Monthly Archives: May 2014

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Blissed-Out Bonnaroo Style: Let The Real You Shine

Every music festival has its own culture, its ownbonnaroo2 fleeting, instant community. More than the bands and the music itself, this is the draw: the thrill and comfort of being with your tribe.

 The tribe (and vibe) at Bonnaroo is inclusive and blissed-out. A magical bond happens when thousands of people gather in close quarters in a giant field for days on end under the June sun. Everyone gets stinky and sweaty and dirty, and so the artifice of looking prim and proper melts away.

This is your chance to express the wild part of yourself that you can’t in everyday life. The person who wears fringed beaded chokers a la Cher circa 1973. Get in touch with your devious self. Be free!fringe

There’s no wonder that free-wheelin’ gypsy look is so in at music festivals like Roo: not only does it look cool, it keeps your body cool, too. With the sun pounding down and Tennessee humidity thick and hot and sticky, comfort is less about what you are not wearing than what you are. Bikini tops, gauzy dresses, and billowy blouses won’t weigh you down.

Your Bonnaroo checklist is long enough for absolute essentials like bug spray and sunscreen, so keep your accessory checklist short and sweet. Why not wear the same accessories the whole time and create an instant signature, your own festival identity?

Know how to rock a big, floppy sun hat. It protects your skin and creates shade wherever you go. Spruce up your hat with a bright, free-flowing scarf and a statement brooch, like a bee or butterfly.

Let your accessories do double duty, like these hidden pocket leather cuffs for stashing a few bills to keep handy. Necklaces may bog you down, but a sparkly scarf necklace is flashy and breezy at once. Plus you can switch it up as a head wrap or belt.

Large but lightweight earrings keep you cool while expressing your style.  Big hoops bring splashes of color. Or choose a look that’s more simple and ethereal.

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Don’t overlook other items that may seem like luxuries: dry shampoo to keep your hair from getting greasy, BodyGlide to make strolling and dancing chafe-free, and holistic sleep aids like Hyland’s Calms for those times when your mind is fully wound up but your body needs a rest. Prepping for Roo—or any big music festival—can be overwhelming, but placing an emphasis on a fun, funky, and functional Bonnaroo wardrobe isn’t a frivolity. Figuring out how to feel glam in the midst of grungy tents and smelly soles will set you up for an optimal festival experience. Let the real you shine!

By Sara Bir

Sangria with Bracelet

Learn to Make Summer Sangria

Never make a small pitcher of sangria. Because when you mix lots of fruit and booze and wine together, you will have to ask all of your favorite people to drink it with you. Probably you haven’t had those friends to your place in ages because the living room is a mess or you need to sweep off the porch. Forget that. Make sangria and invite everyone over for an hour or two. We promise no one will care what your house looks like.

Colorful and fruity, sangria looks pretty in a glass—a drinkable, refreshing fashion accessory. Only a few things separate blasé sangria from great sangria: decent wine, good booze, and a pinch of planning. Sangria is best made ahead and spruced up right before serving. Magic happens when you douse chunks of fruit in liqueur and let it sit for a while. The flavors relax into each other and become rounded, not sharp. A few handfuls of cheerful fresh herbs don’t hurt, either. If you like things a little kicky, you can even throw a jalapeno in with the macerating fruit—the result will lend just a hint of spicy kick.

The most important part is tinkering around to get the sweet-tart balance just right. Prior to pouring, take a taste and adjust the levels with a squirt of lemon juice or a tablespoon or two of sugar. If it’s boozier than you’d like, pour it over ice cubes or top it off with sparkling water.

Herbed White Sangria

Makes 12 to 16 servings

A pitcher of sangria signals celebrations and relaxation. An assortment of leafy herbs makes this version especially bright and refreshing. Sangria benefits from at least a few hours of rest for its flavors to meld, so plan accordingly. Anything leftover in the pitcher after your get-together will keep well for about two days. Lucky you.

1 large or 2 small oranges, halved pole to pole and sliced very thinly crosswise
1 lime, halved pole to pole and sliced very thinly crosswise
1 jalapeno pepper, split in half, seeds intact
1/4 to ½ cup sugar
1 cup quality orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau)
2 ripe but firm peaches or mangoes, peeled and sliced
4 large sprigs fresh dill
4 large sprigs lemon balm or mint (add more if using lemon balm, less for mint)
8 large basil leaves, or 3 sprigs basil
1 750-mL bottle dry white wine (cheap Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio is good)
1 750-mL bottle of dry sparkling wine (we used inexpensive cava)
lemon juice, as needed
ice cubes, as needed

Stick a toothpick through each jalapeno half (this makes them easier to locate later). In a gallon glass jar or pitcher, combine oranges, lime, and jalapeno with 1/4 cup sugar. Add the Grand Marnier. Stir until syrupy and most of the sugar is dissolved.  Chill for at least 2 hours, and up to overnight.

Remove the jalapeno halves and discard. Add the sliced peaches or mangoes, herbs, and white wine. Stir gently and chill for two hours.

Before serving, taste the sangria and add up to ¼ cup more sugar, a tablespoon at a time (orange liqueur varies from brand to brand; some are sweeter than others). If it’s too sweet, squirt in some lemon or lime juice. This tasting part is vital. Don’t rush it. Excellent sangria has a good balance of flavors. You don’t want it to be cloyingly sweet.

Remove the herb sprigs if you like, but I think they look pretty in the pitcher.

To serve, add a little of the boozy fruit to each glass. Pour in some sangria, then top it off with as much of the sparkling wine or fizzy water as you like. Add ice cubes if it’s an especially hot day (or if you plan on drinking a lot). Garnish with a fresh herb leaf or sprig.

Prefer red sangria? Try this one.

By Sara Bir


Quintessentially American: The Romance of Native American Jewelry

Silver cuffs set with smooth, giant turquoise stones. Copper bands ringed with thunderbird icons. Roadrunner pins and bolo ties. They evoke cacti and adobe dwellings, Route 66 and tumbleweeds, Georgia O’Keeffe and John Wayne.

We’re thrilled to offer a new-old find: an eclectic assortment of vintage Native American jewelry made by The Bell Trading Company of Albuquerque, New Mexico.  You may be surprised to learn that this style of Native American jewelry—ubiquitous with the American West—only dates back to the late 1800s.  And from the get-go, it was made for tourists: first train travelers, then road-tripping Americans on vacation. This was before truck stops and the Interstate system, when two-lane highways offered glimpses of the scenic, untamed nation that was already becoming a thing of the past. Trading posts sprang up to capitalize on souvenirs-seeking tourists, who couldn’t get enough Native American jewelry.

It’s not hard to see why. In Navajo beliefs, turquoise is a piece of the sky itself, bringing good thoughts to its wearer. In combination with silver or copper, it calls to mind wide, open skies and the vast bronzed rockiness of the landscape below it. This is not just jewelry. It’s a state of mind.

Heirloom Finds founders Kim and Jeanne came across this collection while antiquing in Southeast Ohio, of all places. An owner of a Southwestern-style trading post had sold his remaining stock of Native American jewelry, a lot which had been waiting for 30 years to be discovered. So this cache truly is a rediscovered treasure!

The Bell Trading Company employed Navajo silversmiths to create their jewelry and the firm operated from 1935 until the late 1980’s.  The artisans who created this jewelry had well-paying jobs and were held in high esteem. They utilized the silver, copper, and turquoise that was available locally, but they also added other elements, such as jet, coral, and abalone. Popular motifs—thunderbirds, roadrunners, feathers, and the half-man, half-eagle Knifewing deity—pulled from the mythologies of tribes such as the Hopi, Zuni, and Navajo. Like jazz, it’s a truly iconic American art form, timeless yet modern.

The variety in this selection runs the gamut, with a find to suit anyone’s taste: simple metal bands to elaborate bold boyfriend rings, tastefully subtle bolo ties that can be worn as pendants, and roadrunner brooches with rich inlays. The statement pieces can go dressy or casual, be underplayed or emphasized for this year’s hot look-Southwest Glam.  And, in classic Wild West fashion, they always go well with denim. Delicate or bold, traditional or contemporary, it’s easy to make this quintessentially American artistry part of your signature style.


By Sara Bir