained a beauty department stocking not only its own eponymous cosmetics brand and aura science (a venture between Shiseido and Limited Brands, Victoria Secret's parent), but also brands such as pout and infomercial queen Victoria Jackson's Lola. The beauty department is clearly patterned after the open display format that Sephora pioneered.

Other stores that opened included Z Gallerie, Arhaus, and west elm. I don't see that much difference between Z Gallerie and Arhaus. The west elm store was clean and open in its layout, just what you'd expect after browsing its catalog.