Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Words/Tradeshow Images Judith Ecochard

Hot fun in the summer time doesn’t mean damaged skin.

As we embrace the Tri life (swim, bike run=FUN)…we’ve met a lot of veterans of these "competitions” (in quotes cause one is really competing against oneself, if that---unless a Pro/Elite).

Some gals who do these things, impress…as they finish often for charity fund raising $--- or to prove to themselves that they can “Just Do IT.

And waiting around for Transition to re-open so we can get our bikes (aka the ones worth more than our cars)---is when we notice other things.


Yeah, some ladies sure can do those Dolphin dives cutting through the ocean waves…but those years on the beach without hardcore sunscreen ---really REALLY shows. On their skin. Really badly speckled, wrinkled, spotted.

PLUS: Sunscreens made of chemicals and with preservatives like parabens---wash off into the ocean (lakes, etc). And how can that not be damaging to the fragile eco-system-like delicate coral reefs- of what lies beneath.

With the aforementioned motivators, (anti-damaged, spot free skin, eco-friendly positive)…we have been trying out the all-natural, FREE of chemical emulsifiers/petro chemicals, preservative, synthetic fragrances ---and broad spectrum, UVA/UVB protection sunscreens to see if they hold up in race conditions.

ELEMENTAL HERBS  (“Herbal Healing Everyday”) is one of our favorite companies for protective skin stuff. We used their All Good Goop™ organic, calendula laden healer on a tiny facial burn we got this week from a splattering grill (chefs we’re not)…and within three days, our peau healed without a trace of our culinary skills.

We also demo-ed the white thick lotion, all natural, chemical/preservative free SPORT SPF 20+ SUNSCREEN during a recent sprint distance triathlon we did---

We applied the lotion that comes in an easy squeeze tube, right after we got marked up…and only got to reapply after we finished and indulged in some post race noshing---all told a two and a half hour length of time.

The sunscreen smoothed on pronto, and we used copious amounts---way more than the one shot glass dose derms recommend.

The Elemental Herbs Sport left a very sheer white film on our skin---not Casper the Friendly Ghost kind, but noticeable. We couldn’t care less ---though we felt the white cast actually faded within about 20 minutes---

And we knew that the active ingredient Zinc Oxide 25% is the non-nanoparticle kind.

(We found this article on the web about the possible adverse effects of the of the nano particle zinc oxide)

Happily, we went burn free for the entire time…and never felt the need to reapply at all during the triathlon---and it was a cloudless sunny day, mid-80’s.

About $8.99.

What’s New:

A handy Sunstick SPF+ 30 that’s unscented too...pictured above.

ALL TERRAIN’s broad range UVA/UVB sun protection AquaSport SPF+30  comes in a very handy spray version…and is paba and paraben free too…

We’ve written up some ALL TERRAIN’s products recently. 

PLUS:We tried this press down, pump bottle--- on a hike--- on an insanely warm day where we felt like we coulda’ used a shower every 300 ft of vertical ascent. The ease of use---just spray…really helps as well as protects. We had it in the side mesh pocket cozied up next to our water bottle.

W.S BADGER (http://www.badgerbalm.com/) is one of the grandaddy’s of using USDA certified organic plant extracts in their products---a label that btw-requires effort/time/and authenticity to get. Not a green washed moniker by any means.

We love--- in Rose---the super moisturizing, double ended (one with Opal Shimmer)--- tinted lip balms that get their feminine shades from minerals. 

At $6.50 these longlasting lip smackers are a bargain.

New For 2010 is the SPF 30 SUNSCREEN ALL SEASON FACE STICK…that provides borad spectrum UVA/UVB protection in a travel friendly stick.

We actually keep ours in the outside compartment of our every day satchel…and slap on this 75% USDA Certified Organic ingredients plus 22.5% Zinc Oxide loaded product---on our hands, on the tip or our nose etc---whenever we feel we need extra block without the mess.

A 0.65 oz stick costs $8.50 …and is available now.

FYI: Customer service staffed with live humans (aka Badgers) 800-603-6100.


Maybe Perplexing In Theory...

But it works.


We got the buzz on KLYMIT, an Ogden, Utah based company with a genius premise: flexible, gas tight (sealed) chambers filled with argon gas pumped into said chambers (of a jacket, for example)---- instead of down or synthetic fill like Primaloft...

...that keep wearers insulated and warm--- because the inert gas stays dry. And adjusts to body heat needs...banishing the pain of de- or adding layers while on a hike, golfing, snowboarding etc...as we warm up or cool down...with a turn of the dial.

The gas filled canisters are sold separately.


A line of products debuted at Outdoor Retailer ---and given the DNA---that of drysuits that protect deep super sea divers that are down there...Klymit was inspired by proven tech.


An Inertia X-Frame ---a lightweight inflatable camping frame (think souped up air mattress)...with body mapping technology to deliver warmth where needed.


A NobleTek blessed Kinetic Amphibian Vest  that can be warn under a PFD (personal flotation device)...that keeps paddlers/kayakers toasty, even in water dunks.

Huh---we await a surfer version.


Monday, August 30, 2010


Words/Tradeshow Images Judith Ecochard

Best selling, Born To Run author Chris McDoughall espouses the way to super tribes and pain free mileage---though we always think of BRUCE when we hear that title...being "...tramps like us..."

And we train in Newtons and race in Scott Running---both 'Natural" style peds...

A digression--- that gets us to the absolutely stylish street wear worthy Spring 2011 we saw at Outdoor Retailer from Terra Plana...(has stores in the cooolll LES Manhattan, London, Vienna Australia, Singapore...) and Vibrams---a division of the company that probably has your hiking boot outsoles seriously covered...

But now a multi-faceted footwear company with a two years old, minimalist running shoe--- with a separate compartment for each toe. That we know is a fashion statement as we have seen it on the Hollywood Red Carpet, adorning tuxedoed actors who are aping hipster cred.

Or maybe they run in them.


The VIVOBAREFOOT performance range “helps awakens the senses and encourages us to run as evolution intended – barefoot.”

Okey Dokey ---but chances are Mother Nature didn’t factor in the broken beer bottles/car glass, and other pointy hard objects that miraculously find their way onto NYC running paths. 
Since we can’t all run on putting green smooth grass…it should be noted, that the Revo ($120) does have something of an outsole.

In fact----

---- the slim-line Vivobarefoot line, including the now out Achillies running sandal and Evo---a modular shoe using Vivobarefoot technology for efficiency to- well, help us to run fast.  

---has an ultra-thin patented sole that has the protection (of “normal shoes”)----but makes the wearer use feet/leg muscles like you’re supposed to. Instead of pounding the knees so much.

Stride adjustment may be necessary.

LIGHTWEIGHT and stripped down...the running shoes feel better--- though we have not actually run in a pair.


Softmesh upper made from recycled PET (plastic water bottles et al)….and the coolest looking retro style ever.

BOTTOM LINE: Street chic alert--we bet trendsters will be wearing pronto.

THEIR MO: "No heel, no midsole, no arch support, no gimmicks."

We add---a mindful approach to environment too.

FYI---a line of vegan  high heel pumps, and ballet flats...and other types of footwear also for sale by Terra Plana.
ULTRA---white amphibious running shoe


TheVIBRAM FIVEFINGERS' juggernaut---did not abate at Outdoor Retailer. The booth was jammed packed every time we cruised by----with enthusiasts who have gear galore trying on the kickers like kids in a Dylan's candy store. 

Truth be told, our toes are kinda interesting in shape from 15 years of hardcore ballet---so getting these running shoes on, especially our pinkie toes--- was not a snap, crackle and pop.

HOWEVER THE NEW VIBRANT COLORS, new toplines and patterns are beyond looking on all kinds of feet...even Big Foot would grunt his waders in---let alone Cinderella's stepsisters.

A lifestyle shoe for sure...and clearly street savvy headed--- blessed with some protection underneath.

NOTE: There has been serious attention devoted to counterfeit goods...and there should be. We are even horrified that people we know in the fashion industry think nothing of buying counterfeit goods. For shame.

SO---good to know, Vibrams FiveFingers is very active in weeding out the imposters available online.

AND----We think people are absolute morons and risk injury wearing the fakes...  if they're dumb enough to think they are getting anything remotely close to the real deal at cheapo prices 

The wellness footwear category usually sells at full price, and FiveFingers certainly does.


PREDICTION: Fashion designers we plan on seeing during the upcoming Spring/Summer 2011shows of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week/New York---and other slick venues like Milk Studios...will be clamoring for a fab collab with Vibram.

Friday, August 27, 2010


“Feel The Beach In Your Life And In Your Clothing”

Outdoor Retailer, SLC

Words/ Trade Show Images, Judith Ecochard

Soft, feminine, and sexy” and “YOUTHFUL BUT NOT YOUNG,” was the mandate of Carve Design’s latest collection for Summer 2011.

With a new design direction that stays true to its DNA, this California based label is still helmed by a bunch of surfer gals--- who grew up, got degrees, jobs, kids, hips whatever.

And want to wear more sophisticated garments, as do their customers---to better align up with their adult lives.

In this collection, we were reminded of what Lululemon  and Stella McCartney/Adidas  did for Yoga attire…putting a heavy fashion spin on activewear that gals ended up wearing select pieces, selectively--- matched with other more street wear garments already hanging out in their wardrobes.
 Slim fitting Phoenix Cut Off Skirt with a frayed hem $52

The separates we saw were versatile and well made, with sustainable and/or organic fabrics used extensively throughout the value priced collection. (Eco alert to fashion designers everywhere).

Banyan Cover-Up

With yoga –ites in mind, the Balance is a new focused line---made of soft stretchy knits/polyester and cotton blends that move and breathe. As in this off the shoulder top---easily worn in the class and on the street.

Details---like the ruching on racer back tanks ($42) --- with built in shelf bra--- that hits mid-hip---or easy to wear with jeans or paired with the classic pencil skirt, cardy/blazer for work.

Outland Knickers $56 are at a length that flatters---and surprisingly this separate can be versatile--- dressed down with flip-flops and a tee, or citified with wedge sandals, cropped blazer, cute tank, a clutch and some bling.

Lifestyle pieces like the shawl collar, 100% cotton knit Carmel Sweater $68 fits all gals--- with a remove-able waist tie...here casually atop Lanikai shorts $48
For work---it would look just as sweetly appropriate over skirt/blouse combo for a day off the beach. 

Other key basics in different color options (Olive Wild Flower, Blurple, Topaz and Dusk our favs)----are just done well…simple to wear, but constructed with an eye for how flattering they’ll look on a female’ silhouette.


The cotton knit Ranch Woven Button Down $56--- with roll-up sleeves and  feminine shirring at the shoulder seam…in a pretty diamond pattern lining that shines through the sheer white ---

Beach inspired Outland Sweatshirt $58 with nice scooped neck and rib knit arms and bottom hem.

Wear out cover-ups---like this stripped Del Ray Coverup $66 in a cozy burnout jersey…with natural fiber belt like raffia---for waist cinch definitions.

And this chic washed linen cotton Lanikai piece $68 with an adjustable waist that hits just right--- at the low waist---and causal roll-up cuff sleeves. 

Naturally, the bathing suits are made to be worn by active types…with 6.7 oz 4-way stretch tricot, ---deemed 50+UPF Rating and revved up with 15% Spandex for shape retention---


And the two pieces, sold separately, will hold up even when we wipe out.

Love this Bali Bandeau Top $44 …with tie in back remove-able straps.

INFO including E Commerce, Store Locater and current collections: CARVE DESIGNS 

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Outdoor Retailer, SLC

Major Bonus points go to Finnish watch brand SUUNTO---who wisely offered up a tech guy with steady hands...to replace batteries, watch bands, et al...for attendees. FREE.

Sure, there's a queue at times...but never for long.

Wouldn't it be LOVELY if the assorted fashion trade and runway show venues we go to---had a shoe repair service...or a manicure/hair/sew-tape bar setup for fast repairs---tricked out with the necessities.

Better than a free cocktail.


(Though Count On Your Kids Raiding Your Closet)


Words, Trade Show Images Judith Ecochard

Outdoor Retailer --- SLC

Reaching back into the archives for nowadays kind of inspiration---has been going on in fashion/accessories since the Greeks walked around wearing draped togas---a “look” that’s inspired les couturières for centuries.

Walking around Outdoor Retailer trade show, we noticed many eye-catching ‘so old it’s cool again’ haulers/accessories from some of the more ‘vintage’ labels in the outdoors/performance biz. And happily, we think, any guy/gal above the youthquake age would look A- OK carrying around...and match up just fine with their   21st century attire.

Jansport, now part of the VF Corporation ("We Fit Your Life")---has been stitching up backpacks since 1967.

In 2008, they’ve introduced the popular Heritage series (“…that embodies a culture of fun and discovery”)--- including the Country Flag emblazoned bunch of backpacks.

Soon to hit the market is the intro of more countries’ flags on the vintage trapezoid shape…with Italy, Stars and Stripes, Mexico and Canada joining the other nations, like Japan.

Available in limited editions---at select stores (and online we found for $55)...we think these backpacks are very hip, actually. And durable enough to survive the trials of mass transit.

INFO- including the smart brick and mortar stores that picked up the line: JANSPORT HERITAGE

KELTY is know as the affordable/reliable brand of outdoor gear that casual day hikers and demanding mountain adventurers can both haul stuff in (day, overnight, and tech packs including military), sleep in (tents, sleeping bags), cook on (camping equipment and furniture) etc.
Cargo Drum-$44.95-$54.95

Well, we just got to the exhibit and zero-ed right in on the re-issued Heritage packs from Kelty.

Featuring metal zips, full grain leather, metal buckles (very old school---as modern day tech heavy packs don’t want the weight), and tough, long lasting Cordura® fabric…(From $44.95-$124)

The display had the originals next to the reissues.

Ships January 2011 so we were told. Even in our notes, we scrawled “LOVE.” We think---not out of place at Barney's or REI.

Always one of our favorite labels for AUTHENTIC weatherproof jackets, long coats, button downs, pants, vests…KAKADU has always stood for real deal construction, design and materials straight outta Australia’s Outback but decidedly city slick...for years.
No models this line---these guys sporting plenty of 'tude- are the founders of this family business.

With the wall of hats that retailers at this show were ordering by the dozens. ($49-$79 per)

We loved the heavy canvas, leather trim messenger bags, overnighters…versatile satchels. Some even have hidden pockets for rifles…as these carry-alls are functional too. ($69 for small duffel- $99 Backpack, up to $149 for Book Tote)

 Zipped shoulder strap...nice detail