Fashion Update: Cycle Chic

Biker chic is always more or less in fashion, but a fashion show devoted entirely to it is kind of fresh. The traffic division of the Cork City Council in Cork, Ireland is putting on a fashion show called Cycle Chic. It will take place on November 1st from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Millennium Hall, and features trendy bikes, smart clothes and funky accessories. This event, which is free and open to the public, is part of a larger national promotion called Design Week, which celebrates design, creativity, intelligent energy and travel.

The focus of the Cycle Chic fashion show is promoting Cork as a travel destination and cycling as a modern, green and stylish form of transportation. In keeping with that mission, exhibitors include Basil BV, Dutch creators of fashionable bicycle baskets and bags; Cahill, local makers of eclectic bikes; Cycle Chic, a web site with a variety of cool cycling accessories; Cyclodelic, which concentrates on accessories that appeal to female cyclers; Johnny Loco, an artisanal bicycle company, which has turned into a lifestyle company with the addition of clothes and accessories to complement their bikes; Riding Pretty out of California, who design stylish bicycle helmet covers (otherwise known as scarves); Viva Bikes of Denmark, a line of classically elegant urban bikes; Retrovelo Design of Germany, who design bikes with a retro spirit; and belleEtik, an ethical trade company from Ireland which showcases super-chic clothes from fairtrade-certified companies.

Sponsors of the event include the local government, the Trendy Travel European Project, Intelligent Energy Europe, Express Security Europe, Baile Bella, Origin Hair Design and L’arte de Beauty. Cycle Chic follows on the heels of similar events in London, Amsterdam, Vancouver, Las Vegas and Copenhagen. I also saw this trend on the New York runways in Fall 2008, when the Academy of Arts University show featured brightly colored and patterned helmets as accessories for knitwear. There’s something appealingly futuristic about the whole thing, and considering that gas prices have become a crisis worldwide, it can only be a good thing if it takes off.

Baby Boomers: Ski Retreat

As winter approaches and baby boomers plan winter vacations, consider being innovative and bypass the traditional luxury cruise. In fact, why not get edgy and adventurous and consider a ski vacation? If you are a beginner, it is never too late to learn and that includes seeing baby boomers on the bunny slopes.

Beginners should know that actual ski equipment such as skis and boots can be rented so the focus should be upon warm clothing. Decide what is most comfortable for you and your body type. The focus should be on ski gear such as après-ski attire, ski pants, jackets, one-piece suits and basics. Baby boomers can take liberties with their après-ski attire and get as fashionable as desired, just insure that the gear is comfortable and conducive for the cold weather.

The basic clothing needed for skiing requires warm outer pants, jackets or one-piece suits that are insulated. Baby boomers who are also beginning skiers may enjoy the comfort of one-piece suits. A popular choice among female skiers is the Salomon Psychic One Piece available in Aqua Tint X. The loose-fitting, pull-on-pant, one-piece suit has a zip front closure and high-neck powder collar for warmth. Other features include an attached hood with faux fur trim, multiple pockets, goggle wipe, belted waistband and more. One of the key features of this garment is the vent system designed for maximum breathability while providing warmth and optimum insulation. The one-piece waterproof suit retails for $604.

The Salomon Conspiracy Piece for men is available in purple and made from climaPRO Storm Plain Wave 3L, which is fully waterproof and offers maximum breathability. The loose-fitting waterproof garment is machine washable and offers a pull-on-pant styling with full zip front closure and storm flap, high-neck powder collar, inner bit with suspenders, multiple pockets, hood attachment, goggle wipe and premiere ventilation system and retails for $604.

Where traditional cruise vacations may be the norm for baby boomers, live on the edge this year, ditch the cruise, get suited up, booted up and head for the bunny slopes.

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Shopping Tips for New Parents: Baby Couture

Holiday season is finally underway, and getting the kids dressed up for their first Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah and other special events is even more fun when they’re decked out in a designer ensemble. Shoe styles that are sure to spread some holiday cheer might include sweet Mary Jane booties, patent leather ‘pumps’ for the girls, and for the boys, a pair of dapper leather sneakers.

Pick up the Armani Junior sneakers for your little boy so he can get a head start in life in the fashion lane. These sneakers are emblazoned with the signature ‘Armani’ logo and made with a rich black and white leather design; a fresh import from Italy, these are ready to turn your baby or toddler into a prince for the night.

Or you can give your boy a chance to show off his sporty side with some colorful kicks from Moschino ; these red, white and blue sneakers are made with flexible leather and extra padding for extra comfort. They’re covered in sports-inspired insignia and will let him play up his casual-cool personality.

Let your little girl play princess for the night’s revelries in a pair of patent leather bow shoes from Dolce & Gabbana . These adorable shoes are made with soft leather lining and super-glossy patent leather construction for an elegant touch to her ensemble. She’ll be ready to strut her stuff in no time, because these shoes even have an oh-so-ladylike 3/8-inch heel!

For the girl who really wants to get into the holiday spirit, a pair of bright red, suede Mary Janes is the ticket to fun at that upcoming event. The D&G Junior Mary Janes are designed with festive, red suede upper and finished with a D&G metal plate. She’ll be ready to turn a few heads and keep those toes toasty and warm on the cold winter days ahead.

When it’s time to kick off holiday celebrations and get your baby or toddler dressed up for the occasion, make sure to finish off their ensemble with a pair of designer shoes. From Armani to Dolce & Gabbana, your little one is sure to be the star of the show with any of these designer picks!

Treacherous Climb of the Week: The Roaches

How would you like to climb a pile of rocks named after one of the most reviled insects of all time? Actually, The Roaches in England’s Peak District are officially called Roches, which is French for “rocks,” but it’s hard to deny that the name makes it a bit scarier than it might be otherwise.

The Roaches is a collection of towering rock walls that have been climbed for the last century. The biggest benefit to this type of climb is the diversity of routes, which range from “moderate” to various levels of “extremely severe.” Indeed, there are a few routes at The Roaches that frighten even the most experienced climbers.

According to The Roaches web site, air ambulances make a trip to this legendary site just about every weekend to assist the fallen and presumably broken. Many of these accidents happen because climbers underestimate the difficulty of the climb and try it anyway.

In fact, The Roaches even uses mountaineering teams to rescue fallen climbers who are inaccessible to emergency medical personnel. If someone falls and lands on one of the ledges, he or she is brought down to safety by these groups. Of course, it is much easier to avoid such a scenario in the first place.

As most seasons at The Roaches are chilly, you’ll want to wear a jacket that is breathable but warm. The North Face Razor , for example, is designed to block the frigid force of the wind but employs HyVent technology that won’t leave you smothering in the jacket. You’ll also need a pair of sturdy gloves and a set of rock-climbing tools.

When you first attempt The Roaches, it is best to try an easier route, and then work up as you get more comfortable. Starting on moderate routes, for example, will warm you up for more difficult climbs and will acclimate you to the face of the rock. You will also have to get used to setting your own anchors, because it is tradition at The Roaches to remove pegs before completing a climb.

Oh, and although you won’t find many roaches at this site, be on the lookout for other unique forms of wildlife that make their home in the area.

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Best Vacation Spots for Skaters: Skate Parks of the Caribbean

One of the best tropical vacation destinations for skaters to visit is Grand Cayman. This Caribbean island is easy to get to by plane or cruise ship. However, the biggest attraction for skaters is going to be the Black Pearl Skate and Surf Park. While this park offers some of the best surfing and skating options in the Caribbean, don’t spend all your time at the park, because Grand Cayman offers amazing natural and cultural attractions. If you are ready for the vacation of a lifetime, pack your skateboarding shoes and head for Grand Cayman.

The Black Pearl Skate and Surf Park
The Black Pearl Skate and Surf Park is both the largest concrete skate park in the world as well as the home of one of the largest, artificially produced, standing waves in the world. If you are a skater then you will enjoy the 52,000 square feet of skating terrain offered by this park, as well as its great collection of beginner, intermediate and advanced skating features. The surfing section of this park offers a Wavelock Surf Machine, which is capable of producing standing waves up to eleven feet tall in a surfing area of over 1,200 square feet. Both sections of the park are serviced by a pro shop that offers equipment rentals and instruction in surfing and skateboarding.

Grand Cayman’s Attractions
While you are in paradise, don’t forget to try out some of the other tourist attractions. First of all, stop by the city of Hell and send a letter or postcard to your friends. The postmark will show that the letter was sent from Hell. The novelty postmark is about all that is offered by this little outpost, so you will need other plans to fill your day.

Stingray City is a must see attraction. You will need to charter a boat or guided tour to get to this attraction. However, the effort is well worth it, as the diving here is considered to be world class. Here, you will be able to interact with stingrays and other marine life. Plan this adventure on Monday, Wednesday or Friday to avoid cruise ship traffic and crowds.

Other attractions you won’t want to miss include the Mastic Trail, the blowholes, the six beaches and Rum Point.

Celebrity Gossip: Weight Gain, Moonshine and Underwear

It seems like celebrities like to stand up for each other, which is actually a good thing. When she visited The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Jennifer Love Hewitt stood up for Dancing with the Stars’ Cheryl Burke. Burke has been called out by her co-stars about being too heavy and gaining quite a bit of weight over the summer. Hewitt, who was also criticized by the press about her weight in the past, sympathized with Burke and said, “Cheryl Burke is so beautiful and an amazing dancer and that’s what people should concentrate on.” I like to see this spunk in other celebrities. Even if Cheryl Burke did gain weight, who has the right to say anything about it? Most women would love to still have her body. I commend Jennifer Love Hewitt for publicly sticking up for her.

One celebrity who may not be so proud anymore is Bill Pullman (Independence Day). His son was pulled over by the cops this week and busted for possession of moonshine (alcohol) and assault on a government official. Jack Pullman, 19, was arrested and will face numerous charges. He was released from jail the next day. Pullman has issued a “no comment” statement about his son’s arrest and pending charges.

You can add underwear model to the resume of Victoria Beckham. Beckham will follow in her husband’s footsteps and become a model for Emporio Armani’s women’s underwear. You can expect to see Victoria’s advertisements during the spring and summer of 2009. Giorgio Armani, who is the mastermind behind the Armani empire, called Victoria Beckham a “style icon.” So, not only will she have singer, actress, mom and fashion designer on her resume, she can now add international underwear model. Is there anything that she won’t do?



With the crisp Fall temperatures upon us, boots are the favorite fashion accessory of the current season, especially one with a stacked wooden heel. They are edgy with rolled-cuff, tattered boyfriend jeans, a cropped jacket and a chapeau, polished with a knee-length dress and pearls, and romantic chic with dark rinse jeans tucked in and a ruffled-collar blouse. What is Couture craving now? Belle by Sigerson Morrison tan leather slip-on boot, Juicy Couture Espresso Mona boot with ankle strap and hardware detail and Costume National Talpa leather boot with cap toe and stitching detail.

Moving Forward

The following email was sent to our employees yesterday:

To: All Zappos Employees
Subject: Moving forward

Last week was a tough week for everyone, as we went through the process of
laying off 8% of the Zappos family . At the same time, it was also
heartwarming hearing all the stories of Zappos employees and ex-employees
getting together for drinks Thursday night after the layoffs as well as
over the weekend.

The economic environment we’re in right now is unlike any we’ve ever
witnessed in our lifetime. These are extraordinary times, and America is
not out of the woods yet. Many people expect 2-3 million Americans to lose
their jobs before we hit the bottom of our current economic cycle.

As difficult as times may be, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in life,
it’s that things are never as bad as they seem or as good as they seem. In
most cases, this perspective usually comes long after a “bad” or “good”
event has occurred.

This is actually the second time we’ve had to do layoffs across the board
at Zappos. We’ve been around for 9.5 years, and the first time we had to
do layoffs was during the early years of the company, when we laid off
about half our staff due to a bad economy and our inability to raise
funding. At the time, we still were not profitable.

However, the layoffs we did in the early days forced the team that
remained to become much stronger, and because we did not have a lot of
money at the time, it forced us to focus on servicing our existing
customers instead of trying to acquire a lot of new customers. Ultimately,
it was the catalyst for transforming Zappos from being just about shoes to
a company focused on customer service and company culture. It started a
domino effect that ultimately made us who we are today.

Moving forward, we have a similar opportunity. We have the opportunity to
make our culture stronger than ever before. It’s something that will
require everyone’s involvement and effort, but based on our history, I
know it can be done.

We also have the opportunity to make the company healthier than ever
before. As we come up with innovative and creative ways of generating
more revenue, profits, and cash flow, we will be prioritizing them based
on what will be most beneficial to our company.

One question that has come up is whether we will be doing another round of
layoffs after the new year. There are currently no plans to do so. When we
laid off 8% of our employees last week, we chose that number because we
felt that it would cut our expenses enough to get us through all of 2009,
based on our current financial forecasts. As mentioned in my previous email , our layoffs were done proactively to ensure that we would be
profitable and cash flow positive in 2009.

As part of reducing our 2009 expenses, and to bring us all closer
together, we are in the process of moving people so that everyone in our
Las Vegas offices will be either in the 2280 or 2290 building, which are
next door to each other. The moving should be completed over the next
couple of weeks.

We’ve got a busy holiday season ahead, and while everyone will be busy and
working hard with their individual jobs, let’s also make a conscious
effort to think about how we can help each other out even more than usual,
not just within your department, but cross-departmentally and throughout
the entire company as well.

Remember, this is not my company, and this is not our investors’ company.
This company is all of ours, and it’s up to all of us where we go from
here. The power lies in each and every one of us to move forward and come
out as a team stronger than we’ve ever been in the history of the company.

Let’s show the world what Zappos is capable of.

  • Tony Hsieh, CEO