Category Archives: Lifestyle

RETAIL INNOVATION : Milk Dispenser : Tus Supermarket, Sezana, Slovenia

A cute way to get your pint in the morning.  From what I can gather this milk dispenser outside Tus supermarket in Slovenia churns out fresh milk for 1 Euro per litre – there’s also information on the time and date it was milked.

INSIGHT : A 25 year old LA native talks about her world

What do I do in my spare time?

Being 25 years old and married, much of my time consists of staying at home and being domestic. But just because I’m married doesn’t mean I don’t know how to have a good time. When I’m not playing the homemaker role, I enjoy my nights going out to indie rock music gigs at a club called Spaceland. I also enjoy baking. It sooths my nerves when I’m stressed because it’s something I can do alone, and it doesn’t hurt that when I am done baking that I have a nice yummy treat to eat.

Where do I shop?

Being one of the shopping meccas of the world, there are tons of cool places to shop in Los Angeles. I like shopping on the infamous Melrose Avenue. You can find the coolest vintage shops there, such as Wasteland. If you walk the whole strip, you will hit high end designer stores such as Herve Leger and Fred Segal boutique. And if you’re lucky, you may just run into a celebrity while you are out. Last time I was on Melrose shopping, I crossed paths with Rhianna. Also in LA, we have the Downtown Los Angeles shopping district, where if you hunt hard enough you can find cheap clothes from up and coming designers. If I am feeling ambitious, I will make a trip to the Rose Bowl flea market in Pasadena (which happens every second Sunday of the month), where you can find the best vintage goods cheaply. You can basically find anything and everything at this market from vintage riding boots to antique broaches.

What is your beauty routine?

My mom has worked for a dermatologist for most of my life, so I’ve always been told to take care of my skin. With that said, every morning before I put on my makeup I apply a coat of sunscreen—rain or shine. I use Olay Complete All day Moisture Lotion SPF 15, which serves the function of keeping my face moisturized all day and wrinkle free for years to come.

To maintain a sun-kissed look (which is essential in LA), I use self-tanning lotion.  A lot of women find it necessary to maintain their summer glow by tanning in tanning beds. Because the weather is always nice, California women can show off their skin most of the year. Although “fake and baking” can give a nice glow, it gives premature wrinkles and worst of all it causes cancer, so an easy fix to the “fake and bake” method is self-tanner.

Do you diet?

I am lucky that I’ve been blessed with my mother’s good genes, but I am certainly paranoid that one day my metabolism will catch up with me. I’m not a big eater as it is, but I try and steer clear of carby and unhealthy foods like pizza or French fries. I focus more on eating salads, fruits, and vegis. Being an LA native it is hard to escape the Hollywood media and their view on what is considered beautiful. I have plenty of friends who suffer or have suffered from eating disorders just because of what they see in advertisements and on television, and feel the need to look like Nicole Richie. When I am feeling insecure about what I see in print or tv, I remind myself that these women have personal trainers, starve themselves, and have a good team of Photoshop artists to make them look like a million bucks. I also remind myself and my friends that it’s important to eat right, exercise, and remember that beauty comes from within.

What do you drink when out?

Ok, so maybe I drink more than I would like to admit. But hey, after a hard day at work I think I deserve a glass or two of wine, right?! If I am feeling like a nice hard alcoholic beverage, I go for a vodka and water with lemon. I kid you not, this drink tastes just like lemon water. The only calories you are inducing are the calories from the vodka, so it is a good low-calorie option. Although I drink mostly anything, I steer clear of sugary drinks like Mai Tais, Margaritas, etc… Those drinks will literally make your waist line grow overnight. Not only are they high in carbs, sugars, and calories, they will leave you with a mean hangover the next day.

Top 5 Beauty Must Haves

  1. MAC Studio Fix Fluid foundation with SPF 15. If you have a crater on your face, this stuff will cover it up. It also has SPF 15, which protects you skin from the sun damage.
  2. Nars blush in Orgasm. It gives the cheeks a nice and shimmery pink glow. I use this on my eyes too for a natural shimmer.
  3. Clinique Brush-On Cream Eyeliner. This is the liquid eyeliner every woman should have. It goes on smoothly and does not smudge.
  4. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. My mom let me in on this secret early on. It removes make-up easily while cleansing and moisturizing your face. It’s great for people with dry skin.
  5. MAC Viva Glam Matte red lipsick. 1 word: SEXY!

INSIGHT : Her World – A 15 year Old Talks


What do I do in my spare time?

In my spare time I tend to dither between two extremes.
Extreme number one being going out and not coming home for three days- going to gigs and house parties, friends houses, festivals and big cities. I tend to befriend people older than myself so spending a couple days in Glasgow or at some bizarre hippie festival is never really an issue with my lovely parents.
We love going to see live music- our most recent ventures being a little festival on the west coast of Scotland called Knockengorroch and a Julian Casablancas and Patrick Wolf gig or two, not forgetting the  bunch of nameless ska bands we see on a regular basis.
Me my assortment of adorable misfit friends enjoy a semi permanent sofa at our favorite coffee place in Edinburgh. The Forest Cafe does cheap and organic food like humus pita breads and big pots of ginger tea! They have live music in the evenings and yoga workshops in the day time- which I am yet to attend.
Extreme number two is much less interesting and consists of sitting about in my PJ’s eating badly made potato wedges with far too much mayonnaise. I spend all day watching films, reading magazines and blogs and scribbling ideas in tatty notebooks.

Where do I shop?

My favorite places to shop in Edinburgh are Urban Outfitters, Vintage shops and Charity shops.
Urban outfitters is new to Edinburgh and although quite expensive I do shop there a lot. The interior of the shop is really beautiful and unique- it’s all bare brick walls, ancient lamp stands and mannequins, really vintage kitsch wallpapers and huge book shelves stacked high with coffee table flick throughs. Sometimes I will see an item of clothing I like but really can’t afford and I will try to find a cheaper vintage version- which involves maximum trawling.
My favorite vintage stores in Edinburgh are called Armstrong’s and The Rusty Zip- they are both hectic and full of charm and character -oh, and are very very cheap. Charity shops are so underrated! Thanks to my embarrassing and slightly pushy mother I have been wearing charity shop clothes all my life. I now have her to thank for being on the secret wonder of them. First appearances can be deceiving with charity shop clothes. I often find a dress down to my ankles and take it up to a suitable length and reveal its glory or some knackered old shoes that just need a couple buttons sewn on. When charity shopping I often come across really well dressed art students who are also after a bargain and seeing the way they dress is often really inspiring.

Magazines, blogs, music, books and films

I love love love reading magazines and keep discovering new ones recently. I really like i-D, Dazed and Confused, Pop and Lula. I started reading these overpriced wonders a couple of months ago because of their alluring covers. I love it that they don’t just focus on fashion – it’s all about film, arts and music as well. I think that reading them I feel like I’m doing more than just looking at pictures of clothes I could never really afford. Then blogs were discovered and I have been slightly addicted to reading them since! It’s far too easy to have one to many coffees and stay up until 2am reading blogs! My favorites are ‘hello mr fox’, ‘cheapskate chic’, ‘frills and thrills’, ‘lilliebe’ and ‘discotheque confusion’. I recently started my own blog which is still pretty crappy but is just a way of keeping track of media I like and thoughts and whatnot I can share with friends. I called it ‘whimsical clutter’ because its just random dreamy scraps of thoughts I’ve had and almost lost cluttered together sort of messily. At the moment I love listening to Toro y Moi, Washed Out, Tame Impala, Girls and all the classics like David Bowie, Captain Beefheart and the Rolling stones. My favorite films are Withnail and I, Performance, The Science of Sleep, Labyrinth and James and the Giant Peach. I like ancient nostalgic movies and animations. I also like some French films like Amelie, The Dreamers, Dans Paris, J’taime Paris and Belleville Rondevu.

Ambition?

I would quite like to write for one of the magazines I have previously reeled off and travel about the place taking pictures and writing stories or something. Thinking about the future and all the daunting prospects it will bring is pretty terrifying but the more I think about it the more I see I would probably be happy as an infamous mummy in a pretty house who can afford to eat good food and buy nice clothes. A friend of mine really wants to be a photographer and has the ambition and drive. She has worked so hard to get the money she needed to buy a decent camera and takes pictures regularly. She will round us all up and instruct us to bring our prettiest clothes and a picnic and we will all up and run off somewhere like a field, a forest or a scrap yard.

A Scrapyard Tea Party

Internet

Blogs, Youtube, Facebook and email i guess are my main sites. I really love the site ‘style like u’ where people with great wardrobes rake through them and talk about them for you. Facebook is a really great way of sharing pictures and sending out invites to events. The instant chat is annoying and temperamental but can be helpful when you want an immediate reply from someone.

Nice things

My favorite look for models at the moment is the flat messy curly hair with a middleish parting – I love models like Lara Stone, Abby Lee and Georgia Jagger for their big lips and gappy teeth. The actress Anna Paquin also has the gappy teeth thing going. I love slight imperfections in people. Sometimes it’s the imperfections that make them look perfect. I love fish tail plaits in blond hair and red lips on pale skin. I really love the knackered old boots with bleached out jeans and baggy vests or ankle socks and a little nautical dress or night gowns and plaid shirts. I love mixing different eras together. At the moment I really love mixing sort of victorian under garments and nightwear with nineties grungy boots jeans and over sized shirts hoodies and jackets. I love high heeled lace up ankle boots that look to big for the body they are attached to and little blazers. I love bleached out and over exposed photography and really fantastical set ups like Tim Walker does.

Who do I admire and not admire?

I really like Coco Sumners style- I’ve seen her wearing pajama tops as day shirts which is completely off the wall but I really like her staple of little denim cut offs, a stripy t shirt and a tartan scarf. I don’t know how she makes it work but she does!

http://stylelikeu.com/

http://discothequeconfusion.blogspot.com/

http://www.hellomrfox.blogspot.com/

Beauty Routine

I am fairly relaxed with my beauty routine- I don’t even think what i do has much routine. Really it all depends on things like whether I have had enough money that week to buy another face scrub or gel or whether I am at a friends or extremely tired. Usually I will take off my makeup with a basic wet wipe and then rinse my face with cold water after brushing my teeth but its not exactly like that leads to amazing skin as I don’t actually have amazing skin. My skin usually improves by not using posh skin products and just drinking lots of water and using a good moisturizer.  My favorite moisturizer is a really thick and heavy butter from Crabtree and Evelyn. It’s nutmeg, cardamom and coco butter or something equally yummy. Living in the cold and windy Scotland can lead to really icky dry skin if you’re not careful.

For about two years I have permanently used what I believe to be the best concealer in the world. It’s just a Max Factor Pan Stick except it is so very thick and smells great. Its actually not very kind to your skin but it does hide all the imperfections I can’t be bothered dealing with. On my eyes I only really wear mascara these days and I’m not fussy as to which brand it is or anything. I usually wear bright red lipstick on a daily basis just to brighten up my appearance and give my boring school uniform a bit of a kick.

Diets

I go through fazes of hating my figure – the enormous hips my dear mother kindly gave me go in and out of fashion with me. Sometimes I will do everything I can to hide them and other times I will want to accentuate them to their…umm most accentuated? Most of my friends have really speedy metabolisms so they don’t have to worry about anything…but a couple of friends have really unhealthy dieting habits. When I diet I live off tuna fish, salad, dried and fresh fruits and nuts but that never lasts very long and I always cave in to cravings. Most friends just cut out most of the food they need to live off which also never lasts long. It just ends up that when we go out they do daft things like drink vodka (on account of it being less calorific than wine or something) on an empty stomach. So I have basically just came to the conclusion that everything I do and eat, I should do and eat in moderation and I should stay healthy and alive!

TREND : Free information & Stylist magazine

It’s new, it’s free, and it’s really really good.  Stylist is a quality women’s weekly which comes out every Wednesday and can be found at tube stations around London as well as in other locations around the country.  It’s not about the daily news, more about everything else us women might be interested in – put across with upbeat and interesting editorial, stylish art direction and great fashion and beauty content.  There’s no obvious celeb factor but even so, publications like Grazia must be shaking in their knee-high boots. 

It’s interesting to see how much free stuff there is now for consumers.  Even the Evening Standard announced it would become free –  and that carries a glossy magazine on a friday too.  

Picture 2

PRODUCT WATCH : LA : Beverages

What’s happening in LA? : Beverages @ Wholefoods / grocery stores

1. Ayala’s Herbal Water The herbs in this beverage serve as flavouring rather than a health benefit which is a shame.  

2. Quinoa Gold Quinoa is only just starting to be recognized as a healthy food in the UK – although I’m not sure if many Brits could tell you exactly what it is and how you cook with it.  I’m only familiar with this grain as a baking / salad ingredient so I was interested to see it being used in a beverage (the new rice milk?). Claims to be the only beverage made with Quinoa.  The grain is high protein, antioxidant and contains “all 9 essential amino acids for life”.

3. Grainiassance Amazake Rice Shake Rice drinks go more decadent and almost meal replacements with tempting flavours such as Cool Cocunut with Almonds, Vanilla Gorilla and Tiger Chai. Made from organic whole grain brown rice. 

4. GT Kombucha & Synergy Teas made from a superfood kind of fungus.  Contain probiotics (as well as a host of other healthful ingredients).  Liked the packaging.

5. FloraVita 2000 An infusion of fruits and berries with flower of the black elder tree.  Claims to have anti-viral properties. 

6. Goodbelly Probiotic Fruit Drinks Dairy-free probiotic drinks with added multivitamin – carton sized as well as grab and go-s.  Nice identity. 

7. So Delicious Coconut Milk Move over soy – there’s a new product in the milk aisle! Loving the idea of coconut milk as a milk substitute…I wonder if it’s too sickly to make a latte out of? I also saw ice cream and yoghurt made out of coconut milk (Turtle Mountain range and Larry and Luna’s Organic Coconut Bliss)

8. Neuro Drinks A range of functional drinks with an eye catching if not slightly showergel kind of bottle design.  There are 7 different variants each with their own benefit – these range from weightloss and hydration to mental alertness and improved libido.  The Neuro Bliss variant which “promotes relaxation and improves mood” contains one of my all time favourite and under used supplements, Rhodiola Rosea.

Trends for the UK?

Of the trends and concepts above I think probiotic drinks and functional drinks (especially for cognitive enhancement) will go mainstream here.  I’m also thinking that the terms ‘anti-viral’ / anti-bacterial’ may become more commonly used (desired) when describing health benefits.

LA drinks

Ayala's Herbal Water, Quinoa Gold, Amazake Rice Shake, GT Kombucha

La Drinks 2

GT Synergy, Floravita2000, Goodbelly Probiotic Fruit Drink, So Delicious Coconut Milk, Neuro Sport

PRODUCT WATCH : LA : Crisps /snacking

What’s happening in LA? : Crisps/ snacks @ Wholefoods

1. Falafel chips – made with chickpeas, an apparently healthy crisp which is high in protein and Middle Eastern flavour. 

2. Hippie Chips with hemp (seed)- another healthy crisp option which claims to have 50% less fat than regular crisps.  I love the fun hippy name – very en vogue – but it’s a shame that they don’t offer some kind of omega benefit which hemp is known for. 

3. Glenny’s Soy Crisps – think these have been around for a while…low fat (s0me as low as 1g of fat per bag) and healthier than ‘regular’ crisps.

4. Dried Mulberries– look a bit like anaemic raspberries, apparently high in antioxidants including the resveratrol.

5. Terramazon Sachi Inchi – seeds from the fruit of a herbaceous vine native to the Amazon rainforest.  Rich in omega 3,6 and 9. 

6. Terramazon Yacon slices – melon tasting semi dried slices taken from the root of the Yacon plant.  Amongst other benefits these are prebiotic.

Snacks LAFalafel Chips, Hippie Chips with hemp, Glenny’s Soy Crisps, Terramazon Yacon slices

Fro-yo

Frozen yoghurt is big business in the US – particularly in SoCal where a mild weather lifestyle meets a health conscious consumer.  Despite issues with market saturation and the economic downturn, fro-yo still remains popular and it is slowly growing a fanbase in the UK with a number of joints popping up over London and the South East.  Frozen yoghurt is the ultimate healthy snack being (generally) fat-free, delicious and tastes kind of like ice cream.  Due to its frozen nature, it also takes a while to eat – so you get to indulge for longer and eat less calories than you would with a stack of biscuits or a chocolate bar.

Trends in the UK?

Whether we see soy or hemp crisps on our shelves or not, it’s certain that more innovative, healthier snack options will be available to the consumer soon. For example, take Pret founder Julian Metcalfe’s Skinny popcorn – at approx 3g of fat a bag, it’s a far better choice nutritionally than a packet of crisps – it tastes yummy too.  And with fro-yo – cute, small independent operations are opening up all over London – but might this extend to the big boys too? Sushi chain Itsu (another Julian Metcalfe venture) offers this healthy treat so could we see coffee chains or even McDonalds following suit?

STRATEGY : My Comments to Starbucks Customer Service

A little while ago I spoke to a charming and very efficient customer services representative at Starbucks about an issue I had with their loyalty card.

Although that issue was resolved seamlessly, I also felt the need to suggest the following :

1 : Offer auto top-up on company loyalty card : it’s a faff topping up a loyalty card as the process involves 2 card transactions – particularly off-putting at peak times (when you are most likely to be in there). Plus, why add something else to do to someone’s ever increasing list of things to do? I generally don’t bother to top up and instead pay with money or a debit card (1 transaction).  Also, when it comes to my caffeine habit I like to follow an ignorance is bliss strategy – I’d rather not know how much I’m spending on external coffees when I should be making them all at home.  By having to constantly top up myself I am only too aware of this expense. 

2 : Offer organic milk : Starbucks is really behind its competitors with this one.  The company focus on Fair Trade which is great, but I’m equally concerned with organic when it comes to milk – I want milk from cows who have a better diet and have grazed on grass. I’m sure I’m not alone on this one.