Best Hiking Trails: More than 150 Miles of Pure Hiking Madness

Big Bend National Park, in southwest Texas, is in the middle of nowhere, but that’s a good thing. Big Bend National Park has more than 150 miles of phenomenal hiking trails, which is great for people who like being out in the real wilderness. The terrain in Big Bend is your typical Texas desert: wild and isolated. If you’re going hiking here, you’re going to need to take food, water, a tent, camping supplies, a medical kit and enough oil for a few days in the desert. Plan on camping out at night or heading to one of the small towns 40 to 70 miles away for a night in a motel.

Big Bend is such an enormous park that it is split up into different areas; east side, west side, north end and mountain. All have amazing hiking trails. Choosing one just depends on which direction you enter the park. The park has a lot of self-guided trails, and booklets and maps for each trail can be bought at the park tourist centers for as little as 25 cents. The Lost Mine Trail sounds really fun, as does the Hot Springs Historic District and the Window Trail. You can easily hike all of these in one day.

Big Bend National Park also has backcountry hikes for those who are not faint of heart. These trails pretty much require an off-road vehicle to get there. Mariscal Canyon Rim Trail is a 6.6-mile roundtrip, backcountry trail and Pine Canyon Trail is just 4 miles long. You can also do overnight hikes if you want to camp out in the desert somewhere, but you really need to understand the desert at night before you do this.

Another cool thing about Big Bend National Park is that the bones of a pterosaur, a Jurassic-type flying creature, were found here. The pterosaur is the second-largest flying creature ever found. How totally cool would it be if you found another one!

The National Park service has an excellent web site on Big Bend. Go to http://www.nps.gov/bibe/ to check out all the hiking trails and how to get to each one.

IN THE NEWS

Last week we gave you the scoop on one of the hottest parties of the New York fashion season, but we would be remiss in our Couture duties if we did not fill you in on what was hot. This, of course, is of special interest, as our very own Couture carries the hot fashion item spotted. Actress Zoe Saldana , dressed in a black skimmer leg length suit, was sporting the mega high heeled Piercing Pump 3 in black while in attendance of the DSquared He Wood + She Wood fragrance launch party on September 10 in NYC. Ms. Saldana worked the room in her uber high heels with nary a care, giving the paparazzi plenty of photo opportunities and a fabulous fashion stare.

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Blog World '08 Twitter Party (Part 2)

Here’s another Inside sneak on the wonderful bloggers, Twitterers , and those who fall under a social media circle of some kind, who came out to celebrate Blog World 2008 with us.

Flannel Shirt Day in Creative Services

We really didn’t mean for it to be. It just happened that way. Melissa and I crossed paths on the way into the office this morning, and to our horror, we were dressed very similar. A few people at Blogworld thought we were siblings, so this isn’t helping anything. (She claims that this is impossible because she is much better looking than I)

Then, to make matters worse, I turn a corner and Kris K. had run home just to change just to look like us. (Editor’s Note: That’s a lie. Kris actually keeps an entire wardrobe in his desk drawers to mimic my outfit every day…it’s very frustrating.)

This looks like the cover art for a romantic comedy, doesn’t it?

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My Mythology - Jen S. Couture Fashion Buyer

My Mythology – Creating our own living legacy at Zappos.

One of the joys about working at Zappos is the freedom to be ourselves through our own personal style. Style shouts! Individuals identify themselves through their personal style. Taking the chaos out of the closet and using clothing as a celebration to create personal
mythology or legend is something I have been fascinated by.

What is someone trying to say through their style?

Join me in the discovery. Each week I will take an employee from Zappos and find out their personal psychology through their favorite outfits.

Today we study the mythology of Jen S., Buyer for Couture Fashion at Zappos.com.

Jen S. is draped in a delightful Emilio Pucci tank, a Dolce and Gabbana black skirt and Prada sandals.

How would you define your look?
That’s a hard question since I don’t feel I have just one look. When you asked me to wear my favorite outfit I had a hard time picking just one. I have loved everything in my closet at some point in time.

What inspires your style?
Me, and I hope that didn’t sound bad. I buy amazing pieces from tons of designers from couture to moderate prices. I mix and match them to make my own style. You will rarely see me in one brand from head to toe. What makes style in my mind is to be able to mix it all up and still look like a million bucks.

Who is your favorite designer?
Miuccia Prada…She manages to out do herself with every collection and be so ahead of the trends. The items she designs are classic with so much style but still timeless. I can’t stop myself from buying her pieces season after season.

What fashion item would you never leave the house without?
My credit card.

Who are your fashion/style icons?
This may sound silly but the ladies from Sex and the City which really means Patricia Field. She has made so many designers household names, it is incredible.

What are your favorite labels?
DSquared2 , Alexander McQueen , Etro , Roberto Cavalli and Prada of course!

Preppy or Punk?
No question…PUNK!

How would you define your mythology that you portray through your style?
I just like to look and feel good about myself everyday and this is expressed through my fashion choices. If I love what I am wearing I feel amazing!

What is your favorite decade for style?
For me it is always the future. Being a buyer and seeing what’s to come in 6 or 9 months I am more excited about what’s coming than what’s happened.

What is your favorite fabric?
I have 2 extremes…cotton or leather.

Psychedelic ‘60’s or Rockabilly?
Psychedelic.

What is your favorite color?
Green.

What item do you allow yourself to splurge on?
Sandals and Boots.

Do you need to take out a second mortgage for your style?
My mom had me calculate the total of all the footwear in my closet and I could have put a down payment on a house and that was years ago.

Diamonds or pearls?
Diamonds and lots of them.

McQueen because he is so demented.

Which bag?
Right now it’s McQueen.

Sunglasses?
Right now it’s Prada.

What are your fashion rules?
Don’t ever be over dressed or under dressed!

What is the most you’ve spent on a handbag?
If it’s not $1,000 it’s not a handbag in my world.

Would set foot in a thrift store?
Of course! I took my boss Eileen once in the East Village and she about died.

If your answer was yes, what is the best thing you’ve ever found at a thrift store?
A vintage Valentino black dress. It didn’t fit me so I gave it to a customer of mine at my last job. She was ecstatic.

What is the most you’ve ever spent on fashion and for what item?
$3,200 for a mini tangerine Prada suitcase. I got it in Rome with my mom.

ROMANTIC PUNK

The Couture team is feeling the rebel yell of the changing season, torn between our ladylike underpinnings and our rebellious spirit. What better way to express it than merging the sweet with a little spice? Absolutely none! We are craving black leggings tucked into our navy buckle detail male-inspired punk-esque boots, a little pirate swagger with a dash of skulls and skeletons scarf, ladylike indifference with a leather fringed handbag, channeling a little Belgian punk spirit with lace up booties, and cuffed perfection with a crown insigna silver cuff.

Our pics: Paul Smith Navy Back Zipper Boots with Buckle Detail, Roberto Cavalli Black Patent Leather Lace up Ankle Boots, Alexander McQueen Black/White Tree of Life scarf , Jill Stuart Onyx Leather and Metal Fringe St. Germain Felicity Satchel, and King Baby Studio Crowned Heart Cross Cuff.

Green Movement in Clothing: Bamboo

One of the major trends in the green clothing movement is bamboo fabricclothing. Through a process, it is possible to transform bamboo stalks into fabrics that can be used to make a wide variety of products, including bamboo fabric shirts.

Environmental Friendliness of Bamboo Fabric
Bamboo has long been recognized as a preferred material for many things. It is environmentally friendly and is in abundance. It has been used in flooring, furniture and to make other wood products. Now it is being used to make clothing. Right now, there are questions about the “greenness” of the process used to transform bamboo fibers into clothing fibers. Chemicals used in this process may be of a dubious nature, and there are other issues. However, even with these concerns, the Green Guide points out that bamboo is still more environmentally friendly than wholly synthetic fibers or even cotton. This is due to the unique characteristics of bamboo:

  • Requires very little water
  • Naturally resistant to pests
  • Very hardy and requires no fertilizer
  • Grows quickly (up to a foot per day)
  • Grows in the wild (although some are starting to cultivate it due to its popularity).

There are hopes that the process will become greener, but right now a greener process would mean sacrificing comfort.

Benefits of Wearing Bamboo Fabric Clothing
Toasted bamboo fabrics have benefits to the wearer, beyond the knowledge that he or she is wearing something that is better for the environment. Bamboo fabric provides wicking, which keeps moisture away from the skin. It is antibacterial and absorbent. These qualities mean that bamboo fabric has a high level of comfort and performance. It seems a little odd to be wearing bamboo fabric, but it really is comfortable and environmentally friendly.

In the end, it may not be a bad idea to look into bamboo fabric clothing for your next new clothes purchase.

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Tips for Parents of Mulitples: Buying Shoes

As the parents of multiples, one of your biggest challenges is keeping your kids’ shoe wardrobes sized properly and fashionably up-to-date. With the cost of even a modest pair of shoes well over $25, you can easily invest several hundred dollars each year just keeping your multiples in shoes. Fortunately, there are ways to keep your kids in great looking shoes year round without breaking the bank.

Shoe Tips for Multiples No. 1: BOGO Sales

One of the easiest ways to cut your shoe expenses in half when you have multiples is to shop for shoes during BOGO (buy one get one free) sales. These sales happen throughout the year. To get the discount, all you have to do is buy one pair of shoes, and then you can select a second pair of equal or lesser value for free. You will want to buy good shoes during these sales, and if you have the money, stock up on shoes one or two sizes larger for when your multiples outgrow their current shoe size.

Shoe Tips for Multiples No. 2: Accessorize Cheap Shoes

If your multiples are interested in fashion and want to expand their shoe wardrobe, and you don’t have a lot of money to work with, buy canvas sneakers, the kind that retail for less than $10. Then accessorize them. Buy a basic color like white or black. Then find shoes laces of different colors and designs to add a fashionable flare to the shoe. You can also use pins to change the look of the shoes. This is a quick and affordable way to offer your multiples a variety of shoe choices without breaking the bank.

Shoe Tips for Multiples No. 3: Learn Basic Shoe Repair Skills

Dress shoes are worn infrequently, and your kids will most likely out grow them before they are worn out. Because of this, you can find dress shoes in many clothing consignment stores for less than half their original retail price. You can buy dress shoes at these stores, replace their laces and shine them up for a great looking pair of shoes. This is a great option for parents with multiples who are still very young.