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History of The Ruby Slippers

Shoes are an important part of popular culture. Nearly every culture and ethnic group has a story that is about a special pair of shoes. Just think about all the fairy tales and fables told about magic or special shoes. There is Cinderella and her glass slippers, the little old lady that lived in a shoe, and perhaps the most famous story about shoes ever told, the Wizard of Oz, featuring a magical pair of “ruby slippers.” The importance of shoes in the evolution of humans is clear; without them we would never had been able to disperse to as many climates and destinations as we have. It is because of this that they have become not only a necessity for human life, but also a status symbol and starring character in human mythology and popular fiction.

The Ruby Slippers in the Wizard of Oz
In the original story of the Wizard of Oz, written in the early 1900s by L. Frank Baum, the slippers that Dorothy acquired were actually silver shoes. It was MGM that decided to change the shoe’s color to ruby red in order to demonstrate the capabilities and splendor of the newest entertainment invention, color film. This change in shoe color truly made the movie more provocative, adding another layer of symbolism to the tale of a girl making a journey from ignorance of the evils of the world to a disenchanted, young adult who learns that the Wizard of Oz is not a wizard after all.

Nobody knows for certain exactly how many pairs of the famous ruby slippers were made for the filming of the Wizard of Oz, however, the estimate sits at about seven pairs. The Wicked Witch of the East had a pair, Dorothy had a pair and Dorothy’s stand-ins each had a pair. Since continuity and timeliness is essential during the filming of a movie, back up pairs of the ruby slippers were also most likely made.

Today, you can see one pair of the famous ruby slippers in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, which is located in Washington, D.C. This pair was designed for the dance scenes in the movie. Their uppers are made from a red silk, which is covered with a georgette fabric that was hand-sequined. The inside of the shoes were lined with kidskin leather. The soles, because they were made for dancing, were covered in felt.


David Heston may have started off as a jewelry designer for women way back when, but currently some of his biggest fans are men. Many jewelry aficionadios have described his designs as a man’s man jewelry line, producing pieces best described as bold, rugged and masculine. It was due to the inherent alpha male nature of the line, that Heston started making pieces for men. Once he discovered that men indeed liked the designs, the men’s line was born. Clearly it was a genius move, sport stars and actors alike, from Roger Federer, to Eddie Murphy, to Ken Griffey Jr., wear his designs. The original launch of his line, women’s, was at a Neiman Marcus trunk show in 1990, and it was a welcomed relief from all of the Dynasty overtones of oversized stones, large bangles and way to many pearl strands. Suddenly, women were snapped out of their jewelry malaise, and paying closer attention to the designer’s clean lines and contemporary aesthetic. That original design ethos of clean and contemporary, echos through both the women’s and men’s collections to this day, rendering simple, architectural gold and silver pieces.

So how excited are you that sells the line? Hopefully, very. For men, we are loving the Large Cross Link bracelet, the Silver and Black Circle Link bracelet, the Angled Cufflinks and the thick Silver Band ring. For the ladies, we love the Black and Silver Circular bracelet, the Heart Twist necklace and the Long Link bracelet, that has that great balance of masculine and feminine. But don’t just take our word for it, check out the line and its beautiful pieces for youself.


Don’t get caught spectating on the sidelines! Get in on the action and join the pack sporting modern oxford-inspired shoes. Oxfords, once thought of as stuffy shoes only to accompany suits, now dresses up jeans or adds a funky twist to a button down and slacks. Our favorites: Harrys of London Reagan .

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Death Defying Climbs: Colorado's Grizzly Peak

For serious climbing enthusiasts, just the mention of places such as Mount Everest or the explosive volcano known as Mount St. Helens can get their hearts pounding. Reaching the summit of one of these dangerous mountains and making it back in one piece is a real accomplishment.

Though not quite as hazardous as other locations, Colorado’s Grizzly Peak is aptly named, because for some athletes, it can be a real bear to climb, especially in the winter months. Skiers looking for a thrill also enjoy the challenges of making it down the steep slopes of Grizzly.

Located in Summit County, near the Continental Divide, this mountain reaches a height of 13,988 feet, making it the state’s highest “thirteener.” Because you will be climbing thousands of feet above sea level, you need to be aware of the potential dangers of altitude sickness. When tackling this peak, make sure that your body is conditioned for the thinner air.

Depending on your skill level, there are different ways to enjoy the trip up Grizzly Peak. Novice climbers can get gain some experience by taking the route that leads up to Mount Sniktau. If this is one of your first climbs, you also can start your ascent from Chihuahua Gulch, although you probably won’t find any talking dogs that are hungry for Taco Bell.

The summer months are the best time to summit Grizzly Peak. During the winter, the snow and ice make the trek a lot more dangerous, especially with the constant threat of avalanches. In this area, however, high winds are possible year round, so it’s always advisable to check the weather conditions before heading out.

In addition to climbing boots and a sturdy backpack, make sure to pack some good outerwear like the North Face’s Hybrid Jacket. This gear helps block out the wind, keeping you warm and dry as you make your way to the summit.

No matter if you are ready to go toe-to-toe with the bear, or you are still growling at the Chihuahua, Grizzly Peak is an ideal climbing destination.


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Shopping Tips for New Parents: Creating an Inviting Space

Making room for the new addition to the family can be a fun and exciting experience, and you can get started by creating an inviting space for your little one. Toys, snuggle-worthy blankets and play centers are just a few essentials when designing a fun but comfortable baby room.

Whether you’re counting down the days to your new addition or baby’s already arrived, get started on decorating the baby room with some of these too-cute essentials:

Show ‘em Some Love
If you’re not around to hold and comfort your little one at a moment’s notice, let one of the Tender Begginings Giraffes help you out. These plush giraffes are huggable, loveable, super-soft toys that will accompany your baby on any troublesome day. These toys are also equipped with a machine washable blanket so you can create the ultimate snuggle space.

Create a Comfort Zone
Picking the right baby blanket is a top priority for any new parent, especially since baby blankets tend to stick around well beyond the baby years. Pick up a stylish blanket from Hatley Kids ; these designer blankets are made with cute prints on one side and a solid jersey and animal appliqué on the other. Their 100-percent cotton material means they’re also easy to wash and maintain, so your baby’s blanket can last for years to come.

For the Future Movie Buff
Prepare a media center for your toddler-to-be with a set of classic children’s movies and animated films. From Alvin & the Chipmunks to the Harry Potter movies, you can spark their imagination and give them a chance to enjoy a chuckle or two. Playing animated movies throughout the day provides some extra stimulation for that growing mind and may even ward off a temper tantrum when stress levels run high.

Make Room for Playtime
Give your baby a chance to play after a busy day of sleeping, eating and crying. The Gund Spunky Playmat features special toys and attachments to let their imagination soar. It’s also easy to clean and maintain in case of a “baby emergency,” and will give you a chance to take a break from keeping baby busy on any given day.

Fashion Show Update: London Swatch Alternative Fashion Week 2009

For those of us who are bored already with traditional fashion weeks, London Swatch Alternative Fashion Week 2009 presents a good, well, alternative. This event will be held from April 21-25, 2009, at Spitalfields Traders Market (an upscale, elegant version of what we here in the U.S. call a flea market, which centers on fashion and home design items).

London Swatch Alternative Fashion Week is free and features runway shows daily from 1:15 to 2 p.m. Hot, young and up-and-coming designers will present their alternative, inventive designs directly to the public, the press and the fashion industry while competing for a Swatch Individual Designer Award or Swatch College Award in recognition of their originality, creativity or innovative use of designs and recycled textiles.

Twelve designers per day will show their designs to live jazz music, and the event is also an opportunity for new and upcoming models to show off their talent. Categories shown include women’s wear, menswear, millinery, shoes , loungewear, lingerie, fetish gear and costuming. Designers who showed last year include Pretty Pervy, Rachel Hines, Richard Shoyemi and Victoria Harley. Jasper Garvida, a Project Catwalk (the UK’s version of Project Runway) winner, is the most famous Alternative Fashion Week alumni. This 26-year-old major talent combines old-world elegance with modern sensibility to create collections that are truly worthy of rock royalty. One of the standout pieces from his past collections was a white, off-the-shoulder gown with a ruffled mermaid tail that managed to transcend all clichés except beauty. (I have never seen any garment that would enable you to make more of an entrance, and yet it still enhances the wearer rather than competing with her.) The young designer also showed a richly decadent, floral-patterned skirt paired with a combination corset/cardigan and patterned faux-fur jacket that looked insane in a brilliant way, like Edie Sedgwick raided her grandmother’s closet to get dressed to go to the hospital after she burned down the Chelsea Hotel. I write about fashion constantly, and it makes you kind of jaded, but I can truly say that Jasper Garvida is the first designer I’ve seen in a long time for whom I would be willing to blow my rent money on some of his pieces, so why not go to Alternative Fashion Week 2009 and find the next major talent before he or she becomes out of reach?

Baby Boomers: Internet Holiday Shopping

Millions of baby boomers have retired and settled into new and engaging lifestyles. With these changes come new attitudes like not wanting to deal with crowds and traffic any longer, particularly during the holiday season. For some the change is a total chill mode. Fortunately, the baby boomer generation was included in the Internet phenomenon, which provides the opportunity to do most holiday shopping from the convenience of one’s home in his or her pajamas. Add to this perfect picture just the right house music and a superior cup of java.

Practically every gift item one could hope to give during the holiday season can be ordered online an quality designer luggage d mailed directly to the recipient. How beautiful is that? Whether looking for gifts of clothing, shoes, electronics, handbags, luggage, sports equipment, movies, eyewear and even jewelry, it is all possible. Having the privilege and opportunity to have access to a wide variety of products from a trustworthy business is not only convenient but also fun. Yes, there is such a shopper’s high associated with ordering online as well as receiving gifts in the mail. The process seems to have a synergistic effect on the purchaser and the receiver.

Say your family member is interested in a popular handbag seen in a fashion magazine or an online store, or maybe you have a college student that is in need of new luggage. Simply visit the preferred online site that carries a wide variety of quality designer luggage and have it shipped directly to the student. It pays to peruse the web site carefully during this time of year, because many retailers offer free shipping both ways should an item need to be returned. It is also very important to do business with a reputable online retailer that has a lot of exposure, is versatile in products and has a solid return policy.

So baby boomers don’t fear, you won’t have to leave the comfort of your newly acquired chilled out life to shop. Instead you can remain pajama-clad while shopping and shipping at the same time. Wahoo!


Were you looking for just the right shoe to accessorize your Seven For All Mankind jeans, or any jean for that matter? Well, the search is finally over. The Seven jean company entered the shoe making business with a licensing agreement with Schwartz & Benjamin Inc. to produce a small shoe collection for the brand. The company started this summer with five initial women’s styles sold exclusively at the jean maker’s retail store locations, and debuted a full line this fall. The styles include a wooden heel wedge, a platform heel, a gladiator sandal, a ballet flat, a suede bootie, a slouch flat boot, and a knee-length leather boot. Considering these recession times, the line’s price point is a draw as well, with styles ranging in price from $150 to $350. Why choose Schwartz & Benjamin? Probably because they know a thing or two about making shoes, as they produce shoes for Kate Spade, Diane Von Furstenberg and Michael Kors. Whatever the reason for Seven making shoes, I’m all for it. After all, it takes a lot of work to find the right shoe to match the right jean, no?