ESP Requests to Jeffrey Campbell Answered. Sorta.

This just in: Jeffrey Campbell answers my ESP requests and does a vegan line. Unfortunately I hate all of the flats.

ESP requests to Jeffrey Campbell to be more specific in future. Lesson learned.

Field Trip: Brooklyn Charm

I will never be a jewelry designer. It is really hard work, even when you're just stringing trinkets together. If you want to see someone born to be a jewelry designer, look here. Not at me.

How do I know of my shortcomings? A little field trip to Brooklyn Charm. It sounds like such a great idea. Come in! Pick up some trinkets! Pick out a chain! Yay, you made a necklace! In reality I walked around the store clutching a tiny tray of every trinket I liked. So. Many. Trinkets.

Big skulls, little skulls, harmonicas, monocles, flowers, crystals, silver feathers, tiny brass coffee cups, compasses, whistles, patina-encrusted hearts, teeny scissors, little fists, little hands. Which all sounds fine. But then I had to figure out how to pair them together and get them to sit on a necklace without looking like a messy keychain.

photo 4.JPG

500 years later, this is what I came up with.


{Had the vintage Ford key. Got the skull & necklace}


{I liked this one best in the store but least at home -
a cornicello and a harmonica! Necklace for Italian hobo?}


{coffee mug, feather and compass}

{whistle, hand and rose}

I had them all put together so I could use the same chain (savings = $21!) for all the clusters of charms. (Thankfully I had a LivingSocial thinger so my final tab was significantly reduced.)

I am sufficiently humbled by this experience and look forward to hearing about your successful or equally challenging jewelry-making endeavors.


Required Reading: The Waves' Sustainable Style Series

I just wanted to link Waves' series on sustainable style. I'm really excited that she's doing it and have enjoyed reading the posts up so far. Granted, I've also summoned all of the green guilt that comes with thinking about the black hole of resources we're using for copious amounts of clothing. So - I'm enjoying and despairing.

I replied to this post, where the topic of leather vs. pleather comes up with regards to environmental footprint so I'm including my comment here, since it's something that often comes up when people discuss vegans using synthetics vs something "natural"/leather.


{specifies it's made of PU}

I'm late to respond because I had to root around a little! The last time I looked into this I recall there being a LOT of gray area, and it seems that's still the case, for a few reasons.

Pleather/vegan leather isn't all created the same. The only common denominator is that it doesn't involve animal products (which yes, takes that part of the footprint out of it; the leather industry does subsidize the meat industry so it's partially responsible for there being a meat industry or the cost for meat would be incredibly prohibitive so leather is responsible for the emissions/used resources just as much as the meat industry).

Because of there being different pleather options, versions of pleather have different base ingredients which inform their process and footprint, while leather only has a few processes that are used to prep it for manufacturing.

The differences that can affect environmental standing are (but not limited to!):

- source materials: petroleum/PVC/polyeurethane aka PU vs. recycled plastic products vs. the heard-of-but-rarely-seen bioplastics; supposedly PVC is the worst environmentally

- re sturdiness and longevity: there is a huge huge spectrum (the Mother Jones article I'm including at the end of my comment cites length of usage as a huge deciding factor with regards to what has a lighter footprint- and some of the vegan brands have gotten quite good at producing sturdy and repairable products)

Most pleather/vegan leather items don't specify what the item is made of. E.g. Matt & Nat uses recycled plastic water bottles for their bags' lining but it doesn't say what the actual bag is made of, even in the FAQs which ask if the bag is environmentally friendly. Same with Melie Bianco - no citing of the material used. Cri de Coeur does specify on each item.

Then you have brands like Melissa, who specify they are using PVC (okay, not vegan leather per se, yet a good vegan-friendly substitute) but are doing it in a 99% closed-loop way. Where okay, it's now melflex and it can be broken down to be recycled and it's 99% closed loop...but still PVC. Just that the toxins are being handled in-house closed-loop and the workers supposedly treated well so I'm assuming the process isn't so toxic that it's a health risk to them/that they're exposed to it. (I just found a flip flop brand named Ipanema that uses melflex, too - I thought it was a proprietary material via Melissa but I guess not.)

Places like Patagonia will note if something's vegan and will outline recycled content but it doesn't really get into manufacturing process, either.

I don't know if that's an accurate enough answer but some people say YES, synthetics are better environmentally, in comparison given all of the variables and some say no, better to buy leather because it lasts longer. Over the years the better vegan/pleather brands have gotten much better about making quality merchandise so I tend to lean on them more. I find myself buying Cri de Coeur/Hearts of Darkness over Payless. I've learned to look for shoes that can be reheeled and bags that are sturdy enough to carry a heavy load and can be repaired.

Obviously I support buying the better-made synthetic products that will last for a while. It reduces the animal suffering involved and likely it's at least a smidge better (or maybe no less bad) than leather itself, all things considered!

* Mother Jones http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2011/01/fake-leather-really-more-eco-friendly-real

* The Vegan Collection's comparison of petroleum-based pleather vs leather environmental footprint:

* I decided to spare you the dozen "about us"/FAQ pages I visited for varied vegan companies (Olsen Haus, Cri de Coeur, Matt & Nat, Melissa, Melie Bianco, Patagonia, etc.)

Prada BFD

First of all, YES, that is a gd cookie press. E.Elizabeth of With Care is officially the smartest person I know. 50 gold stars! If I ever make cookies with it, you get the first batch and I promise to use the Calder-lookin' cookie plate that remains an enigma and is absent from any manufacturer literature.

I wore this to:
- go to a meeting at our uptown location
- stop in Housing Works on the way back because they were having a pants sale
- the only pants I liked were Prada
- paid $65 for pants
- wish pants were a boring brand name so I could have paid $35 for them instead

odette necklace
shirt/american apparel

I made this cheese!

When we last spoke about cashew cheese, you left your heroine (me) befuddled by recipes that called for rejuvelac and nutbags. Despite Allisun's encouragement in the comments, I did what any lazy person would do. Poked around on the innernettes. (I also didn't realize Allisun pointed me in the direction of a cashew cheese recipe sans rejuvelac, as well. Guh.)

Eventually (lacto-fermented cashew cheese recipes behind me at this point) I found this simple recipe at Chocolate and Zucchini. And friends, I made this.


It's delicious. Does it taste like dairy cheese? I highly doubt it, but that's a good thing. (Please see: my aversion to milk from lactating animals.)

My goal was to get something similar to the delicious but obscenely expensive Dr. Cow cashew cheese. This recipe yielded a spreadable cheese (like my ol' favorite, port wine cheese) -- it's more of a crackers pairing kind of cheese. Or toast, if you're me. But it did taste like the expensive Dr. Cow version.

For the $5 worth of cashews I used, it produced considerably more cheese than Dr. Cow sells per package. Like 4x more. (And $5 is a bargain for their 2.5 oz nut cheese. Can you believe I have spent upwards of $5 on less than 3 oz. of cheese? While kittens are starving! BOUGIE.)

Pros: easy. no lacto-fermenting. simple ingredients. more cheese for your buck vs Dr. Cow. delicious.

Cons: not a hard cheese. still a little expensive? need to refrigerate for a few hours.

Summary: I will make this again. Crackers beware.


Christmas in July

I wore this to:
- go feed my feral cats in 103 degree weather
- get an iced coffee in 103 degree weather
- stop by a stoop sale in 103 degree weather
- find out Amy Winehouse died while @ a stoop sale in 103 degree weather
- park my a$$ indoors all day

When it is 103 degrees, I will resort to wearing shorts I normally reserve for the confines of my own apartment and take to bandanas like an auto mechanic.

When the stoop sale guy looked up from his phone and exclaimed, "Amy Winehouse died!" my response was, unbelievably, "Was it an OD?" Who would even put a question mark on that? It's sad but not surprising news.

Look what I got at the stoop sale!
Do you know what it is?

shirt/stoop sale
bandana, shorts & flip flops/sweatshop


Bad Chi

Some of you might remember that I have a mild Monchhichi obsession. I only own one Monchhichi though - a keychain verision. The bulk of my obsession is in googling Monchhichi pictures online.

Sometimes this brings on an onslaught of adorable. And other times it brings on an onslaught of WTF. (See, it's the perfect mix.)

Guess which ones these are?

And apparently there are a lot of Chinese People's Liberation Army Monchhichis?

For the record, I maintain that the Beichhichi racoon is the cutest, and not at all weird.


Road Rage

I wore this to:
- go to a wedding in the Catskills
- be in the rental car for 7 hours instead of 2
- gaze upon a truck trailer that had recently been on fire
- know what 9 miles of backed up traffic looks like
- eat & dance
- sing Skid Row songs around a campfire
- stay awake while J drove back to Brooklyn

dress - vintage
black bag - vintage
owl clutch/shoes - sweatshop

The rest stop on the way back to Brooklyn consisted only of 1 open McDonald's and a closed group of other crap places to patronize. There was a need for (black) coffee so that broke my 9+ year ban on buying anything from the Golden Barfbags. While there we experienced two teenage boys marveling at their gluttonous McD order and I'm 99.9% sure they weren't even stoned. Does not compute.

I went with the black bag, in case anyone asks.



I wore this to:
- get sucked into reading Tales of the City
- work

I haven't picked up any of the sequels yet so do not spoil the plot for me if you've read them. Except if it's to confirm that Michael Tolliver and Jon the gyno get back together. Also, it took outside help to figure out what "MT" and "est" were, despite them being mentioned so liberally.

bklyn thrift shirt
american apparel skirt
sweatshop cardigan & shoes

A note on side projects:

A few of the comments on the nut milk post made me consider making cashew cheese. Until I ran into a bunch of recipes that cited sprouted wheatberries, rejuvelac and nutbags. I need a minute to desensitize myself to the word nutbag, etc. Maybe in two weeks I'll be all, "Guys, remember when I didn't sprout wheatberries and drink rejuvelac every day? I was so sheltered. Now I only sleep 2 hours each night and bench press 700 lbs every day."


I cheated!

I've been away for the past 10 days or so but had a few outfit pictures laying around before I left so I scheduled them for when I was gone! I'm a LIAR. (Actually, I'm always behind so this whole blog is like a time-lapse of my life no matter what I do.)

Now I am "behind" on blog-reading, responding-to-your-comments and your-blog-commenting. And taking pictures of clothes. I say "behind"because it tickles me to assume I have a schedule to answer to for this kind of thing.

I offer you some pictures of Nova Scotia while I catch up. I will have no outfit pictures for you since I dressed like a hobo while away. At one point I had on a skirt, leggings, leg warmers and socks. And not in a Comme des Garcon or Dries way, either.






I'm not excited to be back in NYC where it's 98 degrees, disgustingly sticky and I have loads o' work responsibility.

However, all I thought about while I was away were MY CATS MY CATS MY CATS. I have the best catsitter(s) in the world who adore my cats, are extremely responsible and make sure each and every one gets special attention. (It looks like they had a pretty good time, too - I found stashes of organic catnip all over my apartment.) But nothing beats being around my tiny buddies!


Mutual Admiration

I wore this to:
- work
- go to the food co-op
- eat miso eggplant, veggie gyoza and some vegetable rolls @ ten

I love miso eggplant. And I hope it loves me. Mutual admiration.

dress/beacon's closet
shoes/sweatshop retail

P.S. -

I was fortunate enough to win the blue version of this dress from Ellenitza's ebay auctions. I have no qualms about owning two of these dresses because a) I really like the dress and b) it fits into my goal of not buying any more black dresses!


Do You Have Blind Faith in My Tattoos?

I wore this to:

- work

- break down and shop at a sweatshop retail chain after work to get shorts and a skirt that are appropriate to bike in

- be significantly unproud of buying from them (which is not a real word but it's the best word to describe the feeling; please don't use it unless you want to sound like you're in kindergarten)

shirt/sweatshop retail
pin, skirt/vintage, thrift
shoes/melissa westwood ultragrrl


I think this was also the day that a dude on the street told me he really liked my ankle tattoo (the rest of them were covered by a cardigan). He said something like, "I really like that tattoo down there on your ankle." It's pretty amazing that so many guys can love my tattoos, you know, without ever actually seeing them.

BLIND FAITH. They trust my taste, obviously.


License to Drive

I wore this to:
- work
- look like someone who dressed to match License to Drive's color scheme

And I got a herrcut! I was so peeved about my summer buns not fitting under a bike helmet that I ordered my hairdresser to keep cutting (please) and cutting (please). Resolution! My hair is now wrestled into submission with just two barrettes.

shirt/american apparel (my post)
skirt/beacon's closet, tailored
necklace/thrifted keychain & chain by the yard
shoes/sweatshop retail


I just couldn't turn this Florida keychain down,
so I made it into a necklace.
I don't dig the macabre: the seahorse isn't real.

P.S. -

Helmets are !@#!# imperative. Please do not show me pictures of lollygagging SoHo bike-ridesses with their hair flowing in the wind (or under their Mary Poppins hats) as proof that helmets aren't necessary. This is the proof that helmets are necessary.