Monday, June 11, 2007

Summer Shoes

Summer has set in. Spruce up your wardrobe with cool, comfortable summer clothes and complement them with the right summer shoes. Wearing the right shoe is always important…more so during summer. Wearing wrong footwear during the hot summer days mean long hours of discomfort followed by several weeks of blisters, calluses and blisters.

Keep your feet happy all through summer. Pick the right summer garment, match with comfortable summer shoes- casual or otherwise. These tips for comfortable summer shoe shopping with information on trends can make the ordeal less complicated and more rewarding.

Summer shoes shopping
Find great looking, great wearing summer shoes those are versatile, supportive, and comfortable as well as trendy. Before embarking on a shopping trip, find answers to these essential questions.

Budget: How much are you willing to allocate for the season? This is the prime factor that determines purchase of brand vs. unbranded summer shoes as well as the styles, patterns and designs.

Type of shoe: Factors that influence selecting summer shoe type:

The functional aspect - for sports, vacation, indoor or outdoors?

Are you on your feet major portion of the day?

Do you want your shoes to convey a fashion statement?

Durability, versatility and comfort are more important?

Trying a pair of shoes: There is a general rule to be followed while trying a pair of new shoes. If you are buying at the stores, try the shoes on late in the day. This is because the feet tend to swell as the day progresses. Further, try the shoes with socks. On the other hand, if you are shopping via Internet, an enormous range of shoes such as designer shoes, dress shoes, high heel shoes can be selected with the click of the mouse. Remember to provide the exact shoe size. These steps help in ensuring comfortable, happy feet.

Shoes that say summer: Good sole, good ankle support and shoes those look good on your feet are essential while selecting summer shoes. Summer shoe style changes from season to season, the variety of colors, styles and textures are endless. Take a look at the summer shoe options, and pick a safe pair that is just right for you.

The wedges of summer 2006 aren’t completely out, are very much in vogue. Take a look at the latest trend that’s making headlines.

Espadrilles shoes for summer: Espadrilles are usually considered as running shoes. Thousands of varieties of espadrilles are available, making it more versatile and easier to match different moods. Espadrilles are available in natural, multi-colored or in fabulous color combinations. Espadrilles summer shoes are made of canvas or cotton fabric and the sole is usually flat, platform or wedge-shaped made of rope or rubber material. Espadrilles are super safe summer choice as they provide ample support to the entire foot. The most defining characteristic of an espadrille shoe is the rope or faux rope sole. The uppers can be made of a variety of materials - open or closed toes, open or closed back sides and can be slip-on or tied to the ankle with ribbon straps, ankle ribbons or laces. The uppers bring about a variation in style. You can choose to own a pair of inexpensive bargain branded espadrilles or high priced designer brands.

- Espadrilles go well with wrap dresses, peasant skirts as well as Capri pants.

- The fashion conscious wear Espadrilles with walking shorts or khakis along with a crisp, white shirt

- Accessorize with long, tunic-style dresses and mini-tops and a wide belt.

Platform shoes for summer: Shoes, boots or sandals that have thick soles of cork, plastic or rubber are platform shoes. If the soles are made of wood, they are clogs. The purpose of wearing platform shoes is dual - to make a strong fashion statement as well as to help gain height. For women on the short side, platform shoes serve as an option in place of high heels. Cheap vinyl and plastic platform shoes aren’t durable, hence should be avoided. If you decide to wear everyday, select a two-inch platform and a four-inch heel for they provide maximum comfort. A pair of basic black platform shoes with slim heels, open or closed toe with buckles or straps find a definite place in most women’s closet.

- For a harmonized look, pair with a flare leg pants or jeans.

- Looks great with cuffed shorts and bubble skirts.

- Closed-toe platform shoes complement tights, long or short skirts, walking shorts or cropped pants.

Flat summer shoes: These work well for those who can’t wear heels at all, those who are on foot all day long. Chic, hip and trendy flats in great styles are a perfect summer shoe option. Flat ballet shoes and sandal variety in every color, fabric and pattern offer comfort to feet. Gold and silver or combination usher elegance. Anyone can wear them, short or tall anywhere from golden beaches or to glittery parties. Pick flat shoes with simple design for a casual look. Or match dressy outfits with attractive embellishments. Flat summer shoes though low on heel, provide super comfort. Complement your summer looks and pair with skinny jeans, short skirts or cropped pants.

Peekaboo for summer: For those who are confident of showing good looking big toe or wish to hide chipped toenails, peekaboo will be the best summer shoe choice. Wide variety of trendy designs, patterns and materials are available.

- A perfect combination with humdrum pant- or skirt suit

- Compliments a jean and an attractive top, a pair of wide-leg sailor pants.

Batik Fabric

Batik fabric is known for its distinctive style, design and vibrant colors. From preparing the material for the batik design to the final ready-to-wear batik fabric, the process involves several stages. Batik prints have added beauty to our lifestyle. They are in our art and in our wardrobes too. They are hanging over our windows as drapes and adorning our walls as paintings.

What is Batik?

As a creative medium batik, an art and craft is gaining popularity in the west. For centuries this art of designing and decorating cloth using the resist technique has been in practice. Batik is an old tradition that can be traced to Java in Indonesia. Even today, some exquisite batik materials are being produced in Java. Batik received its name from a combination of two Indonasian and Javanese words viz.'Titik' which denotes a dot or point and 'amba' meaning to write respectively. An Indonesian-Malay word, batik refers to a wax-resist dyeing technique used on cotton or silk fabric.

History of batik fabric

There is historical evidence that this resist technique of batik had been in use even in Africa, Middle East and in several parts of Asia. There is no clear evidence as to where batik was invented. It has been a common belief that travelers from India brought the technique to Asia. Batik was practiced in China too. In Nara, Japan, silk batik has been discovered in the form of screens decorated with trees, hunting scenes and mountains.

Except for some frescoes in the Ajanta caves that depict head wraps and garments in batik style, there is not much of evidence of batik cotton fabrics in India. The oldest known batik fabric dating back to the 5th century had been excavated in Egypt in which woolen fabrics bearing white patterns on a blue background were found.

Indonesian craftsmen were brought by the Dutch to teach the craft to the warders in Holland. In the early 1940s the Swiss produced imitation batik. A wax block form of printing was developed in Java using a cap. Germans had developed mass production of batik in the early 1900s. A very recent development in this field is computerization of Batik techniques.

Preparation of batik material

Natural materials such as cotton or silk are used for batik cloth, so that it can absorb the wax that is applied in the dye resisting process. The fabrics must be of a high thread count (densely woven). This helps maintain the intricate designs and patterns so characteristic of batik. As the first step in the batik process, the material is thoroughly washed to free it from any artificial loading. Colored materials are boiled for about ten minutes in order to remove any loose color. The material is then dried and ironed and now the fabric is ready for the application of the batik design.

The tools that are used for the designing process are very simple when compared to the intricate art form. The canting, a wax pen with a thin spout is used to draw designs on the cloth. Melted wax is held in a container normally made of iron or earthenware, called 'wajan'. It is then placed on a brick charcoal stove or spirit burner. When the artisan applies the wax to the cloth, it is kept in a melted state. Different kinds and qualities of wax are used in batik. A mixture of beeswax and paraffin is commonly used for batik, since beeswax is known for its malleability. When resins are added to the wax, they improve adhesiveness of the wax.

In the mid-19th century the cap, the copper stamp was developed to meet the growing demands. This helped make batik fabric affordable. Compared to the traditional method, this invention enabled production of higher volumes of batik.

Application of batik Design

Traditional batik designs handed down over generations are drawn onto the fabric with charcoal or graphite. Designs are also traced from stencils or patterns. Another method of tracing a pattern onto a cloth is by laying the cloth on a glass table that is illuminated from below which casts a shadow of the pattern onto the cloth. The shadow is then traced with a pencil.

Batik process

Unlike machine-made batik fabrics, handmade Bali batik art is an elaborate artistic process in which the fabric must be first prepared with a background color. The design is drawn onto the fabric, first with a pencil and then with melted wax. Once the wax cools down, the painters apply color wherever they want it, without colors running onto each other. This process goes on several times in a complex batik design till the whole design is completed.

After the design is painted and finished, the fabric is boiled to remove the wax and then it is dried in the sun to set the colors. The fabric might seem to be a little stiff because there might be some wax residue still in handmade batik fabrics. This improves after washing and ironing.

Batik clothing care

Rayon fabric with batik designs are heavily saturated with dyes and one can expect some dye to come out while washing. But this will not affect the color of the garment.

Design Your Own Perfume

Research shows that you can quite easily make a hundred bottles of perfume for under $300. Then you sell each bottle for up to $50 each, and you have $15000. Minus your costs and you have made an easy $14700, and that’s just the beginning.

Perfume costs next to nothing to make and sells with unbelievable markups. Is it any surprise that so many celebrities have cottoned on to the idea and are trying to retire on a fragrance?

Some of the most profitable perfumes on the market are ones which were the cheapest to produce, and when you start small it doesn’t work out any dearer for you to make than if you were investing thousands.

In the past it was difficult to source your ingredients, packaging or bottles and spray nozzles. Even designing and producing the label seemed like a year long job. It has all changed with the internet boom, and online ordering means you can scope out the cheapest but still quality ingredients etc. You can order and pay by credit card, and as quickly as it arrives you will be on your way to success. Not only is this great for the novice scent inventor, but will hopefully have the effect of bringing the cost of perfume down in the near future.

There are some things you will need to remember when you begin your project of perfume making. First come up with a catchy name for it, but make sure it is also sensible. Design a label with some simple artwork and research the requirements for ingredients and listing them as well. Next you need to scope out the best priced bottles, lids and/or pumps. Don’t buy cheap and nasty ones, but don’t spend a fortune either. You want it to look professional without costing more than the contents.

Spend a couple of days choosing your fragrances, and research what other ingredients you should use. Make sure you are in a sterile environment when preparing, then pour it into your bottles. Work out how you want to present the finished product, whether you can afford boxes or maybe you can come up with another creative way to make it look appealing and professional.

It really is really a simple process, not rocket science. If it is something you have always wanted to do, don’t waste another moment. Seize the day and the opportunities we have and put your nose and your personal taste to the test.

Women's Shoes

Most women are fussy about their shoes, and rightly so! While some look only for comfort, others are particular about the style and fit. Casual shoes, walking shoes, designer shoes and bridal shoes - the list is endless! Bridal shoes come in an exciting array of colors and designs. Ballerinas and dancers have special dance shoes. Choose bowling shoes and walking shoes carefully. Athletic shoes play no small role in the performance of the sportsman. Take a walk though our shoes store guide and acquaint yourself with designer shoes and take a few tips on selecting womens shoes.

Womens shoes shopping
There are different womens shoes for various occasions - the classic black or neutral shaded pump for formal wear, strappy sandals or sexy shoes for the evening out, casual shoes that go best with your jeans and beach shoes. Choose shoes that work well with your dress, its color, look and hemline. This can go a long way in enhancing your overall appearance. Ill-fitting shoes can cause corns, calluses and blisters and even lead to foot and heel problems. Pregnant women must take care of their feet by going in for safe and comfortable pump shoes. Pumps are lightweight and strapless shoes that can be easily slipped into. Shoes shopping tips that can help you make good purchases:

# Go shoes shopping in the afternoon or evening since the feet expand at the end of the end due to physical pressure and temperature.

# Try on the shoes and test them for comfort and fit. The biggest toe must have enough space to wiggle. Your heel must not slip in and out of the shoe.

# Wear your socks or stockings when trying out various styles at the shoes store.

Prom shoes
Choose prom shoes that suit the tone of your prom dress. If you want to opt for a formal style, go in for sexy shoes with high heels. You can find them embellished with crystals and metallic designs for the added sheen. Ankle tie straps or sexy shoes in exciting colors are a favorite for prom night. If you do not want to opt for shoes, go in for strappy sandals

Bowling shoes
Athletic bowling shoes have a sliding sole on both shoes. These are ideal for novices and beginners. Performance bowling shoes are created especially for superior bowling performance. One shoe is designed for traction while the other is created especially as a sliding shoe. Such bowling shoes are designed for right handed and left-handed players since the shoe for sliding is the one opposite to the hand you bowl with. The braking shoe has higher friction material in its sole. Choose bowling shoes that fit right - not too tight, not too loose. Padded linings and collars can provide additional comfort and improve balance. Bowling shoes with breathable uppers are ideal.

Athletic shoes
An athlete needs to pay special attention to his shoes. A well-selected pair of athletic shoes can prevent injuries and provide comfort to the feet. Athletic shoes with additional cushioning work well for persons with high arches. Flat feet benefit from shoes that are rigid. Guide to buying athletic shoes:
# Wear your sports socks when trying out sports shoes

# There should be sufficient space between the longest toe and the tip of the shoe.

# Lace the sports shoes when you try them on for fit

Walking shoes
Walking shoes must not have high heels and flared soles. Flexible walking shoes offer comfort to the walker as they allow you to bend the foot at the ball of the foot. Cushioned shoes are good for long distance walkers. A shoes store specializing in athletic and performance shoes will be the right place to try out the fit and comfort of a pair of walking shoes before making a decision. Walking shoes that do not allow for good foot flexibility may cause injury and pain to the feet.

Tennis shoes
A tough sport like tennis requires tough shoes - shoes that are durable and meet the sportsman's needs. If you are a hard court player, choose tennis shoes with durable soles. A clay or grass player does not face as much stress on his feet. Choose tennis shoes with lightweight cushioning. Polyurethane offers dense cushioning but can add to the weight. A player with pronated feet needs tennis shoes with lateral support to take the strain off the knees and ankles. Flexibility is a key element in tennis shoes. They should allow for natural bending at the ball of the feet.

Designer shoes
If you feel like splurging on a pair of designer shoes, you will be spoiled for choice - the range is wide and the shoe styles range from stylish and chic to outlandish and sexy. Be it designer shoes from Dolce and Gabbana, Prada or Ferragamo, Miu Miu or Emilio Pucchi. You can even personalize your designer shoes by opting for higher or lower heels, to suit your requirements. Designer shoes with frosted silver leather or those studded with Swarovski diamante buckles can set you back by several hundred dollars. You can pick them up for shoes stores in neutral shades of beige or brown or champagne or classic black. Choose suede leather or faux snakeskin or calfskin or even gold lame.

Wedding shoes
Wedding shoes are part of the bridal wear and must be coordinated to suit the gown, its color, length and style. Since the times of Queen Victoria, white shoes have been bridal favorites. It could be white-heeled pumps or snowy white sandals or slingbacks or ballet type slippers. The bride must choose wedding shoes with heels that she is comfortable with. Stilettos may not be comfortable for long hours on your feet as well as dancing. While some brides opt for platforms others are comfortable with open toed sandals. Wedding shoes in satin or silk can be chosen to complement the gown. The details on the gown can be replicated on the bridal shoes with lace and pearls and crystals. The wedding shoes range from Kenneth Cole and Nina cater to all types of brides, from the conservative to the daring. Another option for bridal shoes is to get them dyed to match the bride and bridesmaid's gowns. Bridal sneakers are also catching up with many a bride, shoes that are beaded, sequined or decorated with appliqué.

Dance shoes
Dancers would do well to invest in a good pair of dance shoes. The style of dancing shoes is a matter of individual opinion. You can choose from dressy and elaborate dancing shoes to simple and comfortable dance shoes. Look for dance shoes that offer support and padding and at the same time give you a feel of the floor. They must provide enough traction to grip and yet give the freedom to spin and glide. Shoes with deep treads are not suitable for dancing. Wedge shoes are popular with women dancers. Choosing dance shoes with the right sole can save you a lot of pain, literally! Suede soles can be attached to the dance shoes to alter the amount of traction. Competitive dancers prefer soft suede soles. Soft leather soles are thin and therefore glide well but provide hardly any support for the feet. Hard leather soles with good arches are more durable. The heel is yet another critical element in the dancing shoes. High heels distribute your weight over the ball of the feet and allow easier spinning and turning. A square heel is ideal for smooth dances like the waltz and foxtrot while stilettos may need some getting used to. While black is de rigueur for formal dancing shoes, ladies can experiment with funky colors that are available in shoes stores.
Dance shoes must be properly maintained. Wear them only indoors for dancing and carry them in your shoe bag till your dance venue. A shoe brush with short steel bristles can help in scrubbing off the dirt from your suede shoes. Allow the dancing shoes to dry naturally - don't resort to harsh sunlight, radiator or blow dryer. The best footwear for a day at the beach is a pair of rubber flip-flops or waterproof sandals. Beach shoes must be waterproof and comfortable.

Ballet shoes
Never buy ballet shoes that are too small for your feet and curl up your toes. It is best to try out a frappé or a tendu and balance on relevé to find out if the ballet shoes are comfortable for you. Satin toes don't last long and it is prudent to go in for leather toes if you are looking for a long lasting pair of ballet shoes. Choose a style that suits your toes and feet - a shallow box with wide pointe for heavy legs and long box for long toed ballerinas.

Pepper Spray

"In Kansas City Missouri a woman drove into the parking lot of a car wash. Two men approached her to give up her keys at gunpoint. The woman reached for her keys but pulled out the pepper spray on her key chain and sprayed on the two men. The men backed off and she was able to escape without harm. This woman was quoted by KCTV5 news: ‘Thank God. This is something that saved my life, and it could save any woman’s life'."

Pepper spray is an extremely effective non lethal self defense agent that has the potency to blind an attacker when properly sprayed on the facial area and eyes. Pepper spray is non toxic and non flammable and is an inflammatory agent. When sprayed, the attacker cannot open his eyes for ten minutes to an hour as the capillaries get dilated and cause temporary blindness. Instant inflammation of the breathing tissues restricts all but life support breathing and this doubles the coughing uncontrollably. By this time the attacked can escape a safe distance from the attacker.

Pepper spray is a defense spray and has to be used for this purpose only. It is criminal and unethical to use pepper spray for malicious acts. An individual in possession of this spray has to imbibe the necessary education and training to make the spray work right. Pepper spray can hurt intensely and yet does not kill or leave a person maimed. Cases of death from pepper spray have been reported as asthmatics suffer from anaphylactic shock from pepper spray. Learn more about mace pepper spray and keychain pepper spray.

Pepper spray

It is interesting to note that the process of grinding and using peppers to blind one’s enemies has been happening in ancient China from times of yore. The modern pepper spray was developed and marketed in the 1960s as a ‘Halt Animal Repellent’. This was derived from the slew of tear gases, mustard gases and hybrids used by military and police forces.

Chemical composition of Pepper spray

Pepper spray is also called O.C. spray, OC for oleoresin capsicum (CS) the active ingredient in cayenne pepper. The oils are extracted from pepper using high pressure process. The pure pepper extract is diluted with an inert ingredient that reduces the SHU or Scoville Heat Unit to get it down to a useable SHU for pepper spray. Here SHU is a unit of measurement that determines how hot something is. The rating goes from one million SHU up to five million SHU. A normal pepper spray is made up of a formula containing 10% OC at 2 million Scoville Heat Units, 2% OC formula to act fast at 5.3 million Scoville Heat Units along with identifying ultraviolet dye.

The active ingredient in this spray is ‘capsaicin’ which is a chemical derived from the fruit of the plant in the Capsicum genus, including chilies. Pepper spray is a non volatile substance and does not emit a lot of fumes.

Use of pepper spray

Some think that the higher the percentage the better the spray works. This is not so. It is seen that often the best pepper spray formulas have percentages between 2% to 10%. The lighter the fluid of the formula, the faster it can penetrate the attacker’s mucous membranes. Pepper spray can be said to be simply the strongest OC formula permitted for use by law.

The eyes shut automatically causing temporary blindness. The mucus membranes of the mouth, nose, eyes and respiratory airways react defensively to the capsicum burn, producing tears, running nose, saliva and coughing. If the sprayed person tries to rub the eyes, the pepper spray spreads further and makes the burning worse.

It is very important to know how pepper spray is to be carried. If located in a poor place, then it is unlikely that it will be dug out during an emergency unless the purse is kept in an open pocket. Wherever it may be kept, one should be able to draw it out quickly at the time of crisis.

Triple action pepper spray

In this composition, OC pepper spray is combined with tear gas or CS gas, along with a UV Marking dye. Because of the strength, only a small amount is required to incapacitate the attacker. The triple action pepper spray comes as a full cone fogger and eliminates the need for pinpoint accuracy as it is effective on multiple attackers.

Mace Pepper spray

Both mace and pepper spray are used in individual self defense stragegies. They both temporarily incapacitate the attacker. Both are restricted substances. Mace is popular name for orthochlorobenzalmalononitrile abbreviated as CN. Mace does not cause inflammation of the capillaries of the eyes and skin nor does it cause nausea, breathing difficulties and intense burning sensations. Mace has no affect on assailants under the influence of drugs or alcohol, while pepper spray can cause temporary pain even to those under the drug and alcohol influence. While in most States in the US using pepper spray is legal, use of mace and tear gas is not.

Pepper spray antidote

Sometimes the spray can get blown back on the sprayer or it can accidentally spray on someone else. Such circumstances warrant knowledge of antidotes that work. Since pepper spray is oil based it cannot be simply washed off using water.

  • When contaminated with pepper spray, DO NOT RUB the contaminated area as causes more horrific burning and spreads the burning sensation.

  • Victims of pepper spray may be asked to blink vigorously in order to encourage tears to help flush out the irritant.

  • Whole milk can be applied on the affected area to reduce the burning effect; through a spray bottle or splashed directly on the skin.

  • A solution of dishwashing detergent 25% and 75% cold water can be used.

  • In case the face is contaminated mix the detergent in a bowl deep enough for the face to be immersed for about fifteen to twenty seconds each time. Let the solution sit on the face and do not use hands or cloth to wipe the solution away.

  • Decontamination from pepper spray may take as little as fifteen minutes or as much as forty five minutes before the sympoms subside. Recovery is generally dependant upon the skin type.

  • If the pepper spray falls on eyes wearing contact lens, then take them as soon as possibly can. Since getting pepper spray out of them is practically impossible, it is best to throw the lens away.
Pepper spray key chain

Pepper spray key chain is a safe and stylish way to transport this protective weapon. A survey indicates that 75% of sexual assaults are made by strangers near the entrance of the victim’s home or automobile. It is common for the victim to have her key chain out at the time of the attack. The pepper spray key chain model comes with a finger grip dispenser that can easily fit on a key chain to be held comfortably in a woman’s hand. This aim makes this model ideal for emergency use. The feature of glow-in-the-dark locking safety cap in the key ring is also available. The key chain model also comes with UV ultraviolet dye for easy police identification.

The Lipstick pepper spray for women helps women to protect themseleves from eve teasing or even when they are attacked. This lipstick pepper spray looks like an ordinary lipstick but contains 10% concentrated pepper spray. The cap of the spray has to be removed and aimed at the face of the nasty guy. The advantage here is the user can even spray from a distance of six to ten meters.