Friday, November 21, 2008

I Twilighted

A few weeks ago I got caught up in the hype of Twilight (a book series I have not read) and went online and bought tickets for the midnight opening screening. I had been listening to Ryan Seacrest's morning show and enjoying his daily reading from the books and amusement at them and somehow I got sucked in.

So last night, Joey and I battled to stay awake until 11.00pm when we ventured out - only to find no traffic, no coffee shops open and 45 minutes to kill while we waited and tried to stay awake for the screening. It soon became apparent that the Twilight hype was led by the hormones of teenage girls who were all there SO EXCITED about the movie. I have been to many screenings, premieres and events and this was the first time ever that I recall having so many young women around just elated about a movie. Sure Harry Potter had a following but its not quite the same as a full audience of teenage girls all dreaming out loud about Edward (the vampire).The sighs, excitement and giggling as we waited for the movie to start, got me all geared up and ready for the 2 hours and 10 minutes ahead, but apparently had a different effect on my husband who promptly went to sleep.

The movie started so I gave Joey a soft elbow and asked if we wanted me to wake him up and he said no and went back to sleep. So there I was, alone with a few hundred teens and Twilight. Drum roll please.......

I absolutely LOVED IT!!!! It was sweet, funny and compelling and I would watch it again in a heart beat.

So today, I have gone and bought the books and am officially a fan! After I bought the books at the mall, I sat down to eat my lunch and start reading and sat next to a lovely lady who asked me about the books. We both agreed that any books that get so many young people interested in reading are a great thing. So that said, if you know of any other great books that are a must read please let me know! Of course they will have to wait until after I finish the Twilight series!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Give the Gift of a Crocodile

The holidays are fast approaching and with the economy on the slide and each of us becoming more aware of the effects of climate change, wars, poverty and hunger, there has never been a better time to buy a crocodile and can of worms as a gift.

What you ask?
Okay – so if a crocodile for mom and a can of worms for your nephew are not quite your style, how about a spinning wheel or a pair of oxen.

Tracey has lost her mind I hear you say….

This year, my family are going to get some of the funkiest and fun presents I have ever sent and it will all be in the name of helping others. The incredible team at OxFam have come up with the most interesting items that will help others around the world.

Here is what a crocodile, can of worms, two oxen and spinning wheel provide - click here to visit Oxfam Unwrapped.

Raise a Crocodile:
It's not for everyone, but it's a gift that's got some bite! Help raise a crocodile in areas where the caiman population has been depleted. This resilient reptile is more than just a jaw-gnashing croc; it also provides ecological and economic benefits—as well as food!

Can of Worms:
Here's one can of worms that friends and loved ones sure won't mind opening! More than a can, our pound of worms provides farmers with an indispensable tool for cultivating their land. Not only do these squirmy creatures produce fertilizer, but they also break down organic compounds in the earth and enrich land for farming. Now that's a gift that should worm its way into anyone's affections.

The Oxen:
A mighty gift! Legend has it that Paul Bunyan's ox dug the Grand Canyon. Imagine what Paul might have accomplished with two! With a pair of oxen to cultivate their land, small farmers can increase their yields from 200 to 400 percent. And they can rent their animals at a reasonable cost to other farmers. Oxen reduce the time women spend doing manual labor—like tilling fields and hauling water—and allow families the time and space to diversify their crops. Sound like a tall tale? It's not: it's a larger-than-life gift.

Spinning Wheel:
Help women spin themselves a better future! The gift of a spinning wheel is an important way to help women make a living. Used to spin fibers for crafting baskets and rugs, this gift makes spinning more efficient and consistent, which reduces women's workloads and also means higher quality products to sell.

So get whacky and feel wonderful this Christmas for changing a life.

Monday, November 17, 2008


For some reason I love cows. I know that sort of sounds strange but I spent my early years on a farm and I have fond memories of a calf suckling on my fingers waiting desperately for its milk bottle which was given by hand. I remember attaching the milking contraption to the cows teats in a gorgeous old barn while they munched away on the grains they were fed. I had no idea then that the farm I was on, was something that would now be described as eco-friendly! The cows spent all day in the fields and came in every morning and afternoon to be milked before heading back out into the rolling green acres they roamed on. There wasn't any chemicals used, the feed was natural and vegetarian and the animals were often named and treated with respect.

So with all that in my past and the memories stored away in the happy part of my brain, I just had to share this gorgeous cuddle toy with you from Alimrose Designs. It's part vintage, super cuddly and all cow! And his name is Angus (which technically I guess makes him a bull but cow's are much less scary).

The minute I saw Angus, it was love at first sight and given that in this day and age, many kids don't know where milk comes from (yes not a bull...), I think a little farm life in the nursery and play room is essential. So snuggle on up and love a cow!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Unconditional Love

I saw a headline today in the news that really disturbed me. I was eating my lunch looking at news headlines and on reading ‘teenagers kicked kitten like football’, I literally lost my appetite and felt sick. I couldn’t even bring myself to read the story as it broke it my heart.

For anyone who knows Cute-ture or me, you know that children, animals and people are what matters to me. My previous father-in-law once described me as being too compassionate which I don’t think is possible. When you open your heart and love without expectation or condition it comes back to you three-fold and that is so amazing.

Only this morning, I was talking to my husband about how incredible our cats are. For very little in return, they offer so much love and companionship which is a natural stress reducer and absolutely precious. All animals have feelings and wear their hearts on their sleeves in a way all of us human beings could learn from. If we only learnt to love back so unconditionally like animals do, then this world would be a very different place – a much better one.

Those people who committed such a heinous act on an animal for fun deserve to be punished to the full extent of the law. I just hope that one day they may find love in their hearts and learn that all life is precious and valuable. For each hater converted to love, we are one step closer to peace.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Holidays - So much to say thank you for

I LOVE the holiday season. I love the decorations, music and the energy that is created by all the kids counting down the days until they get those wonderful gifts! I love seeing family and this year I get the bonus of my mother coming to visit from Australia (and see my house for the first time). I love dressing my house up like a Hollywood pooch - ribbons, garlands and a tree with flashing lights and I love eating way to much on Thanksgiving and then falling asleep in the armchair in the afternoon in a food coma. I love waking up to pancakes on Christmas morning and seeing the neighborhood kids out on their new bicycles or playing with their new balls.

With all the negative news and terrible job losses this year, its time we give ourselves a break and remember all the reasons we enjoy this life so much. There is so much to be thankful for and I am loving every day as I choose my path forward.

When I started Cute-ture, it was to have something of my own that enabled me to set the rules and live by the values that matter to me. It was to have a company that put people first (especially the little one's) and that cared about the future. It was to provide a place where I could create, laugh and work in a way that was open and enjoyable. I am blessed to have my family behind me and my husband on board as my co-pilot. And I blessed everyday to have children playing with our toys and wearing our clothing while knowing that in doing so - we have been able to help those that can't afford to buy new toys and wear new clothes.

So today - in a day of more market drops and anxiety - I challenge you to write down what you are thankful for and sing it out loud. We are all in it together and while I may not know you personally I am here for you. Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Organic backyard equals delicious!

One of my greatest pleasures over the last twelve months has been having a backyard large enough to have a full organic garden underway. We have enjoyed our own carrots, beets, tomatoes, cilantro and peppers as well as many other delicious organic herbs. It is a daily pleasure for both my husband and I to go out and collect what we need from our garden rather than the store. Not to mention how much the environment is thanking us for cutting back on all the gas needed to drive back and forth from the store!

We live in Los Angeles which is extremely traffic overloaded so have worked to set our lives up to minimize our traffic time and lessen the impact on our environment. Having our own garden is a start as is shopping locally for local grown organic food.

One of the other pleasures I have discovered in our neighborhood is the Farmers Market which has all of the wonderful organic produce that I can add to my own home grown assortment when cooking. When we moved into our home, we didn’t know where to find a Farmers Market and through searching online I found this incredible site that locates your local market anywhere in the USA.

So if your backyard (or gardening skills) don’t allow for much homegrown produce - check out your local farms, farmers markets, groceries and restaurants through Local Harvest. Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Red and Blue States...lets make them green!

While I may be passionate as a blue voter, and you may agree or not and be a passionate red voter – I think today, on the day of election – we should all join together and support the USA as green!

I for one am happy to finally be free of the political advertisements, papers and constant bombardment of Obama v Mc Cain. No matter what happens at the end of today – we will have a new President and hopefully a fresh new agenda for this country to move forward.

So with the election underway – its important to regroup and focus and the other thing that is just as important IF NOT more important and that is our environment and the future.

We have been adding gorgeous eco friendly ‘green’ products to the Cute-ture collection from day one and my personal favorite is our Cheeky Squirrel bookends.

Made of eco friendly plantation wood and coated in non-toxic varnish (in recycled cardboard boxes), the Cocoon Couture bookend collection looks as stylish in your kids room as it does in your own. I just used the bookends in my bedroom and they are divine.

Being green is so much easier than you think (not just as a consumer). To make your life a little more green just add one greener activity every day. Whether it is changing from using your dishwasher from use after every meal, to just once a day, or making sure you recycle all of your plastics and papers – each and every step counts. Free-range eggs may cost that little bit extra and I know budgets are tight but think about the benefit – healthier eggs for you to eat, less pain to an animal and more need for good farming practices that benefit everyone. Each bit counts.

If nothing else, don’t leave the water running when brushing your teeth! We are constantly reviewing and working on excelling at being green in our office and I am always open to new idea’s! Inspire me and challenge me and lets ensure that the future of either the red,white and blue matters to all of us that live green.