Saturday, January 31, 2009

Vegan On The Weekend: Trip To The Shore

I am going to the Jersey Shore this weekend for a girls' night at the shore -- we're going to watch movies and have massages and, of course, eat -- my contribution is vegan chocolate chip cookies (recipe via The Joy of Vegan Baking), vegan mocha chocolate muffins with coffee-infused frosting (recipes via Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World), vegan blueberry muffins (recipe via The Joy of Vegan Baking), and vegan apricot bean dip (recipe via Bush's vegetarian baked beans -- mine turned out a bit more soupy than the online picture, although it still solidly stays on tortilla chips).

Although it's still very cold, preparing for going to a beach house made me think of actually going to the beach. And then I remembered a magazine I received from Nordstrom at the beginning of January which highlighted tons of beach and summer wear -- some vegan. Here are a few items I especially covet; as an aside, I don't actually like to go in the water at the beach, or, really, uncover more than minimal amounts of skin, which may explain some of my choices:

Laundry by Shelli Segal Anorak: I love the bubble bottom and the drawstring waist and the buckle tabs at the convertible sleeves (so I can say: see, I am wearing short(ish) sleeves!). The coat comes in the pictured khaki (left) and black. Made from cotton and nylon; $138.

On the topic of spring/summer-weight coats, I also like the Calvin Klein "Asymmetric Trench," which comes in aqua (bright blue) and yellow--two colors that are a bit much for me, even in the summer, but lovely nonetheless. It's made from cotton and spandex, and is $148.

To wear to the beach to maintain maximum cover-up, while still appearing "beachy," I recommend James Perse's "Racer-Back Maxi Dress" (pictured right in the "deep"). Some may say this isn't beach appropriate -- but I love the length and the dark color and think it will look great over a bikini. The dress also comes in black, porcupine (grey), and vintage (white). Made from cotton; $155.

Finally, while on the beach, keeping time is of the essence (for those sunscreen applications, of course!). While flipping through the "magazine," Zodiak's "SeaDragon" watches caught my eye. Stainless steel case with a rubber strap. Comes in three colors combinations (see left). My favorite is the turquoise with the pink face. The watch is $150.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday's Accessory: Christopher Drummond Beauty Vegan Makeup

Christopher Drummond -- a former fashion model who is now (or once was?) Eve Ensler's personal makeup artist (among many other professional activities) -- has created a line of "luxury" cosmetics that are vegan (note: except for the lipgloss). Praise him! Vegan! If only they were a teeny bit less expensive.

I haven't tried the products, but my favorite based on the packaging (a dark violet glass jar!) and my current makeup need is the powder/cream Veludo Velvet Foundation (pictured right). The 8g container is $65 . . . and it comes with a flat top synthetic brush to apply the foundation, which offsets the cost a bit. A sample size is $4.99 (here).

Find all the products and more information about Christopher Drummond Beauty here.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

End-of-Season Sweaters

As the winter weather abates (slowly), sweaters go on sale (rapidly). In addition to its mass of cashmere sweaters, Bluefly has a few vegan-friendly sweaters on sale -- reduced up to 75% off. Such as this Generra cowl neck sweater, which comes in the pictured black (left) and grey. I enjoy the rib knit hem. Made from 60% cotton and 40% acrylic. Originally $198, Bluefly is offering it for $88.99 (55% off). Find it here.

I also enjoy this Elie Tahari "Greta" jeweled long cardigan (pictured right) -- especially the rounded jeweled cardigan and the patch pockets with the same jeweled applique. This could be one of those items perfect for transitioning from the work day to evenings out to weekends requiring fancy-casual attire. Made from viscose, polyamide, and elastane. Originally $498, Bluefly has it on sale for $213.99 (still expensive at 57% off). Find it here.

Finally, Inhabit's 100% cotton long black wrap cardigan is on sale for $89.99 (originally $288 -- 69% off). This is probably a weekend-only item, although it may be able to be stashed in the office in case of over-air-conditioning. Find the wrap cardigan here.

Thursday's Work Appropriate Clothing Item: Magaschoni Ruffled Shirt

Because it's important to post something ludicrously expensive every so often . . . and I am in love with the rhinestone buttons and the ruffles on this shirt, especially the ruffles lining the puffed sleeves. Perfect to go with a skirt or pant suit . . . and great for the daytime-to-evening transition. Made from cotton and spandex. It is an outrageous $268. Via Nieman Marcus here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wednesday's Work Appropriate Shoes: Winter Boots

Not exactly work appropriate in the office, but definitely appropriate for getting to the office. Victoria's Secret has a huge (in terms of number and occasionally in terms of discount) sale on boots (and other shoes, most not vegan) going on right now -- such as these Madden Girl "pom-pom" boots (pictured right in both the black and brown colors). Made from polyurethane with acrylic faux fur. Originally $69, they are now $47.99.

For more rainy than snowy days, consider these Colin Stuart wedge boots (pictured left in the three available colors). Made entirely from acrylic and polyester. Note that they have a 3" wedge, which may make them less useful for their apparent purpose of trudging through rain and slush. Originally $105, they are now $49.99.

There is also these Report wedge boots (here), which seem to be made from polyester and faux suede and faux leather, although the online description is not entirely clear (originally $110, on sale for $69.99).

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tuesday's Work-Appropriate Clothing Item: Banana Republic's Short Sleeve Blouse

To go with Banana Republic's suit posted yesterday, of course. Though it's still freezing and rain-snowing where I live, this blouse was too cute not to post. And it's guaranteed to warm up at some point. The blouse comes in 4 colors: white, dark eggplant, bella blue, and the sweet plum pictured left. The sweet plum makes me long for spring. The blouse is made from 98% cotton and 2% spandex. It is $59, but I'm sure shortly Banana Republic will put it on sale. Available here.

For guys, Banana Republic makes a classic non-iron shirt that comes in a very similar evocative-of-spring color (lavender perfection; pictured right). I love guys in light purple / mauve shirts. If the lavender is too much for you, it also comes in medium blue, light blue, grey, and white. The shirt is $79, although I'm sure that Banana Republic will put it on sale too. Find it here.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Monday's Vegan Suit: Banana Republic's Sleek Suit

4 colors, 2 pant options, and a matching skirt: Banana Republic's spring-summer-fall-weight casual (think semi-khaki-ish) suit is perfect for business occasions that require a suit, but not a full-out I'm-going-to-kick-your-butt black suit. The suit is made from 56% cotton, 41% rayon, and 3% lycra. As an added bonus, it's machine washable -- which, of course, also means that it looks rather casual.

My favorite color is the "silky coal" (the color of the blazer pictured right) -- other colors are black, moonlight, and stardust (a light blue). The "silky coal" is dark, but with a relaxed tone. I especially like the pleats at the top of the blazer's sleeves, which add a bit of a feminine flare. The jacket was originally $150 and now is on sale for $105 (I think Banana Republic is having some online 40% off special - which may end shortly). Find the blazer here.

The blazer matches the Martin sleek straight pant (my pick to go with the blazer; pictured left; available here); the Jackson sleek wide-leg pant (note these pants are dry clean only; here), and the sleek A-line skirt (here). Both pants originally were $78 and are on sale for $55.30. The skirt was originally $59 and is on sale for $41.30. The pants come in petite, short, and regular lengths.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Vegan During The Weekend: The Traveling Vegan

Stella McCartney's Le Sportsac "check in case" is great for weekend excursions and, with a full-size garment sleeve included, even better for business traveling -- not having to check baggage is key because chances are the partner or executive you are traveling with isn't checking baggage. At its original $395, it was way too expensive in my opinion, but Kitson has it on sale for $197.50, which is slightly more reasonable -- mainly because I am willing to spend more for carry-on luggage that has wheels that look sturdy and I really like the separate shoe compartment at the bottom. Kitson has it on sale in the navy (pictured) and the bark. I would choose the navy because I think it's a more professional color and, more importantly, less likely to get dirty. Available here.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday's Accessory: Aprons

If you're vegan, at some point you likely are going to have to cook and bake for yourself. I make a batch of vegan muffins every weekend and eat one at work for breakfast every morning. By Friday, I'm a bit bored with the same vegan muffin, but the system works for me. Along with cooking and baking comes kitchen mess. Aprons don't cut down on the kitchen mess, but they do provide a place other than the back of your jeans to wipe your hands. And there are some really cute aprons out there . . . all the more reason to bake!

A few of my favorites are via Layla Grayce, such as this "songbird" apron (pictured right). 100% cotton, machine washable. It is $22, which, to me, seems reasonable enough for an apron. I also enjoy the "french toile" apron ($22) and the "hostess" apron in onyx ($29), which, apparently, was featured on Oprah.

Anthropologie also carries aprons, such as this waterleaf half apron (pictured left). I think this half apron would look especially nice with dark jeans . . . although, you're cooking, and I believe matching while cooking isn't all that necessary. Made from 100% cotton; the apron is $24. It matches the waterleaf mitt and waterleaf potholder, $10 each, available here.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thursday's Work Appropriate Clothing Item: "Shop Around The Corner" Top

The delicate pleats, the fluffy arms, the bib collar, the light pink color, and, of course, the large tie-like bow at the neck make this top perfect to wear under suits, with a skirt, and/or out at night with skinny jeans. It's conservative, yet feminine and sassy. The top is 100% polyester. And at $34.99, buying the top won't break the bank. It's available through ModCloth (one of my favorite online stores) here.

If you're not into the pink or the short sleeves, check out this "sugar and spice" blouse also via ModCloth (pictured right). Also made from 100% polyester, I particularly enjoy the bow/tie-combo neckline. However, I'm not sure about the buttons up the sheer back that shows off the accompanying cami underneath. The back might make me wary of removing my jacket in the office during the day. Originally $69.99, it's on sale for $52.49 (25% off).

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wednesday's Work Appropriate Bag: Laptop Bags

My personal-use laptop is really small -- the old version Sony Vaio's TT series (here) -- 11" screen, 3 lbs, easy to slip in and out of my bag at the airport checkpoint. I carry it in a Built NY small laptop sleeve (here) and put it in whatever tote I am using at the moment. But I realize that others do not have (and maybe do not want) such small laptops, and that it is troublesome to remove the laptop from the sleeve at the checkpoint. So now that airports allow you to leave your laptop in the case as long as the case is TSA compliant, here are some ideas for security checkpoint friendly laptop bags:

CODi Phantom CT3 Checkpoint Tested Laptop Bag (pictured left): made from ballistic nylon, the bag hinges so that you can leave your laptop in the bag through the scanning tunnel at the airport. However, the bag is 14" x 11" x 3", so it doesn't fit all laptops. Originally $225, it is on sale at ebags for $149.99. Find it here.

Aerovation's Checkpoint Friendly Laptop Bag: this bag also is TSA compliant (it hinges too), although I don't think it looks as nice as the CODi bag. Big enough for a 15.4" or 17" screen and weighs a little over 3 lbs. The 15.4" screen version is $129.95 and the 17" screen version is $149.95.

And, finally, for Apple users, check out Incipio's QuickCheck “Check Point Friendly” Notebook Carrying Case (pictured right). Though not a case with a sturdy handle, I enjoy the sleek design on this carrying case that comes in 4 different sizes: MacBook Air ($44.99), MacBook 13" ($44.99), MacBook Pro 15" ($44.99), and MacBook Pro 17" ($49.99). All cases are TSA compliant; they are made from nylon and come with a removable/adjustable shoulder strap.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tuesday's Work Appropriate Clothing Item: Braid Jacket

Sophisticated, yet relaxed, I really like this "braid jacket" I found on Le Train Bleu's website (pictured right). I think it would be great for days in the office when you want to look slightly more than business casual, but don't want to wear a full suit. Pair it with slim fit pants and a pair of high (3 or 4 inch) heels - and I would wear a cami or shell underneath. The jacket is made from viscose, polyester, and spandex. It is on sale for $146.30 (don't know what it was originally).

Find it here.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday's Vegan Suit: White House Black Market Tuxedo Suit

I went shopping at the King of Prussia mall yesterday (when the Eagles game was on - I correctly anticipated that the mall was relatively empty). I purchased a black vegan suit on sale from White House Black Market. The jacket was reduced, which possibly is why I can't find it online. The jacket is their "tuxedo" jacket -- semi-shiny black material with one covered button at the front, one covered button at each sleeve, and a black tie thing in the back (see jacket front right, jacket back left). The jacket is made from polyester, viscose, and spandex. Originally $168, it was on sale for $99.99 and I got it 40% off that price for $59.99. Based on the White House Black Market I shopped at, there are a bunch of these jackets floating around on sale.

I paired the jacket with White House Black Market's black "legacy tux" pant, which match the jacket's fabric perfectly and which were also on sale (although they are not on sale online). The pants I got look exactly like the ones I linked to online and pictured right, except I don't think they are lightly lined. Originally $98, the pants were on sale for $69.99 and I got them 40% off that price for $41.99.

In total, the suit was $101.98! Again, based on the White House Black Market I shopped at, there are a bunch of these complete suits in random sizes floating around on sale.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

New Vegan Sneakers!

Late last week, my co-worker and I ventured to the mall in search of a vegan suit. I haven't decided on the suit yet, but when we were out, I purchased Rocket Dog vegan sneakers on super sale at Macy's. The pair I purchased is pictured left. I've been wearing them this weekend and they are very comfortable. The best feature is that they have a Lycra upper that makes them very easy to slip on and off (no untying of laces necessary!), which will be great for days that require extensive walking on the street necessitating switching from pumps to sneakers. I got the sneakers for $27 at Macy's (originally $55); the best price I can find online is $37.99 (here). In addition to the grey I purchased, the sneakers come in black and white, pink, and taupe (all available via the same link).

Vegan During The Weekend: Pleo the Dinosaur

I admit -- the minute I saw the Pleo baby dinosaur snuggling with Diane Sawyer, I wanted one. He (according to the manufacturer UGOBE's website -- wish "he" came in a female and/or gender-neutral version!) is just too huggable and snuggable . . . and, best of all, unlike a live animal, can be turned off. I think that feature is much cooler than arguably the coolest features: Pleo is autonomous (doesn't require a remote control), "develops" like an actual animal, has emotions, and interacts with you according to signals you give him (i.e. if you abuse Pleo, he gets angry and may develop a "personality" disorder). Hence, Pleo is perfect for busy professionals who occasionally want to snuggle with a little creature, but then really need that creature to be quiet and go away so work can get done.

Before posting, I emailed UGOBE's customer service to inquire whether Pleo is vegan. According to customer service, no animal products are used in Pleo's exterior "skin," although they do not know if any of the glue or other compounds holding Pleo together contain animal products.

Pleo is $349 if purchased through UGOBE's website (here). However, Pleo is currently on sale a for $229 (free shipping). Here's a useful link:

Friday, January 16, 2009

Recent News Articles of Note

A couple articles from the Wall Street Journal this Thursday (1/15/09) caught my attention:

"A Stylist Dresses Skinny": interesting take on how to hide that extra holiday weight; the author wears three-to-four-inch heels and boots to improve her posture, which she claims helps hide the extra weight. I especially enjoy the pumps in the picture that accompanied the article (see right); I'm not sure if I like the zipper-accented jeans, which the author claims to wear because it draws attention to her legs and away from her mid-section where most her weight-gain lands. If Te Casan's website ever stopped being under construction, I would post some Nathalie Portman vegan pumps that look very similar -- but, no such luck.

"Keeping Your Hands Warm and Texting, Too": highlights four pairs of gloves designed to be compatible with iPod and iPhone so hands don't freeze while texting while walking down the street. Some of the gloves aren't vegan, but all come in a vegan-alternative. I'm tempted to visit a North Face store and try my iPhone with the North Face E-Tip Gloves (pictured left; at $40, the most expensive, but also the coolest looking -- and vegan). Unfortunately, for those of us who don't leave the office or don't live near a North Face store, the gloves are sold out online, which might be informative of their effectiveness. Find out more about them here.

Friday's Accessory: RuMe Bag

Reusable bags are quite popular -- my favorite is the RuMe because it comes in two sizes, a variety of colors, and looks more put-together and professional than other reusable bags, so it can be used as a lunch bag or a document holder. The small (Mini) version is perfect for bringing lunch or snacks to the office and the large (Macro) version is perfect for storing and lugging around documents; small holds up to 30 lbs and large holds up to 50 lbs. And they both are great for the environment: reusable, washable, and water-resistant. They can be rolled together and easily stored in a glove compartment, desk drawer, etc. Or give them as gift bags as part of a gift. The bags are made from 100% polyester in a South Korean Fair Trade Factory.

The minis are $8.95 each or three for $28; the macros are $11.95 each or three for $38. Find them here.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thursday's Work Appropriate Clothing Item: BeBe Pants

Black, slim fit, with little pintucks, but with an appropriate rise ("lower mid-rise") makes these BeBe "Pressed Pintuck Lulu" pants (pictured left) a perfect pant for business casual offices or for casual Friday or for a quiet night out. I would wear them to the office on the weekend too if your office isn't really all that weekend casual.

The pants are made from polyester, viscose, and spandex. Originally $129, the pants are on sale for $79. They are available in sizes 00-10. Find them here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wednesday's Work Appropriate Shoes: "Carnaby Shoes"

These men's pointy-toed oxford black shoes are new via Vegetarian Shoes (pictured right). I have a feeling that they will be despised by many, though men's pointy shoes have been appearing in fashion magazines of late (from which I have learned that they are appearing on runways of late also), so, perhaps, they will be praised by some. The shoes are made from animal-friendly "vegetan." They come in the pictured black and white (with contrasting black laces). The shoes are 60 British pounds -- which translates to about $88.

The black are available here; the white here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tuesday's Work Appropriate Clothing Item: Nanette Lepore Top

I really enjoy the soft, petal-like cut-outs and bow-like tie at the neckline of Nanette Lepore's "Needin' Me" top (pictured left), which is on sale via Nordstrom. The top is made from rayon, polyamide, and elastane. Though the downward pointing cut-out might be a bit low for some, I think that can be easily remedied by wearing a cami underneath. And the top is great for work-to-evening transition and will add a splash of color to a black or grey suit. The top comes in the pictured red ("crimson") and "antique ivory," an off-white. Originally $195, it is on sale for $116.90 (40% off), and, as of posting, is available in both colors in all sizes.

Find the top here.

Revised Format

Because I am generally overwhelmed with the multitude of vegan-friendly professional clothing and accessory items, especially as designers and stores gear up for the summer months when wool and silk are not as prevalent, I have decided to streamline the format of The Professional Vegan. Instead of randomly blogging about items as I stumble upon them on the Internet, each day of the week will have a theme, as outlined below:

Monday -- to start the work week off right, a vegan suit will be highlighted.

Tuesday -- to continue wading through the beginning of the work week, a single item of work-appropriate vegan clothing either for women or men will be highlighted.

Wednesday -- in recognition of hump day, one pair of vegan shoes, either women's or men's, or a handbag will be highlighted.

Thursday -- for a final push through the end of the work week, another single item of work-appropriate vegan clothing either for women or men will be highlighted.

Friday -- in recognition of the impending weekend, a vegan accessory of any sort (jewelry, home, handbag, shoes) will be highlighted.

Saturday / Sunday -- at some point during the weekend, a single item of vegan weekend-wear or a non-work-week-appropriate accessory will be highlighted.

And because I cannot remain entirely regimented, The Professional Vegan will intersperse link posts and short essays regarding life as a professional vegan among the above detailed posts.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Coffee Cup Holders - Part 3

My friends recently visited the San Francisco MOMA and noticed this reusable coffee cup holder (pictured left); they took a picture and forwarded it to me because I'm so into reusable coffee cup holders lately (see here and here). This one is made from silicone and is dishwasher safe, which makes it my favorite of the three reusable coffee cup holder options. It also is appropriate for use with glasses and cold beverages, which makes it even better. I searched the SF MOMA store website, but can't find it. Apparently it's also available at The Container Store, although I searched their website and can't find it online there either.

My searching did reveal that it comes in a variety of colors, such as light blue, pink (fuschetta), and brown -- and that the pink can be found here for $5; the green here for $5.50; and the brown here for $4.95. The green and brown are on sale for $2.69 here via Sur La Table, although I think quantities are very limited.

While searching the SF MOMA website, I stumbled across this rubber vase (pictured left in the red), which I think would make an interesting home or office accessory. The website notes that the edges can be folded down to create a holder for pencils, kitchen utensils, bread sticks. The vase comes in red and black and is $32. Available here.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Vegan Laptop Tote For Women on Sale

Kenneth Cole's "Single-Gusset Top-Zip Tote/Computer Case" (pictured right) is on sale at Macy' The bag is made from a vegan-microfiber with PVC trim, though I'm not sure if the glue binding the bag together is vegan. It's interior is padded to accommodate laptops with up to 15.4" screens. The base is 5" wide -- so, I assume it can hold a large book and some folders along with the laptop. Originally $180, the bag is on sale for $71.99.

Find it here.

Cute Skirt -- Vegan and On Sale

Mod Cloth, one of my favorite online shopping websites, is holding its "post holiday circus sale" (ends Sunday). I really like this "sociable chevron skirt" (pictured right), both because it's longish (probably falls just below the knees) and because the name reminds me of the famous Chevron case from admin law (I know, that's a bit dorky). Depending on your office environment, I think the skirt is appropriate any day of the week if paired with a blazer, cardigan, or fancy blouse, or perhaps only on "casual Friday." The skirt is 92% polyester and 8% spandex. As of posting, it is available in small and medium. Originally $39.99, it's now $20.

I also like this "ski club" jacket (pictured left), although it definitely is a weekend wardrobe piece. The website says it's appropriate for autumn and chillier fall weather. It's made from 100% polyester. As of posting, it is available in small, medium, and large. Originally $64.99, it's now $32.50.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Recent Wall Street Journal Article of Note

In "The White Shirt: A Roving Quest For Perfection," Wall Street Journal reporter Christina Binkley is on the hunt for the perfect white shirt for men. She writes: "In recent years, men turned to shirt colors as vibrant as the booming economy. But we are now in an era of restraint, and a simple white dress shirt sends a savvy message. It says a man is ready for work and isn't vamping for attention."

I agree; white shirts, especially on men, are classic and conservative and send a message that the man means business, but in a nice, respectful way. The article profiles about a dozen white shirts for men that range the price spectrum. As with most men's shirts, all the shirts are vegan. Read the article here; and find pictures of and details about some of the discussed shirts here.

More Vegan Cosmetics!

One of my friends from way back in the day -- we've known each other since we were three years old -- recently started a makeup company with her sister called KristenLaura Cosmetics. The company is based out of the Farmington Valley Area of Connecticut and ships its products nationwide. It offers a full line of cosmetics -- the powder products including foundation, eyeshadows, blush, and bronzer are vegan. My favorite is the stardust (a light gold) shimmer eyeshadow because I like to stay neutral with my eyeshadow tones, but enjoy the extra glimmer.

Check the vegan makeup out here.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Decorate Your Home, Vegan-Style

Though busy vegan professionals may not truly "see" and live in their homes (a.k.a. apartments) beyond stumbling through the front door late at night only to depart less than ten hours later, every so often these professionals are called upon to entertain at their homes -- and then, furniture and decor matter. It is often the cute accents that serve as conversation starters or that add that extra special something to a home's atmosphere which causes visitors to declare, "you have a lovely home" -- which every vegan professional intent on excelling wants to hear. And even if you don't entertain as part of your career, it is nice to have a few interesting home accessories for those times you are actually at home.

Here are a couple ideas via Branch, "sustainable design for living." Branch's website claims that all of the products it sells are "sustainable" such that they meet three criteria: (1) the materials used are "environmentally responsible" (an example is recycled tires); (2) the manufacturing process must be ecologically sound; and (3) the labor employed must be treated fairly and provided safe, healthy conditions in which to work.

Egg Plants (red pepper plant pictured left): unglazed white ceramic pot in the shape of an egg placed on a terra cotta dish holds a tiny plant. The plants come in red pepper (here) and strawberry (here) varieties. The eggs are pre-soiled and the seeds are already embedded in the soil. All you need to do is crack the top of the "egg," place it on terra cotta dish, water the thing every so often, put it in a sunny spot, and watch the plant grow. The plants are perfect for the windowsill in your kitchen or even for your office. $12 each.

Matching 16" serving trays, low bowls, large bowls, medium bowls, and mini bowls in a variety of colors (serving trays pictured right and mini bowls pictured left): all made from 100% organically-grown bamboo, a non-toxic water-based adhesive, and lacquered with something derived from cashew nuts. These matching serving trays and bowls are great for putting out the snacks that are necessary to any good party. Mix and match the colors and sizes to create a coordinated, yet contemporary look. The mini bowls are $13 (available here); the medium bowls are $17 each (available here); large bowls are $48 (available here); the low bowls are $34 each (available here); and the serving trays are $23 each (available here). Throw in some curvy servers to match; $12 each, available here.

I found Branch through Daily Candy deals -- 25% off all items from Branch (excluding furniture and reduced items) -- enter code DCBRANCH at checkout. I'm not sure how long the code is good.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Nordstrom Jewelry Sale

Lately, I'm really into jewelry. I tend to wear dark pant suits with uninteresting blouses and shirts to work, so I like to spruce up my outfits with jewelry. Also, though I try to locate interesting items, vegan professional clothing is not always the most trendy or stylish; I find it much easier to add a piece of jewelry or an accessory than to search endlessly for a vegan version of a certain non-vegan style I like. And, as a bonus, an outfit "styled up" with jewelry can be easily "dressed down" / made more conservative by simply ditching the jewelry during that certain court appearance or meeting.

Nordstrom currently has selections from its line of jewelry on sale, some pieces as much as 60% off, such as this metal cuff (pictured left). The cuff is 2.5 inches wide, which makes it large and chunky, but not too large in my opinion. It is made from gold and hematite plated bronze. Originally $98, it is on sale for $38.90.

I also like these elongated teardrop earrings (pictured right). They drop about 2 inches and are 1 inch wide at their widest. They are made from bronze, which my ears can withstand, but I know some other ears react poorly to this metal. Originally $48, they are also 60% off at $18.90.

Finally, Nordstrom's version of the cubic zirconia earrings are on sale at 25% off. I don't do diamonds, but occasionally like a little bling with the cubic zirconia. These have sterling silver posts. The 0.5ct are on sale for $29.90 (originally $42) and the 1.0ct are on sale for $31.90 (originally $44).

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Inexpensive Vegan Suit for Women

JCPenney's "wardrobe staple" 4-piece suit is on sale (pictured right in the navy) -- originally $200 for all 4 pieces, now $79.99. It is made by "east5th." I'm not sure how good this suit looks on or how well it wears over time, but I thought I would highlight it since it is vegan and it is a good price. Tangentially, I have one vegan white button-down shirt made by east5th and it fits and wears well, although, again, I can't speak for the suit.

The 4-piece suit comes in six "classic" colors: black, navy, chocolate, red, and deep purple. I am not a fan of red or deep purple (I don't think those colors are professional enough, especially for younger women, although it may be a location thing -- east coast / west coast vs. southern states). The website doesn't specify, but I assume the 4 pieces are: jacket, skirt, pants, and coordinating scarf.

The suit is made from polyester and is machine washable. Suits that are machine washable tend to travel better than dry-clean-only suits in my experience, but also tend to look a bit, well, machine washable and cheap. On the other hand, the suit is fully lined, which in my experience tends to make a suit look more expensive.

The suit comes in misses, petites, tall, and women's sizes; the suit in all six colors is available here. The suit also comes in a black pinstripe version, also on sale (originally $200; on sale for $74.99); available here.

Vegan Selections From Kenneth Cole Sale

Kenneth Cole is promoting its post-holiday season sale under the catchphrase: "free for all (more or less)." I'm not a huge fan of the sales tactic, but the quantity of clothing on sale, some of which is vegan, makes up for the maxim. A few selections for women (men's clothing is on sale too, but each sale item only is available in one or two sizes; you can browse men's sale clothing here).

1) Satin Trench Coat (pictured right in the black): my favorite feature of this coat is the extra-wide collar. The coat is 58% cotton, 40% polyester, and 2% polyurethane. My second favorite feature of the coat (well, possibly my first favorite) is the price. The coat originally was $248. It is on sale in black for $179.98 and in cobalt for $129.97 (small is the only color available in cobalt). Best of all, 50% is taken off the markdown price at checkout, making the black coat $89.99 and the cobalt coat $64.99.

2) Long Sleeve Turtleneck (pictured left in the violet): I love, love, love turtlenecks, especially when they are on sale. This turtleneck is lightweight and slightly stretchy. It is made from 92% cotton and 8% spandex, and comes in violet, aqua (a light blue), lipstick (a fiery red), and black. Originally $78, it is on sale for $49.99. After 50% is taken off the markdown price, it is $24.99.

3) Gold Leaf Design Brooch (pictured right): I think this brooch would look fabulous on a black or grey suit or perhaps on a peacoat (vegan, of course). My feeling about brooches and suits and younger professionals is that if the brooch doesn't look like you took it from your great-grandmother's jewelry box, you're good to go. I especially like that the design of this brooch is a bit sea-life infused. The brooch is made from "white metal" with gold colored plating. It originally was $48, is on sale for $29.98, and after the 50% is taken off, is $14.99, which I think is an appropriate price for such a suit accessory.

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year, New Coffee Cup Holder

A week or so ago, I blogged about wooden coffee cuffs; in my post, I lamented that they were rather expensive. I have found (or, rather, a friend alerted me to) another option that is less expensive -- a colorful knit coffee sleeve made from 100% cotton (pictured left in the purple -- other colors available upon request). The sleeve is 3 inches wide and will fit any size coffee (or tea) cup. It is $12 and the shipping seems to be $0; available here via Etsy (I've ordered through Etsy before; it's very good).

Start the new year off right with a reusable coffee sleeve!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Stella McCartney for LeSportsac on Sale

Though not completely office appropriate, Stella McCartney's line of vegan LeSportsac handbags are great for weekend excursions or trips to the gym / yoga studio, etc. Full price, at $300 - $350, I think the bags are a bit expensive. But, finally, a few websites are beginning to put them on sale, such as the UK-based For example, it has the Essential Day Bag in taupe on sale for $195 (originally $325; pictured left) -- that's 40% off. It has the black version on sale for $228 -- that's 30% off -- available here.

The site also has the Carryall Bag in taupe (here) and green (here) on sale -- both 50% off at $175 (so, originally $350). The green is pictured right.

Tobi has the Hobo Bag, which is my favorite of the current line, on sale for $210, but only in the dirty pink, which is my least favorite color (pictured left). The bag was originally $350. Tobi also has the Travel Clutch Bag on sale for $90 (originally $150); available here.